Audiological devices are used for the study of hearing, and are used by audiologists for the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss. The audiology devices market has witnessed impressive growth in the past decade, the prime reason being increased adoption of digital technology in every aspect of product design and development of audiological devices.
Age-related hearing loss is attributed to the normal aging process and other demographic factors such as environmental conditions and occupation. In addition, an individual’s genetic predisposition can also be considered as a significant factor contributing to hearing impairment. Growth in population aged 60 years and above is expected to be the major growth driver for the audiology devices market. According to the estimates made by the World Health Organization (WHO), by the year 2015, approximately 1.2 billion people globally will be over the age of 60. The U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) projects that hearing impairment affects 314 per 1000 American population aged 65 years and above.
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With the advent of virtually invisible and compact hearing aid systems, audiology devices are expected to become ubiquitous consumer electronics in the future. The progress of hearing aids thus depends on industrial innovations either in incremental or radical steps. Incremental advances are easy to identify as these involve progressions and advancements in the existing technologies, whereas radical changes are unpredictable as they involve introduction of a new concept and technology which has not been used earlier. Early and efficient diagnosis of hearing impairment ensures effective treatment measures to enhance the hearing capacity of the patient. Some of the most commonly used diagnostic audiology devices are audiometers, otoscopes and tympanometers. Audiometers are the most popular devices used by audiologists and are used for primary investigation of hearing impairment. Occurrence of severe forms of hearing impairment is usually due to factors such as chronic ear infection and genetic predisposition.
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Dominance of digital technology facilitates perpetual product modifications in hearing devices resulting in the development of highly compact and efficient hearing aids. Digital hearing aids have taken over their analog counterparts due to their high performance efficiency. The major types of hearing aids include Behind-the-Ear (BTE), Receiver-in-the-Ear (RITE), In-the-Canal (ITE) and canal hearing aids such as Invisible-in-the-Canal aids and Completely-in-Canal systems. Behind-the-Ear and In-the-Ear aids are the most popular types of hearing aids due to their ease of use, efficiency in treating a wide extent of hearing loss, comfort level, connectivity and cosmetic preferences of consumers. BTE hearing aids are majorly preferred by elderly patients due to their ease in handling and cleaning compared to ITE devices. Rise in aging population contributes to the high prevalence of hearing impairments.
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Geographically, Europe dominates the global audiological devices market. As majority of the prime players in the market are domiciled in Western Europe, many products get first introduced in this region. Technological innovation, growing incidence of hearing impairment and the shift in the preferences of consumers towards use of less visible hearing aids drives the market for audiology devices Europe. Healthcare reforms, technological development, aging population, developing healthcare infrastructure and high prevalence of deafness are the major factors which drive the Asia-Pacific market for audiological devices.
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