Hearing aid funding and subsidy schemes

If you need hearing aids, you may be able to get some financial help from the Ministry of Health. Some people are eligible for funding through ACC or Veterans' Affairs.

There are 2 funding options available through the Ministry of Health. The Hearing Aid Funding Scheme and the Hearing Aid Subsidy Scheme.

On this page, you can find the following information:

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The Hearing Aid Funding Scheme

For children

Hearing aids are paid for by the Ministry of Health for pre-schoolers and children and rangatahi up to the age of 21 years if they are in full-time education. Most fitting will be done free through Te Whatu Ora but if they are fitted privately some costs may be involved.

For adults

As an adult you are eligible for funding through the Hearing Aid Funding Scheme if you:

  • have had a significant hearing loss from childhood
  • have a hearing loss and a significant visual impairment (for example, deafblind) or a hearing loss and an intellectual disability or a physical disability that limits your ability to communicate safely and effectively
  • have a Community Services Card and you're in one of these situations:
    • in paid employment for 30 hours per week or more
    • a registered job seeker looking for paid employment
    • doing voluntary work (more than 20 hours per week)
    • studying full time
    • caring full time for a dependent person.

This funding covers the costs of hearing aids no more than once every 6 years for adults and 3 times in 6 years for children. 

Your hearing will need to be assessed by an approved assessor who may be:

  • an audiologist who is a full member of the New Zealand Audiological Society (NZAS), or
  • an audiometrist who is an audiometrist member of the NZAS.

Only an approved assessor can apply for funding for you. 

Note: You may be able to get help towards the cost of hearing aids from ACC or Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand. If you can get help from either of these organisations, you can’t get support from the Ministry of Health’s Hearing Funding Scheme as well. 
Read more about the Hearing Aid Funding Scheme. 

This video gives you information about the Ministry of Health's Hearing Aid FUNDING Scheme, how you could get hearing aids, the benefits of hearing aids and what you can expect from audiology services.

(Ministry of Health, NZ, 2013)

What will happen when I visit an audiologist?

Assessment

An approved assessor will test your hearing.

Recommendation

Depending on the results, they may recommend hearing aids to improve your hearing.

If hearing aids aren’t recommended or you decide not to have them, you could see a hearing therapist for free advice on how to manage your hearing loss (phone 0800 008 011 or visit Life Unlimited for more information).

Selection of hearing aids

Your approved assessor will advise you on the types of hearing aids that will best meet your needs and give you a written quote. Hearing aids come in a range of styles to suit different needs and situations.

Application for funding

If you’re eligible for hearing aids, your approved assessor will apply to the Ministry of Health for you.

Fitting of hearing aids

After your approved assessor receives approval for you to try hearing aids, they will fit and programme them for you. They will also show you how to take care of them.

Trial

You will be able to try out the hearings aids to see if they work for you. The standard trial period is 6–8 weeks. If you have any problems, let your approved assessor know and they can adjust them for you. If they still don’t work for you, you can return them during the trial period and try a different model.

Final decision

After trialing the hearing aids, you can discuss with your approved assessor whether you want to go ahead with them. If so, they will arrange for the Ministry of Health to pay for the hearing aids.

If I’m eligible for the scheme, will I have to pay anything?

If you are eligible for the Ministry of Health’s Hearing Aid Funding Scheme, they will pay for your hearing aids. However, there are some other costs, such as hearing assessments or hearing aid fitting services, that you may need to pay (depending on where your approved assessor works).

Approved assessors working in private practices charge for:

  • assessments
  • fitting services
  • hearing aid batteries
  • follow-up.

Approved assessors working in public hospitals charge for:

  • in some cases, a separate fitting fee
  • hearing aid batteries.

What about insurance?

It’s a good idea to insure your hearing aids yourself. That’s because if something happens to them you can’t get help to replace them for 6 years after you’ve been approved for the scheme.

The Hearing Aid Subsidy Scheme

The Hearing Aid Subsidy Scheme provides $511.11 per hearing aid to adults who are over 16 years of age and who:

  • have a permanent hearing loss and need a hearing aid
  • are New Zealand citizens living in New Zealand or permanent residents who don't qualify for funding from any other sources including the Hearing Aid Funding Scheme. 

The subsidy for each hearing aid is available no more than once every 6 years.

Read more about the Hearing Aid Subsidy Scheme. 

References

  1. Guide to getting hearing aids – hearing aid subsidy scheme Ministry of Health, NZ, 2016
  2. Hearing aid funding New Zealand Audiological Society 
Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team.