U.S. hearing aid sales dip in August

COPENHAGEN – U.S. hearing aid sales dipped in August from a year ago, as a drop in the private market was cushioned by sales to army veterans, data from the Hearing Industries Association showed on Thursday.

Switzerland’s Sonova, Danish companies William Demant and GN Resound, a unit of GN Store Nord, each generate about 35 to 45 percent of their revenues from North America, with most of that coming from the United States.

Germany’s Siemens, the world’s third-biggest hearing aids maker, does not disclose figures for this part of its business.[eap_ad_2]

The total U.S. hearing aid market contracted 0.25 percent year-on-year in August, hit by a drop of around 3 percent in the private market, where 2.4 million devices were sold last year.

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Sales of the devices to the private market have been poor in 2014 after monthly growth rates of as much as 14 percent last year. Year-to-date sales growth is the lowest since 2008, according to the research.

“We note the comparison was tough, with August being the highest growth month in 2013 at 14 percent, in large part due to stocking effects from Costco switching their Kirkland brand contract from Siemens to GN Store Nord,” Bernstein Research analyst Lisa Clive wrote in a note.

Sales to Veterans Affairs (VA), a government program for military veterans, grew 11 percent year-on-year, which partially offset the negative trend in the private market.

Military veterans account for about 20 percent of all hearing aid units dispensed in the United States.

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Sonova, the world’s largest hearing aid maker, has lost market share in the important VA segment and in August, its market share decreased to 45 percent from 56 percent last year, data from Bernstein Research and Handelsbanken showed.

GN Resound now has a VA market share of 11 percent, up from 8 percent last year, helped by sales of its Linx hearing aid co-developed with Apple Inc, Bernstein’s Clive said.

Siemens increased its VA share to 10 percent in August from 7 percent last year. William Demant, the second largest maker of the devices in the world, kept its market share at 8 percent. (Reuters)[eap_ad_3]

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