GBI Research, a provider of business intelligence reports, has reported that the global hearing aid market is estimated to grow to $11.3bn by 2018, at a compound annual growth rate of 7%.

According to the report, miniature behind-the-ear (BTE) devices and other nearly invisible aids, such as in-the-canal (ITC) and completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids, and are witnessing growing global demand.

GBI Research noted a positive trend in global BTE device sales, with the value increasing from $2.77bn in 2004 to $4.98bn in 2011.

The reasons for increased demand of BTE devices is believed to be improved comfort, long-lasting batteries and increased ease of wearing and removal, as well as growing elderly populations, government healthcare initiatives and a rise in the prevalence of acquired hearing loss.

Many companies are increasing miniature device research and development to meet demands of better speech intelligibility, improved sound quality, enhanced aesthetics and comfort.

A range of deep-fitting, invisible hearing aids offering aesthetic benefits such as the iMini by Siemens, the Lyric and Phonak nano by Phonak and the Oticon Intiga by Oticon, are at present available in the market.