The British and Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (BIHIMA) regularly monitors the trends in the UK and Irish market and has released the combined Q2 2017 results of the unit sales of its member companies.

The most significant development to report is the sustained growth in the NHS market with the number of units distributed through the NHS up 6.7% in the year to date compared with 2016. Although the number of units sold in the last three quarters has been more or less flat (344,340 in Q4 2016, 348,873 in Q1 2017, and 346,586 in Q2 2017), the overall momentum in NHS provision has been sustained, which may be evidence that the hearing-focussed public health campaigns of recent years are proving successful.

In contrast, the number of units distributed in the private market in Q2 2017 is down 3.1% compared with Q2 2016; the entire year to date figure reveals a 0.6% decrease from 2016. Overall, however, the combined NHS and private market was up 1% in Q2 2017 compared to Q2 2016 and up 5.3% for the year to date.

The Irish market is also down substantially in the first half of this year – there was a sharp decline in early 2017 which saw the results fall from 14,883 to 8,403 units sold, and this has decreased slightly to 8,147 in Q2. At the end of last year, BIHIMA reported the rapid growth in the Irish market following the economic downturn, but so far this year the momentum has not been sustained.

BIHIMA has also been tracking the trends in the types of technology being selected by patients in the private sector. The decline of ITE (in the ear) technology has continued in Q2 2017, as RITE (receiver in the ear) instruments further dominate the market.

“Our association is committed to keeping the hearing care sector informed with accurate and relevant information from the hearing technology industry to better understand industry trends and ensure market growth,” said the BIHIMA chairman Paul Surridge. As such, BIHIMA will be regularly releasing the quarterly results of its members and these can also be downloaded from the BIHIMA website: https://www.bihima.com/resources/statistics/.