The British and Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (BIHIMA) has released the first quarter 2019 results of its members, providing an insight into hearing aid units sold in the UK and Ireland in the first quarter of the year.

The statement from BIHIMA emphasises that NHS sales were 34.7% up on Q1 2018. According to BHIMA, this large increase was caused by additional stock orders from the NHS in preparation for a hard Brexit.

Paul Surridge, BIHIMA Chairman, comments on the impact Brexit is likely to have on the industry: “At BIHIMA, we are confident that our members, many of whom manufacture outside the UK, are taking the appropriate measures to ensure that the UK is prepared for Brexit and the supply chain continues to function efficiently. The NHS has been making robust plans for the continuity of supply across the entire supply chain, and hearing instruments is a part of that strategy, as shown by our quarterly data.”

Private sales continued their strong performance with hearing instrument sales up 7.2% on the same period last year, with 82,573 units sold this quarter, versus 77,010 in Q1 2018.

BIHIMA continues to observe an increasing trend towards RITE (receiver in the ear) technology being selected by patients in the private sector. The RITE / RIC) style is constantly growing in popularity and now represents 73% of all sales, totalling 60,261 units sold in Q1, up 4% on Q1 2018.

In its role as the voice for the hearing technology industry, BIHIMA regularly monitors the market and releases the results of its members every quarter. To keep up to date with the latest market information, download the results here. BIHIMA members – Bernafon, GN Hearing, Oticon, Phonak, Sivantos, Starkey, Unitron and Widex – collate their sales data every three months, to gain an insight into how the UK market is developing across all sectors.