The Covid-19 pandemic has been the defining source of revenue loss in H1 2020 among leading ear, nose and throat (ENT) medical device manufacturers, including Medtronic, Smith and Nephew, Stryker, and Cochlear. Early in the pandemic, mass closures of ENT clinics had significantly impacted the hearing aids market, which is the largest segment of the ENT market worldwide, according to GlobalData. Furthermore, postponement of non-essential ENT procedures in hospitals had driven down sales of other devices used in common procedures like cochlear implantation and functional endoscopic sinus surgeries.

The ENT devices market has been hit hard by the pandemic as the majority of related procedures are considered non-essential and elective. This is in stark contrast to critical therapy areas that directly address the pandemic such as anaesthesia and respiratory, drug delivery, healthcare information technology, and hospital supplies. A market analysis of ENT device sales throughout 2020 by GlobalData reveals upwards of a 76% reduction in revenue for the leading manufacturers in April, which was by far the most negatively impacted month. Remarkably, however, the gradual reopening of clinics and resumption of elective surgeries following April had resulted in a rapid – albeit incomplete – market recovery, driven by the pent-up demand for hearing aids and postponed procedures.

Provided ENT clinics remain open and hospitals continue providing non-essential ENT procedures at the current rate, GlobalData expects most of the device manufacturers to fully recover and report year-over-year growth by their next fiscal quarter. However, despite the ongoing recovery, the current surge in Covid-19 cases across North America, Europe, and other regions casts doubt on its long-term sustainability. For example, any potential future lockdowns would likely once again result in reduced ENT procedure volumes in hospitals and partial or full closure of ENT clinics. In such case, the ENT devices market would undoubtedly be negatively impacted yet again.

Fortunately, however, the uncertainty associated with future case numbers and even lockdowns is offset by the imminent availability of multiple effective Covid-19 vaccines. As countries scramble to secure millions of vaccine doses and the likelihood of clinic closures and procedure postponements subside, GlobalData expects the market to undergo a surge in revenue in 2021 to compensate for the 2020 losses. This would be followed by a resumption of market growth back to its pre-pandemic Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 3.8%, thus exceeding the market value of $10bn by 2025.