The Hearing Services Program provides government-funded hearing services and devices to eligible people*. Young Australians who are under 26 years of age, and are a citizen or permanent resident are eligible for the Community Service Obligation (CSO) component of the Hearing Services Program.
Hearing Australia is the sole provider of the CSO Program.
This information is for parents and carers of eligible children who have a hearing loss and for eligible young adults who have a hearing loss. To keep things simple, we will use the word “you” or “your” to mean either your own, or your child’s situation.
Hearing Australia supports the hearing care of eligible children, teens and young adults who have a permanent or long-term hearing loss. Through the funding made available to us under the Hearing Services Program, we deliver our services as efficiently and fairly as possible so that we can help each individual child to achieve their communication potential.
Hearing Australia offers a range of government-subsidised hearing aids and remote microphone systems, which may be supplied at no cost to you. These are often called “fully subsidised” devices.
When it is not possible to get every feature that you prefer in a single, fully subsidised device, your audiologist will work with you so that you can prioritise features or make an informed choice about contributing to the cost of a hearing aid or remote microphone system that offers more features.
Hearing Australia also receives specific funding through the Hearing Services Program to support cochlear implant speech processors for eligible young Australians. This includes:
- Fully subsidised replacement of speech processors that are lost or damaged beyond repair.
- Fully subsidised technology upgrades for clients who meet clinical criteria.
For an additional fee through the annual maintenance program^, you will be able to receive repairs, batteries, ear moulds and replacement parts for hearing aids, cochlear implant speech processors and remote microphone systems.
The fully subsidised device range offers a number of options so that you can select a device that:
- Is safe
- Can be managed effectively by the user or by their support person;
- Can be adjusted to provide appropriate amplification for your individual hearing levels; and
- Can meet most typical client goals related to communication, education, and work participation.
If your existing device no longer meets these needs, we will replace it with a fully subsidised device that is more suitable, or you can contribute to the cost of your preferred option.
While most of our clients use conventional air conduction hearing aids (Behind-the-Ear and In-the-Ear styles), these aren’t suitable for everyone. We also fit bone conduction hearing aids on a headband if you cannot wear a conventional hearing aid due to discharging ears, or to physical conditions such as atresia (absent ear canals). If you need to wear a bone conduction aid permanently, we also provide sound processors for implantable bone conduction systems if your Ear, Nose and Throat specialist agrees that you are medically suitable for the implant.
Safety is extremely important for children under 5 years of age and older clients who are at risk of swallowing batteries or small parts. We fit a specific range of products for those who have safety needs.
Our range of hearing aids and remote microphone systems allows most clients to connect to phones, computers, and personal entertainment (e.g. MP3 players). Some hearing aids need an accessory to stream the signal from their phone or other system. Other aids can stream directly, without needing an accessory. If your preferred method of connectivity is not possible through the fully-subsidised range, then you can contribute to the cost of an accessory or a device with different features.
Your audiologist will work with you so that you can make an informed choice about your hearing technology. As well as doing a hearing assessment, they will test speech understanding and/or use questionnaires that investigate listening abilities in a range of situations. They will explain the results to you, describe the likely benefits of different technology options and discuss how they might help to meet your goals and budget. Your audiologist will also explain strategies that can be used either with or without hearing aids to help you to communicate as well as possible.
Technology changes over time, and new technology may offer features that improve convenience or flexibility. How often these changes occur depends upon the type of technology. We offer the option of changing your subsidised technology periodically. The following pages provide information about how long we typically expect you to use your device before refitting. If you wish to be refitted more often, you can purchase unsubsidised new technology at any time.
*Conditions apply under the Australian Government Hearing Services Program.
^Subject to eligibility criteria under the Hearing Services Program, entry level hearing aids are fully subsidised, and level 1-7 hearing aids may be partially subsidised. Care may include ear mould renewal and repair, as provided under the optional maintenance program. Eligible clients will receive a voucher which may be used toward a fully or partially subsidised device and related services. If you are not eligible for the Hearing Services Program, please ask your local hearing centre for the right information including pricing.
To check if you are eligible and for more information about the Hearing Services Program, go to hearingservices.gov.au .