Q4 in the UK private market saw a slight dip in sales of 1% compared to Q3 of 2021, which had been a record quarter, but the market still saw an overall annual increase in sales of 130k units in 2021, compared with 2020, up by 46% and up by 20% on 2019. 2020 and 2021 together were up 2% on 2019.

The Irish market fell slightly in Q4, by 3k units compared with Q3 2021, but sales were up by 4k compared with the fourth quarter in 2020. The year overall showed significant growth – up 29% on 2020 and up 35% on 2019. There was a total increase of 15k units sold over 2020/2021 compared with 2019.

Public sector sales in the last quarter of 2021 demonstrated the continued strong recovery in NHS volumes, up 16.6% on Q3 2021 and up 5.5% on Q4 2019, pre-covid. NHS sales for the whole of 2021 were up 36% on 2020 but were still below 2019 figures – down 18% – leaving room for more recovery. Over 2020 and 2021 there was a total loss of 888K units compared to 2019. Before the pandemic we’d seen an underlying growth of 3.4% each year: this scale of growth is yet to return.

The UK private sector and Irish market continue their movement away from traditional zinc air batteries to Li-ion rechargeable batteries with 71% of all sales now rechargeable. The UK public sector is yet to make the switch.

Paul Surridge, BIHIMA Chairman, comments: “I’m delighted to see that the UK private market and the Irish market have bounced back from effects of the pandemic and that NHS sales continue to make a strong recovery. The continued increase in use of rechargeable batteries in the UK private and Irish markets is a clear sign the industry is prioritising sustainability.”

Download the full 2021 market data results here.


BIHIMA represents the hearing instrument manufacturers of Britain and Ireland, working in partnership with other professional, trade, regulatory and consumer organisations within the health care and charitable sectors. We raise consumer awareness about the latest hearing technology and aim to influence government and policy makers to improve the lives of people with hearing difficulties.