The medical devices industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by increased need for homecare, preventative treatments, early diagnosis, reducing patient recovery times and improving outcomes, as well as a growing importance of technologies such as machine learning, augmented reality, 5G and digitalisation. In the last three years alone, there have been over 450,000 patents filed and granted in the medical devices industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Internet of Things in Medical Devices: Hearing aid sensors.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

150+ innovations will shape the medical devices industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the medical devices industry using innovation intensity models built on over 550,000 patents, there are 150+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, ingestible sensors, wireless gastric stimulation devices, and remote nerve stimulation devices are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Dosage monitoring inhalators, programmable infusion pumps, and athletic monitoring sensors are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are blood glucose sensors and medical emergency response systems, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the medical devices industry

Hearing aid sensors is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Hearing aids are becoming more than a tool to improve hearing as a user of a hearing aid can now supplement their vestibular system for balance and activity tracking by using inertial sensors such as accelerometers and gyroscope sensors. Additionally, the user's hearing aid can work as a step counter by using it as an activity tracker. Furthermore, directional microphones might be modified to sharpen their focus on voice signals and lessen undesirable background noise.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies.  According to GlobalData, there are 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of hearing aid sensors.

Key players in hearing aid sensors – a disruptive innovation in the medical devices industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to hearing aid sensors

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
GN Store Nord 109 Unlock company profile
Demant 103 Unlock company profile
Starkey Hearing Technologies 90 Unlock company profile
Koss 85 Unlock company profile
Sonova Holding 63 Unlock company profile
Knowles 33 Unlock company profile
WS Audiology 26 Unlock company profile
Eargo 23 Unlock company profile
Sonion 22 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 20 Unlock company profile
Bose 16 Unlock company profile
Shenzhen Voxtech 14 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 14 Unlock company profile
Qualcomm 13 Unlock company profile
Lantos Technologies 13 Unlock company profile
3Shape 11 Unlock company profile
USound 10 Unlock company profile
Dolby Laboratories 9 Unlock company profile
Intel 9 Unlock company profile
Revol Technologies 9 Unlock company profile
LG 7 Unlock company profile
Olive Union 6 Unlock company profile
Roper Technologies 6 Unlock company profile
Staton Techiya 5 Unlock company profile
Apple 5 Unlock company profile
Yamaha 5 Unlock company profile
Siemens 5 Unlock company profile
CVF 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

GN Store Nord is one of the leading patent filers in the field of hearing aid sensors. Some other key patent filers in the field include Demant, Starkey Hearing Technologies, and Koss.

In terms of application diversity, Lantos Technologies leads the pack, followed by Koss and Staton Techiya. By means of geographic reach, Shenzhen Voxtech held the top position, followed by Revol Technologies and CVF in second and third spots, respectively.

The advancements in technology, the growing adoption of smart hearing aids, the aging population, and an increasing number of cases of noise-induced hearing loss are the factors propelling the market growth.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the medical devices industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Medical Devices.


GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.