One reason why Hearing Aids are expensive?

Newly released 2015 sales figures from the British Hearing Aid Manufacturers Association have revealed the following:

Sales in the UK private sector increased from 257,000 in 2014 to 276,000 in 2015, growth of 7.4%. However, public sales (NHS), increased by only 3.7% to 1.311 million, a second year of low growth following the high growth years of 2012 and 2013. Total sales in the UK reached 1.587 million, an increase of 4.3% over 2014.

So, overall sales to both the private & NHS sectors are UP but the private market is increasing TWICE as fast as the NHS. At the same time NHS accounts for over 80% of hearing aid sold (by the manufacturers)

Bearing in mind therefore that the NHS supplies 80% of the instruments fitted but pays only a fraction of the wholesale cost of a Hearing Instrument (between 5-10%) - one could draw the conclusion that either the 20% of private users are subsidising the cost of instruments to the NHS, or the manufacturers are vastly overcharging the private sector. The question is, which is it?

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