OTC category will drive the overall US hearing aids market: GlobalData | The Financial Express

OTC category will drive the overall US hearing aids market: GlobalData

In October this year, a new FDA rule, creating a new regulatory category for OTC hearing aids, came into effect and enabled consumers to purchase OTC hearing aids without a prescription.

OTC category will drive the overall US hearing aids market: GlobalData
The data analytics company also claimed that the changing dynamics of product selection by different cohorts of consumers will drive the hearing aids market for the foreseeable future. (File)

GlobalData, a data and analytics company, on Tuesday, said that as over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids can now be purchased without prescriptions, it will heavily impact the market.

The data analytics company also claimed that the changing dynamics of product selection by different cohorts of consumers will drive the hearing aids market for the foreseeable future.

In October this year, a new FDA rule, creating a new regulatory category for OTC hearing aids, came into effect and enabled consumers to purchase OTC hearing aids without a prescription.

According to the National Institutes on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, nearly a quarter of adults between 65 and 74 have disabling hearing loss, and this rate rises to over half for those 75 and older. Despite such a large prevalence of hearing loss, fewer than a third of those who could benefit from using hearing aids have ever used them, and this rate further declines among younger adults, it stated.

“The main deterrent of purchasing prescription hearing aids in the US has always been their prohibitively high cost. Now that OTC hearing aids are marketed at significantly reduced prices, where some are sold for only about $500 or less per ear, we can see a surge of consumers with mild to moderate hearing losses seeking these devices,” Brian Hicks, Senior Analyst at GlobalData, said in a statement on Tuesday.

According to GlobalData, the prescription hearing aids market is already feeling the disruptive impact of the recent ruling. However, despite the rapidly growing OTC hearing aids market, the prescription hearing aids market will always hold a respectable share of the overall market as it provides certain advantages over its OTC competitors, it claimed.

“OTC hearing aids are only designed for consumers with mild to moderate hearing loss, so those experiencing severe cases must still undergo audiology exams, receive prescriptions for devices that are sized and fit appropriately in the ear, and get counselled on proper use and follow-up tuning of devices. Secondly, for consumers to be diagnosed and treated for any underlying medical conditions of their severe hearing loss, they must seek professional care when deciding what kind of hearing aids to purchase,” Hicks added.

As the FDA enabled millions of adults in the US to gain access to hearing aids for mild to moderate cases of hearing loss, the trajectory of the overall hearing aids market growth will depend on the rates of growth of the OTC and prescription hearing aid markets.

“With increasing numbers of mild to moderate hearing loss consumers who seek OTC hearing aids in lieu of prescription hearing aids, the latter market size will permanently dampen, even if it continues to grow modestly from steadily increasing numbers of severe hearing loss consumers. As a result, the overall OTC hearing aids market growth will depend on the balance between the pace of sales volume increase and price decrease,” Hicks said.

GlobalData forecasts that for the next several years, the market will likely experience a fluctuation of pricing among OTC and even prescription hearing aids. Consequently, this will ensure that while new consumers enter the market, the devices are not priced too economically such that the overall hearing aids market size would decline.

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First published on: 16-11-2022 at 12:53 IST