Hearing aid is a small device used by a hearing-impaired person to amplify sound in order to capture it through an ear. Initially, ear devices were designed to gather sound energy in order to pass it into the ear canal. Modern devices are made of computerized electroacoustic systems that help to transform sound in a more intelligible and comfortable way. Audiologists play a vital role in configuring these devices in order to match the frequency with the physical features and lifestyle of the wearer. Hearing aid is not a solution for correction of hearing loss, rather to make the sound accessible to the ear. Various types of hearing instruments are available in different sizes, power, and circuitry.
In terms of type of hearing loss, the canal hearing aids market has been segmented into sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss. The sensorineural hearing loss segment is expected to grow at significant pace than the conductive hearing loss segment. Sensorineural hearing loss may result in missing or damage of sensory cells in the cochlea. With the help of hearing aids or implants, mild to severe sensorineural hearing loss can be rectified. Based on product type, the market has been categorized into in-the-canal, completely-in-canal, and invisible-in-canal. In terms of end-user, the canal hearing aids market has been segmented into adult canal hearing aids and pediatric canal hearing aids. High incidence of hearing loss due to noise pollution level and rising geriatric population fuel the growth of the market. Shortage of technical audiologists or hearing instrument specialists is restraining the global market. Several companies are developing devices that can be embedded in the ear and are not visible to reduce/prevent the social disgrace associated with such devices. Technological advancement and innovative connectivity features in devices help users have a better quality of life. Furthermore, introduction of digital signal processing devices, reduction in noise devices, and enhancement of speech features are expected to fuel the growth of the market.
The oldest strata above 85 years is becoming the fastest growing segment of the population in a majority of countries. This segment would constitute approximately 8% of the world’s population aged 65 and above, and the share is 12% in developed countries. This geriatric population is slated to grow at an exponential rate in two of the most populous countries globally — India and China. According to the statistics released by the World Population Prospects: the 2012 Revision (United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs), the age group above 80 years, also referred as ‘oldest old’ in the report, was nearly 14% and is expected to increase to 19% by 2050. On the other hand, the population rise in under 65 age group is likely to be a mere 22%. Hence, rising geriatric population is likely to propel the global canal hearing aids market in the next few years.
In terms of region, the market in Europe is expected to expand at the highest growth rate, followed by North America. Rapid rise in geriatric population, growing incidence/increasing prevalence of hearing loss, and high purchasing power of patients is projected to augment the market in the region. Asia Pacific is expected to emerge as the fastest growing market. Developing countries in Asia Pacific such as India and China present significant expansion opportunities. Large patient pool, increasing geriatric population, and rising noise pollution drive the market in these countries. Increase in hearing-related problems, increasing awareness among patients about deafness, and expanding health care infrastructure are factors likely to boost the growth of the market in Latin America.
Cochlear Limited, GN Store Nord A/S, MED-EL, SeboTek Hearing Systems, LLC, Sivantos Pte. Ltd., Sonova, Starkey Hearing Technologies, Inc., Widex, William Demant Holding A/S, and Zounds Hearing, Inc. are the major players operating in the canal hearing aids market.
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