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Hearing aids versus consumer technology

Dear List,

I'm currently researching an article on hearing aid technology;
Specifically, on why it seems to lag behind audio technology in the
consumer sector, when there would appear to be some significant overlap
in terms of requirements and techniques (e.g. very low power
consumption, small form factor, miniaturised/solid state audio
transducers, speech-in-noise cleanup techniques etc etc.).

Obviously hearing aids occupy a far smaller market sector than
smartphones, and, being classed as medical devices, are subject to more
stringent regulations, meaning more development work for less return.
Is it simply the case that consumer companies (I'm thinking
predominantly of semiconductor companies here, rather than the likes of,
say, Apple, who are system integrators rather than developers) have no
interest in adapting their technologies to suit hearing aid
applications, and it is not cost-effective for hearing aid manufacturers
to licence new technology from the consumer companies, or even from
academic institutions, or is there more to it than that?

I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on the matter, (on or
off the record, and on or off list, as you prefer).

Kind Regards,

Liz Elliott