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Sonova develops and markets hearing care solutions in two segments – hearing aids and cochlear implants


*Boots hearingcare is a trade mark of The Boots Company PLC

Hearing aids

The hearing aid market continues to grow, driven by long-term socio-economic forces. It is also a diverse market, requiring a broad range of technologically advanced solutions and high reach customer service channels. At the same time, the market is still relatively under-served: We estimate that, while in developed markets 70 % of people with severe-to-profound hearing loss have hearing aids to help them, only 10 % of those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss currently use hearing instruments. Younger or less affected people are also increasing adoption as technology moves toward ever better sound quality and smaller, more discreet devices. For every preference and individual lifestyle, there is now a hearing solution that can greatly improve quality of life.

At Sonova we have the optimal solution for every user, tailored to the individual’s needs by hearing care professionals in a broad range of personalized service channels, and offered through two well-established global brands: Phonak and Unitron.

Under the brand AudioNova we are grouping our retail presence. The AudioNova Group assures exceptional and state-of-the-art audiological care for our customers, presented in a modern, attractive environment and backed by the highest technological standards in hearing aids and in-store diagnostic and fitting equipment.

Competitors in the hearing instrument market

Every year, some 13 million hearing aids are sold around the globe. In addition to the Swiss Sonova Group, the world’s market leader, there are three Danish manufacturers with William Demant, GN Store Nord and Widex as well as the US manufacturer Starkey and the Singapore-based Sivantos Group (formerly Siemens Audiology Solutions) operating in this market. This group of the six largest manufacturers together produce over 90% of the hearing aids sold worldwide today.

The products are distributed to the consumers by hearing aid retailers. Acousticians and audiologists offer professional audiological services in particular in the area diagnostics and the fitting of hearing instruments according to the specific customer needs. Over the past two decades, Sonova established its own retail network for professional audiological services. Also part of the Sonova Group are brands like Connect Hearing, Audition Santé, Boots Hearingcare, Hansaton and Lapperre.

The other five big manufacturers are also active in hearing instrument retail in various forms and in different markets. The world’s largest provider in hearing instrument retail is the Italian Amplifon Group, which does not produce own hearing aids.

In some countries hearing instruments are supplied and fitted through public health organizations. The largest organizations in this channel are the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the British National Health Service (NHS).

Cochlear implants

Within the cochlear implant market, we see a significant and promising market for cochlear implants. This market is still relatively young: the first implant only gained FDA approval in 1984. Cochlear implants bring the promise of greatly improved hearing experience and clear, intelligible speech to children and adults with significant hearing loss.

Sonova serves the cochlear implant market through the Advanced Bionics brand. Putting the patient first, Advanced Bionics brings continuous innovation to this remarkable technology, delivering the promise of clear, high-resolution sound and optimal speech understanding to children and adults with significant hearing loss.

Competitors in the cochlear implants market

Worldwide about 55,000 cochlear implants are implanted every year. The brands Cochlear, Advanced Bionics and MED-EL together account for over 95% of the market volume. Global market leader in the field of implantable hearing solutions is the Australian Cochlear Limited™ which was founded in 1981. Other significant providers are the Austrian company MED-EL and Advanced Bionics owned by the Sonova Group (acquired 2009, founded 1993). Since the acquisition of the French company Neurelec SA in 2013 William Demant is also active in this market.