Pensioners and Veterans
Ear & Hearing Australia is accredited to provide Government-funded hearing services to eligible pensioners and veterans.
To be eligible you must hold either a Pensioner Concession Card, a Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) Gold Repatriation Health Card (or a white card issued for hearing loss), or be in receipt of a sickness allowance. Eligible dependents of one of these cardholders may also be eligible.
Eligible people can obtain the following services, by applying to the Office of Hearing Services, at no cost:
- Hearing assessment
- Hearing rehabilitation, incl. supply and fitting of a standard hearing aid
In addition, eligible people may obtain maintenance and a regular supply of batteries for their hearing aids on payment of an annual contribution fee.
What is the Hearing Services Program (HSP)?
The HSP is a program set by the Department of Health to provide eligible individuals with access to hearing services and, if appropriate, fully or partially subsidised hearing aids.
Some of the services you may be eligible to receive include:
- A comprehensive hearing assessment including otoscopy, tympanometry,maudiometry and speech assessment
- Advice and support about your hearing/hearing loss and discussion of appropriate rehabilitation and management
- The fitting of a fully or partially subsidised hearing device and/or accessory to assist with your rehabilitation and management (if appropriate)
- Ongoing support and counselling for your hearing and devices
- Ongoing maintenance of your devices (conditions apply)
Eligibility and Application
Ear and Hearing Australia is an accredited provider of Government funded hearing services.
To be eligible for the benefits of the HSP, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- A pensioner concession card holder
- A department of veterans affairs gold card holder
- A department of veteran affairs white card holder (hearing specific conditions)
- A dependant of a person in one of the above categories
- A member of the Australian defence force referred by the Disability Employment Services (Disability Management Services) Program
- A National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant with hearing needs, referred by a planner from the National Disability Insurance Agency
Please note than a Seniors Health Card does not provide eligibility for the program
To check if you are eligible for the HSP give our clinic a call and one of our friendly staff will check your eligibility online for you. You will be asked for your first name, last name, date of birth and eligibility number (such as the number listed on your pensioner or DVA card) and contact details. If you are eligible, we will apply for the program on your behalf and book you in for your first appointment!
Alternatively, you may wish to check your eligibility yourself through the Department of Health’s online HSP eligibility checker.
Already on the Program with someone else?
Unhappy with the service you are receiving elsewhere or want to receive a second opinion? You are able to transfer your HSP voucher to another provider without consequence. If you would like to be seen by one of our clinical team to discuss how we can better your hearing and listening experience we would be happy to see you for a no obligations appointment*. At the end of the appointment you will have the freedom to choose whether you would like to stay with your current provider or transfer to our clinic as one of our clients.
*Please note, private consultation fees may apply
With all hearing devices acquired through the HSP, you are able to enter into an optional maintenance agreement, for an annual fee. A maintenance agreement is a great way to minimise the cost of the long term management of your devices.
Your maintenance agreement covers the cost of consumables such as batteries and filters, and minor in house repairs. Your devices will also be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty which will ensure that major repairs are at no cost for the duration of the warranty period. Some hearing aid providers may choose to take an additional co-payment from their clients to supplement the cost of upkeep of hearing devices, especially for top up hearing aids that have more expensive electronic components. At Ear and Hearing, we do not take an additional co-payment from our HSP clients regardless of the type of hearing device purchased.
It is not compulsory to enter into a maintenance agreement, however it is strongly recommended. Without a maintenance agreement, the cost of batteries, servicing and repairs can add up quickly and easily exceed the cost of the maintenance agreement fee.
What happens during my hearing assessment?
Your hearing assessment will be conducted by one of our trained audiologists. You can expect the following tests at your hearing assessment:
- Case history: this includes a discussion of any hearing or listening goals you may have.
- Otoscopy: a thorough check of your ear canals and ear drums to identify any abnormalities
- Tympanometry: a gentle pressure test on the eardrum to assess your middle ear status
- Audiometry: a hearing assessment to determine the softest level of sound you can hear
- Speech test: a test of your listening and comprehension of speech sounds as related to your hearing
After your assessment is complete, your audiologist will discuss your results with you and recommend an appropriate management plan.
Should you require hearing devices to manage your hearing loss, you can be confident in receiving unbiased advice tailored to your particular hearing and listening needs. In line with the HSP, your audiologist will offer you a choice between both fully and partially subsidised devices and provide detailed advice on their advantages and disadvantages to ensure you are fully informed about the decision you will make.
Do I have to get hearing aids at the end of the consultation?
Definitely not! A person’s success with hearing devices does not only depend on their audiogram but also personal factors such as their hearing and listening goals, expectations and motivation to name a few. At the end of your assessment, your audiologist will make a recommendation based on your audiogram and discussions as to whether hearing devices are the best management option for you. At the end of the consultation it is up to you whether you would like to go ahead with the recommendation.
What is the difference between free and top up hearing aids?
Free or fully subsidised hearing aids are available for those who are budget conscious yet still want to receive a device to help them achieve their hearing and listening goals. The HSP provides a wide range of hearing devices with entry level features to help improve your hearing and listening ability.
Top up or partially subsidised devices require the client to pay a contribution on top of the HSP subsidy to access higher level hearing aid technology. The relevance of these features to you will depend on your hearing goals, lifestyle and your expectations of the devices.
To determine which type of device is best for you, it is important that during your consultation with your audiologist you make clear your hearing goals, budget and expectations of hearing devices. The more information your audiologist has, the easier it will be to guide you to the best solution for your hearing difficulties.
Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) Clients
If you hold a DVA Gold or White Card (for hearing loss), you are eligible for services and devices under the program. Additionally, the spouse or dependent of a person with a Gold or White card can also access the same benefits.
The program for DVA Card holders is identical to those who hold a pension card with a few exceptions:
- DVA will cover the cost of your device maintenance agreement for Gold and White card (specific for hearing loss) holders
- DVA will fund assistive listening devices (ALD) for both Gold and White card (specific for hearing loss) holders. This is subject to approval by the DVA for White card holders.
DVA clients have access to the same list of fully and partially subsidised hearing devices.
As a HSP client you are eligible to receive up to $1500* in subsidies to use towards your hearing devices. If you are a DVA card holder then you may also be eligible for further subsidies towards your maintenance agreement and funding for assistive listening devices.
If you have a health fund that covers audiology services, you may be able to use your health fund rebate to further minimise the cost of your devices. You can use our handy guide to see how much money you can save on your devices and services through your health fund.