COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - William Demant has received approval for its first hearing aid reducing tinnitus from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Danish company told Reuters on Thursday.
The new hearing aid is especially targeted at the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA), a government-led program for U.S. military veterans, which currently makes up about 20 percent of all hearing aid units dispensed in the U.S.
"There is a demand for it in the U.S. market, especially within the Veterans Administration," a William Demant spokeswoman said.
According to investment bank Bernstein, William Demant's market share within the VA dropped to about 8 percent in 2013 from 11 percent in 2011, and several analysts have pointed out that a tinnitus hearing aid is essential for future growth.
"We expect that William Demant with a hearing aid against tinnitus will be able to double its sales growth in the VA segment compared to the market growth," Handelbanken Capital Markets wrote in a note to clients.
In 2011, 840,865 members of the VA had tinnitus according to Handelbanken.
The launch is expected during the second half this year on selected test markets.
William Demant's biggest competitors, Swiss Sonova, Germany's Siemens and Danish GN Resound, all have products that reduce tinnitus.
(Reporting by Ole Mikkelsen, editing by Terje Solsvik)