Six companies control 98% of the world hearing aid market. Known as the “Big Six,” these companies are:
- Sonova of Switzerland
- William Demant of Denmark
- Sivantos of Sweden
- GN of Denmark
- Widex of Denmark
- Starkey of the U.S.
At their core, manufacturers design and produce computer chips called “circuits” that power digital hearing aids, just as Intel does for personal computers. Unless these companies aggressively invest in the R&D necessary to routinely introduce newer and more powerful circuits, the competition will outflank them. This is why you should only consider product from the Big Six. With 98% market share between them, all have the massive capital resources needed to offer consumers up-to-date designs. These are also the firms most likely to survive any future market shakeouts.
Though they all claim to have superior technology, no company holds a true competitive advantage over any other in terms of product performance. In order to prove claims of superior performance a company must fund independent research that is conducted on such a scale, and in such a way, that the outcome is considered “evidence” by the scientific community. This is rarely – if ever – done.