Implantable Hearing Aid Systems: A Key To Regain Hearing Ability

Published On: January 2018

Cochlear Implant Overview

Cochlear implants are used for treating hearing problems in deaf patients. These implants have significantly replaced the old hearing aid devices. Therefore, the companies are focusing more on the development of implantable hearing aid devices with improved quality and performance. Hearing loss, rising geriatric population, acceptance of hearing implants by the patients with hearing disorders, and favorable reimbursement policies are adding fuel for the development of such devices. Additionally, increasing healthcare expenditure and support from the government of various countries across the globe are leading the way to the market development.

In the past few years, the demand for hearing aid devices has been increased to a great extent and it is expected continue over the next few years.

As per the report published by MRFR, the global cochlear implant market is likely to grow rapidly and is expected to reach approximately USD 3,203.8 million by 2023 from USD 1,486.0 million in 2016. With the innovation and developments in the cochlear implant, the market will continue to evolve in the future.

Cochlear implant and its impact on the future of hearing impairment?

Over the last decade, acceptance of bilateral cochlear implant has spread across the globe. There has been a definitive trend toward the provision of bilateral cochlear implantation for patients with bilateral, severe to profound hearing loss. Adoption of the bilateral cochlear implants has improved the outcomes over unilateral cochlear implant use. Additionally, use of wireless hearing assistance technology with cochlear implant sound processors has also increased over the last few years. The implant manufacturers are involved in the development of new and advanced devices. They have developed wireless hearing assistance technology that can stream a signal of interest via digital radio transmission from a remote microphone, a Bluetooth-enabled mobile telephone, or a television to the user’s sound processor.

Nearly 360 million people are living with hearing loss problem worldwide, and this population is projected to reach 1.2 billion by 2050. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 72 million people who could potentially benefit from the use of a hearing aid device including a cochlear implant or hearing aid. Developments in the cochlear implants have significantly improved the lives of the hearing impaired patients.

Thus, the market presents tremendous opportunities to the manufacturers to provide high-quality cochlear implants at an affordable price to the regular patient population. Therefore, offering the products at a lower price may help the makers to penetrate effectively into the market including the developing nations and low-income economies. 

Current Market Scenario

Currently, the global cochlear implant market is witnessing a rapid growth. Various companies such as Cochlear dominating the global market significantly. In the last few years, the cochlear implant market has seen a positive growth since various manufacturers have focused on the development of advanced implant products and hearing aid devices. Moreover, increasing approvals for the devices and product accessories have positively impacted the growth of the company revenue.

Companies like Advanced Bionics AG, MED-El, Cochlear Ltd, GAES MÉDICA, William Demant Holding Group, Widex, and Microson S.A. and others are focusing on research & development to introduce better and advanced products. For instance, In July 2017, Cochlear Ltd. introduced the world’s first iPhone cochlear implant sound processor. Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is the world’s first Made for iPhone cochlear implant sound processor, which is the tiny and lightweight cochlear implant sound processor available in the market.

Later this year, in November, the company received FDA approval for first remote programming option for cochlear implants. This feature allows follow-up programming sessions for the Nucleus Cochlear Implant System through a telemedicine platform. With this approval, it is likely to open up various opportunities to a number of cochlear implant patients who have trouble accessing continued care due to travel issue to an implant center.

Apart from that, other companies like MED-El, William Demant Holdings, and Advanced Bionics AG among others have received approvals and positive news encouraging them to take more steps forward in building improved products and software, and platforms.

Factors limiting market growth?

The high cost of the Cochlear implant systems is the primary concern for the patients and payers. Cochlear implants are more expensive than the regular hearing aids. The cost of Cochlear implants can go up to USD 100,000, which is clearly not affordable by the middle and lower class population. On top of that, incorporation of these devices with other advanced technologies is bulging the costs of the system. Even in the developing country like India, the price of the cochlear implant system is nearly USD 7500 per unit. Even though companies are trying their best to cut down the costs and make the devices affordable to patients, currently high costs are the factor limiting the growth of the cochlear implant market. Apart from that, in some developed countries like the U.S., strict regulatory rules have been notified to the manufacturers to prevent the incidence of infection associated with the medical devices.

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