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1.1 Definition and presentation

A hearing aid is a medical device aimed at correcting a hearing defect.

The hearing aid market can be divided into two macro categories:

  • STANDARDs to which the Behind-the-ear (BTE) and Receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) belong.
  • CUSTOM or in-the-ear to which ITE CIC and IIC belong.

Historically, the first modern hearing aid appeared at the beginning of the 20th century with Sonotone's invention of the first earpiece in 1929. Hearing aids have become portable and discreet over the century, with the use of ever smaller and more efficient microprocessors since the late 1990s.

The hearing aid market is expected to benefit by a number of demographic and social transformation affecting the global society. Specifically, within the Italian context, a progressive aging population, an increasing preventive medicine awareness and technological innovations are projected to impact the hearing aid market.

1.2 The global and European market

The size of the global retail hearing care market is estimated around ** billion euros, with an annual growth rate of *% for the next few years, stimulated by demographics changes and a greater penetration rate. [***]
Positive projections regarding the future of the hearing aid market have indeed been forecasted by the EHIMA ...

1.3 The Italian case

According to **** figures, circa * million Italians – **% of the entire population – suffer from a hearing defect (***) was estimated around ***,*** in ****, with a growth of circa *% compared to ****.
Maintaining **** figures of hearing aid volume stable, this means that approximately **% of the hearing impaired did not purchase a device.

Source: ****
Estimation of ...

1.4 International trade

UN Comtrade provides information on exchange of goods or services among countries, in terms of value and volume.
Based on the code ****** (***) in **** in Italy the exportation value of hearing aids was estimated at USD ** million, whereas imports amounted to USD ** million. Therefore, the conversion rate was circa **,*%.

Source: ****
Import values ...


2.1 Demand overview and determining factors: aging, hearing defects, prevention

The estimated adoption rate of hearing aids by those who have reported to suffer from hearing loss has progressively increased throughout the years. In **** exclusively **,*% of the hearing impaired were taking advantage of the medical device, percentage which grew to almost **% in ****. [***]

Source: ****
Compared to the previous years the penetration rate ...


3.1 Organization and dynamics of the market

The structure of the hearing aid market in Italy reflects the market dynamics worldwide. Indeed, circa **% of the global market share is composed by independent players, generally organized around few sales outlets or small chains. Circa **% is represented by retailers, including international players (***) and the remaining **% is held by national chains. ...

3.2 A highly international manufacturing

Hearing aid manufacturing is not a national matter as much as an international one. Competition is strong among hearing aid manufacturers. The hearing aid production industry has seven international players which hold **% of the total European market. Those companies are members of the EHIMA association - The European Hearing Instrument ...

3.3 Distribution: dominance of hearing aid stores

Business to Business
Production and manufacturing take place in a different company, which in a later stage, once the product is complete, sells it to retailers. This methodology is common in the hearing aid value chain as international manufacturers sell their production to wholesaler or retailers.
Business to Consumer
Production and ...


4.1 Three typologies of hearing aids

Components which are common to all models are:
A microphone – Picks up sounds and converts them into electrical signals An amplifier – Increases the volume of the microphone signals and filters out irrelevant sounds A "Loudspeaker" – Converts electrical signals into acoustic signals A receiver– Channels acoustic signals to the eardrum.
As mentioned, ...

4.2 A closer look into BTEs and ITEs

About ITEs
ITEs fall into the bigger category of CUSTOM hearing aids because of the unique and distinctive characteristics they offer. Generally connected to a remote control or wirelessly to an electronic device.
IIC (***) are the smallest and most discreet hearing aids available. IIC styles are as described—virtually invisible, indeed, ...

4.3 An average pricing range for the different models

The number of variants of hearing aids undoubtedly reflects a number of different pricings. Not necessarily price differences rise between the three different typologies, as the most impactful factors increasing or lowering the price mainly regard the additional features, skills and components of the hearing aids themselves. Based on the choice ...


5.1 Regulatory framework for the hearing aid market

There are three relevant standards within the hearing aid market: D.Lgs ***/**, directive **/** CEE and D.Lgs ***/**.
The professional profile of the hearing care technician is regulated by the Ministerial Decree (***) ***/**. The article states “the hearing care professional is the health care professional who, with a university degree enables, carries out ...

5.2 Medical benefits

The ASL “Azienda Sanitaria Locale” - Local health authority – grants to specific categories of patients a full refund for the supply of the hearing aid. The categories that can take advantage of these benefits are:
All minors, regardless of the degree of hearing loss diagnosed; All patients admitted to accredited healthcare ...

5.3 Nomenclature and Harmonized System of World Customs

The Harmonized System is an international nomenclature for the classification of products. It allows participating countries to classify traded goods on a common basis for customs purposes. At the international level, the Harmonized System (***) for classifying goods is a six-digit code system. [***]
The HS comprises approximately *,*** article/product descriptions that appear ...


6.1 Segmentation

  • Sonova
  • William Demant
  • GN Hearing
  • Sivantos
  • Starkey Labs
  • Widex
  • Med-el
  • Amplifon
  • Audika

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