The Hearing Services Program
Unlike many other healthcare services in Australia, hearing care funding is not delivered through Medicare, but via a dedicated Australian Government program called the “Hearing Services Program” (HSP).
Eligible pensioners and department of veterans’ affairs card holders can access a range of hearing care services and hearing devices through the program simply by registering.
A Better Ear is contracted by the Commonwealth to deliver these services on their behalf, and we’ve helped hundreds of people check their eligibility and register for the program. Once you are registered as a ‘client’ of the Hearing Services Program, you are issued with a virtual ‘voucher’, against which the cost of the services can be claimed by the hearing care provider.
Who is eligible?
If you need a hearing test, or hearing aids, Brisbane has many providers that can help. However, many people don’t know if they are eligible for subsidised care. Those that do receive subsidised care, often don’t know what they are eligible for, or how the services are paid for.
You are eligible for the Hearing Services Program if you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident 21 years or older and
a Pensioner Concession Card holder (eligibility for a Pensioner Concession Card does not include people on Newstart who are single or couples with no dependents or carer responsibilities).
a Department of Veterans’ Affairs White Card holder (hearing specifically listed)
a dependent 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
We are often asked if a seniors health care card makes you eligible. Unfortunately, no. A Seniors Health Card does not provide eligibility for the program.
If you wish to check your eligibility for the program, you can do so here.
What does the program provide?
The Australian Governments hearing services program is extremely comprehensive; too comprehensive to list all services available to clients of the program. Having said that, if you are searching for free hearing aids for pensioners, then this is how pensioners get them. In fact, what people refer to as ‘pensioner hearing aids’ are devices available to everyone; that are priced by manufactures to meet the total rebate available.
As listed on the program website, hearing services may include
a comprehensive hearing assessment once every five (5) years
a subsidy towards high quality hearing aids at no cost to the client, at least once every five (5) years
if fit with a hearing device/s, you can receive support and advice on how to get maximum benefit from using it, as well as annual check-up appointments
if not fit with a hearing device/s, you can receive further support and hearing services, such as annual hearing reviews
Program clients fit with approved hearing aids can optionally access a yearly maintenance plan for a small annual fee, which provides additional support in the form of repairs and batteries.
Are there limits?
It is worth noting that the program does not offer unlimited hearing care. For example, if you are not wearing hearing aid/s, the program will cover the cost of one hearing review appointment per annum, but further visits would not be covered. Whilst a hearing aid for tinnitus may be prescribed and its cost be covered by the program, if additional tinnitus-specific counselling sessions are sought, these sessions may not be provided for on the client’s voucher. There are also services provided outside the program limits (for example ear wax removal) which may be offered, but are billed to the client as a private service.
How do I get started?
A Better Ear is an independent local business, established to deliver rehabilitation services that exceed expectations and change lives for the better. We take the time to thoroughly consult and treat according to the gold-standard of clinical care, always helping patients receive their full entitlements under the Hearing Services Program.
Disclaimer: All information is general in nature. Patients should consider their own personal circumstances and seek a second opinion. Eligibility for, and services available under the Hearing Services Program may change. Please check the HSP website for up-to-date details.