If you need hearing aids, you may be able to get some financial help from the Ministry of Health through its Hearing Aid Subsidy Scheme.
Listen up – financial help available for hearing aids
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 aren’t covered under the Hearing Aid Funding Scheme.
The subsidy for each hearing aid is available no more than once every 6 months.
Only audiologists who are full members of the New Zealand Audiological Society (MNZAS), or audiometrists who are an audiometrist member of the NZAS, can access the scheme for their patients.
What will happen when I visit an audiologist?
An approved assessor will test your hearing.
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 through the Hearing Aid Subsidy Scheme, your approved assessor will apply to the Ministry of Health for you to help pay for them.
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.
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.
After trailing 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:
- fitting services
- hearing aid batteries
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.
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 also get support from the Ministry of Health’s Hearing Aid Subsidy Scheme.
- Guide to getting hearing aids – Hearing Aid Subsidy Scheme Ministry of Health, NZ, 2016