The British and Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (BIHIMA) has released the combined Q1 and Q2 results of its members, painting an insightful picture of the hearing care market in the first six months of 2018.

The most significant development is the continually improved growth in the number of units distributed through the private market in the UK: in the first half of 2018, non NHS sales have increased by 6,004 units (4.0%) on previous year, with Q2 reversing a small decrease in Q1.

Meanwhile, the NHS sector is showing some fluctuations in demand: in the first half of 2018 (H1), the number of unit sales decreased by 16,532 units (2.4%) on H1 2017, although Q2 was up on the previous year by 1%. 

BIHIMA also tracks the trends in the types of technology being selected by patients in the private sector. In the non-NHS sector, the mix of styles continues to swing to RITE/RIC (receiver in the ear technology) which represented 69% in Q1 2018 (68.4% in Q4 2017 and 67% in Q1 2017), although there was a slight drop off in Q2 to 67.9%. This coincided with a small increase in CIC/IIC (completely in the canal technology) up to 12.2%.

“We are particularly pleased to see the solid pattern of growth in the private sector,” said the BIHIMA chairman, Paul Surridge. “This is partly a reflection of the UK’s ageing population as more older people seek support for their declining hearing, but we also hope that the results indicate that there is growing awareness about the importance of hearing health amongst the public.”

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 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.