TOP NEWS and HEADLINES in January

  • Tympanostomy Tubes Unnecessary for Most Children, Says Study
  • Analysis: US Hearing Aid Unit Sales Rise by 2.3% in 2007
  • Technitrol to Acquire Sonion A/S for $385 Million
  • Overactive Nerves in Head and Neck May Account for Tinnitus
  • Comfort Audio Opens Doors in US
  • Over-the-counter Eardrops May Cause Hearing Loss or Damage
  • HR Wrap-Up: The Best of Hearing Review  Online in 2007
  • Finger Length May Be Tip-Off for Osteoarthritis
  • Siemens Introduces Nitro 16 CIC
  • Lawmakers Give Half-Year Reprieve from 10.1% Medicare Payment Cut
  • HEI Sets Sights on Future: NanoEars and Other Advances
  • According to statistics generated by the Hearing Industries Association (HIA), hearing aids dispensed in the United States during 2007 totaled 2.42 million units, an increase of 2.3%. However, it should be remembered that this relatively small increase follows a 7.7% increase in 2006, the industry’s largest year-on-year increase in a decade. Private sector sales (ie, excluding Veterans Administration dispensing) of hearing aid units were relatively flat, increasing by only 1.3% in 2007.
  • Hearing aid component-manufacturer Sonion announced an agreement with Technitrol to sell 100% of the shares in Sonion A/S for $385 million. Technitrol, a publicly listed company headquartered in Philadelphia, is a worldwide producer of electronic components and precision-engineered parts. Sonion will become part of its Electronic Components business. If the deal is approved, it will mark the third major acquisition or merger of a hearing aid component supplier within the last 4 months, following the merger of AMI Semiconductor with ON Semiconductor in December and the purchase of Gennum’s Hearing Products Division by Sound Design in October.
  • Treating ear infection by implanting tympanostomy tubes may be overkill in many instances, according to new research by Salomeh Keyhani, MD, MPH, and colleagues at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Keyhani et al’s study, published in the January 2008 issue of Pediatrics, found that most children who had ear tube operations in the New York City area in 2002 had mild disease for which experts recommend either medical treatment or watchful waiting—not ear tube implantation. The findings suggest overuse of ear tubes and update a similar finding made about this practice in the United States in 1990-1991.

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Web Poll

Question: Would you be for or against a new FDA-established category for over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids?

Over three-quarters (77.1%) of respondents to this HR Web Poll question said they would be against a new OTC category for hearing aids.

This month’s poll: When considering your BTE fittings, what percentage of those fittings involve traditional BTEs with a custom earmold and typical (eg, #13) tubing? Cast your vote on the home page.