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Funding Options for your Hearing Aids

Hearing aids for children with hearing loss are free. Adults have access to a variety of government subsidies, and may be able to get free hearing aids, or may need to contribute some of their own funds.

Children

Hearing aids for pre-schoolers and children at school, or up to 21 years of age if they are in full-time education, are funded by the Ministry of Health. Most children’s hearing aids are fitted through the public hospital system. Some private audiology clinics also fit them, but you may need to pay for this service.

Batteries, maintenance and repairs of hearing aids for children are provided free of charge by the Deaf Education Centres. 

School-age children needing a remote microphone system to work with their hearing aids or for their auditory processing disorder may be funded through the Ministry of Education, while pre-schoolers with hearing aids needing a remote microphone system may get funding through the Ministry of Health.

More detailed information can be found on the Ministry of Health website

Adults

Most adults are eligible for government help for hearing aids from the Ministry of Health (MOH), and some are eligible through other sources such as ACC or Veterans Affairs. Depending on what you are eligible for, you may be able to get free hearing aids, or you might need to contribute your own money towards their cost. Some DHBs provide adult hearing aid services, however most hearing aid services for adults are provided through the private sector.

 

Hearing Aid Subsidy Scheme (MoH)

All adults over 16 years old living in New Zealand with a permanent hearing loss who are New Zealand residents and who do not qualify for funding from other sources are eligible for a subsidy of $511.11 per hearing aid, once every six years.

More detailed information can be found on the Ministry of Health website

 

Hearing Aid Funding Scheme (MoH)

Adult New Zealand residents over 16 years old with a permanent hearing loss who are living in New Zealand may be eligible for the Hearing Aid Funding Scheme, which covers the cost of your hearing aids if you meet one of these criteria:

  • Have had a significant hearing loss since childhood
  • Have both a hearing loss and another impairment that limits your ability to communicate safely and effectively e.g. visual, intellectual or physical.
  • Have had a sudden significant hearing loss within the last six months
  • Have a community services card and are either working more than 30 hours per week, in full-time study, seeking employment, engaged in voluntary work, or are the main carer of a dependent person

If you are accessing the Hearing Aid Funding Scheme through your DHB, you won’t have anything to pay. If you are using a private audiology service, you will need to pay them a fitting fee for their time, because the Hearing Aid Funding scheme only covers the cost of the devices. You will not have to pay for repairs if your devices are funded under the scheme, but you will have to pay for batteries.

More information is available from the Ministry of Health website

 

ACC

You may be eligible for ACC funding towards hearing aids if your hearing loss is the result of prolonged occupational noise exposure or a sudden trauma that has damaged your hearing. Your audiologist’s assessment will show if the hearing loss is the result of noise damage, but your claim can only be lodged by your GP or registered medical specialist. An Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon is the only person who can make a specific diagnosis of noise-induced hearing loss.

If ACC approves the claim some funding for hearing devices is provided.

Funding may be available for occupational noise exposure that occurred before ACC began in 1972 but is not usually available for sudden-trauma hearing loss that occurred before that date.

If you think you have a hearing loss that’s caused by noise exposure, act now even if you don’t think you need a hearing aid. The longer you leave it the harder it may be to prove that your hearing loss is caused by noise alone, rather than age-related deterioration.

ACC hearing aid funding ranges from just over $3000 to just under $5000, which you can use towards the hearing devices including the audiologist’s time. You may be able to get hearing devices completely covered by your ACC funding, or you may need to contribute some of your own money to get the hearing aids you need. Your MNZAS Audiologist will give you all your options.

ACC also provides all your hearing aid batteries and contributes towards costs for servicing and repairs of your hearing aids.

More information is available from ACC

 

Veterans’ Affairs

If your hearing was damaged or you developed tinnitus while serving in the New Zealand Defence Forces you may be eligible for hearing aids and devices.

Eligibility depends on several factors, including whether you receive a war pension and the degree of disability.

If your claim is accepted, Veterans’ Affairs will pay for you to see an MNZAS Audiologist for an assessment, for your hearing devices and all your follow-up appointments, and for any servicing and repairs that are needed. You may receive a battery allowance for you to purchase batteries.

More information is available from Veterans’ Affairs

 

Work and Income NZ

Anyone who receives a benefit from Work and Income NZ can apply for a loan of up to $1000, depending on where you live, to help buy hearing aids. Loan repayments are deducted from future benefit payments.

More information is available from the Work and Income website 

 

Public hospital services

Hospital audiology departments that provide adult hearing services will usually only provide hearing aids and services following referral from a health or educational specialist. Waiting lists depend on the hospital.

Depending on what government subsidies you are eligible for, there may be no charge for the services, or you may need to pay some of your own money towards hearing devices.

 

NZ Audiological Society Hearing Aid Fund

If you are in extreme financial difficulty and cannot get assistance from government agencies or elsewhere, the NZAS may be able to help. If you feel you meet these criteria, contact your audiologist or audiometrist for information.

 

Vincentian Foundation for the Elderly

The Foundation aims to improve the welfare of seniors and has a focus on grants of up to $600 to help fund hearing aids for those on low incomes. You must be aged 65+, hold a SuperGold card with community services endorsement, and have had your hearing assessed by an audiologist or audiometrist who is a member of the NZAS.

More information is available here

 

Other options

Some hospitals and private audiology practices may allow patients to repay the cost of hearing aids over time, or may have donated pre-used hearing aids they can loan or give to patients. These donated pre-used aids are generally a compromise and may not provide you with the desired benefits.