Hearing aids usually cost between $2,500 and $9,400 for a pair. This page summarises some of the funding options for hearing aids in Australia.
Hearing Services Program (HSP)
The Australian Government’s Hearing Services Program is administered by the Department of Health. By far the largest proportion of hearing aids fitted in Australia each year comes from funding through this program. On this program you can choose fully subsidised hearing aids or pay extra towards more expensive hearing aids.
To access this program you need to belong to one of the following categories:
• Aged Pensioner
• DVA Gold card holder or DVA White (hearing specific) card holder
• Receiving a Sickness Allowance from Centrelink
• Are a dependent of someone who meets one of the above categories
• Member of the Australia Defence Force
• Referred by Disability Employment Services
• NDIS participant. Read more below for more information about the NDIS
We can check your eligibility and apply for this program on your behalf. Additional information is available at http://www.hearingservices.gov.au/
HSP Community Services Obligation (CSO)
The Hearing Services Program provides additional funding for patients who have complex needs. At this stage, a patient can only access this additional funding at Hearing Australia although this may change in the future. To qualify for this additional funding, you must meet the following criteria:
• 0-25 yo with a permanent hearing loss; OR
• Young NDIS participant (0-6yo)
• 50yo+ Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander; OR
• Anyone on the Australian Government’s Hearing Services Program that has complex hearing or communication needs (80dBHL 3 frequency average in the better ear, poor vision, poor memory or other cognitive problems); OR
• Lives in a remote location.
Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA)
DVA do not directly fund hearing aids. However, DVA Gold and DVA White (hearing specific) card holders can access the Hearing Services Program. DVA card holders may also have access to additional funding for various assistive listening devices through the Rehabilitation Appliance Program (RAP). This can include TV headphones, remote microphones, hearing aid streaming devices, personal amplifiers, doorbells, smoke alarms etc
Most devices need prior approval from DVA before they can be provided by your Audiologist. Your Audiologist must demonstrate to DVA that there is a clinical need for any device requested. Unfortunately, telephones specifically designed for the hearing impaired are not included.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a national funding scheme for individuals with a disability that impacts their ability to participate in everyday activities including work. A person can become a participant of the NDIS if they have not yet reached the age of 65. Each participant must have a plan created with a NDIS planner that specifies what supports and help a person requires to reduce the impact of their disability.
If hearing loss is your only disability, you can access NDIS funding if you are aged 26-65yo with at least a 65dBHL hearing loss in the better ear AND have significant communication difficulties. If you have additional disabilities you may also be eligible. To apply, you must fill out an Access Request Form which we can help you with.
Medicare (Not a Funding Option for Hearing Aids)
Medicare in Australia does not fund hearing aids but will contribute to the cost of hearing assessments performed by an Audiologist when requested by an ENT or neurologist. From March 1st 2023, a GP will also be able to request a hearing assessment under Medicare.
WorkSafe or ComCare
If you have sustained a hearing loss due to noise exposure at work, you may be eligible for compensation including hearing aids. Each state regulates work injury compensation claims including those associated with a hearing loss through their WorkCover body.
Private Health Insurance
Some health funds provide funding towards hearing aids, hearing assessments and hearing aid repairs. If you have a hearing loss and are likely to need hearing aids, it may be worth shopping around for the health insurance that provides the most for your audiology needs. Waiting periods usually apply for new policies. Independent Audiologists Australia does research every year and summarises the funding each health fund provides for hearing aids and hearing services. The latest version is available here: https://independentaudiologists.net.au/Extras-Cover
Insurance for Lost, Damaged or Stolen Hearing Aids
Many hearing aids every year get stolen, lost or damaged. Hearing aids are small devices and can be easily misplaced, driven over, chewed up by the dog or flushed down the toilet. Listing your hearing aids on your home & contents insurance may assist with some of the cost of replacing lost and damaged hearing aids.
It is important to look at the fine print. Not all insurance companies cover hearing aids that are lost, damaged or stolen outside of the home. A lot of hearing aids are lost when someone is at the beach, on holidays or in hospital.
Those who have difficulty paying for hearing aids may be able to access money from their superannuation early. This is dependent on your super fund so best to talk to them before choosing this option. You will usually require a recent hearing test from an audiologist (nothing older than 6 months) as well as a quote for the recommended hearing aids. We recommend getting independent financial advice before choosing this option. More information about this option can be found here: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/early-release-superannuation
A personal loan will incur interest although the cost of hearing aid can be spread over years instead of upfront. Definitely shop around and seek independent financial advice before choosing this option.
Interest Free or Low Interest Credit Cards
Although we would recommend thinking carefully before acquiring a credit card, it is possible to obtain new credit cards with an interest free (or low interest period). This may be a better solution than a personal loan if you are able to pay off the credit card during this period. Please seek independent financial advice before choosing this option.
Some individuals may be able to use the net cost of hearing aids as a deductible purchase for tax purposes. Eligibility criteria apply and this may change from year to year. We recommend speaking with an accountant for advice.
Hearing Aid Banks
If you are unable to afford hearing aids and are not eligible for any other funding, you may qualify a hearing aid bank. To be eligible you must be on a low income or no income.
HCIA runs a hearing program that provides funding for new hearing aids. You can read more about it here: https://www.hearingaidbank.org.au/the-hearing-aid-bank-eligibility-criteria/#.YucDPBxByHs
Sound Fair also run a hearing aid bank, and you can find out about eligibility at https://soundfair.org.au/community-projects/hearing-bank/