Sufferers of hearing loss may take many years to seriously consider treatment and rehabilitation. However, untreated hearing loss can negatively affect both the sufferer and their loved ones. Hearing issues may diminish a patient’s confidence and gradually lead to social isolation. Hearing aids can alleviate these problems, and their role in hearing rehabilitation and improving quality of life is well-supported by scientific study and evidence. The Australian Government in 1991 introduced a program we now know as the Hearing Services Program (HSP) to help eligible citizens with affordable hearing products and services.
Who is eligible under the Hearing Services Program?
There are certain eligibility criteria that any Australian citizen must meet to receive subsidised services under the HSP. One must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, aged 21 years or older. You must also meet any one of the following criteria to be eligible for benefits:
- Has Pensioner Concession Card (Excluding citizens on Newstart – couples without dependants or responsibilities of careers or are single)
- Having a Gold Card from the Department of Veterans Affairs
- Has a White Card from the Department of Veterans Affairs (hearing condition indicated)
- Is a dependent of any individual from any of the above categories
- A member of the Australian Defence Force
Features of the Hearing Services Program
The Hearing Service Program aims to reduce the impact of hearing loss by providing eligible people with access to hearing services.
Here is how it can help:
A hearing service provider may conduct hearing assessments. Both Audiologists and Audiometrists can perform these assessments, but for peace of mind, always seek an assessment by a master’s qualified Audiologist (Why? Read our blog on the differences between the two).
The programs clients can access a vast range of quality subsidised hearing aids, produced by top international manufacturers. Click here to learn about what hearing aids are available.
If you have an existing hearing aid approved for use on the program, consult us for clinical advice on maximizing its potential.
Upon registering for the program and receiving supported hearing aids, patients may choose to join an annual maintenance agreement for a small co-payment. This agreement covers suitable batteries, repairs, and replacements for lost or damaged devices, in addition to ongoing care and maintenance.
To register for benefits of the Hearing Services Program, you’ll need to speak to an accredited service provider of the program. Independent audiology clinics, like A Better Ear, provide an alternative to visiting manufacturer-owned clinics that supply only their products. Similarly, seeking the advice of a clinician-owned clinic means you are more likely to receive care and advice that focusses on your needs.
What type of hearing aids can you get under HSP?
Even the most basic hearing aids provided through the program are high quality and meet rigorous Australian Standards. Bluetooth hearing aids are available for those who want connectivity to their phone or to the television. These options can provide improved understanding of speech on these devices. A Bluetooth connection to your smartphone provides easy and convenient control of volume, microphone directionality, and allows you to discretely change hearing aid programs. A variety of programs may be set up by your audiologist to help you in a range of environments.
“Top-up” hearing aids
Besides offering entry-level hearing aids (many of which are Bluetooth hearing aids), the program also covers other hearing aids and devices. Patients can get partially subsidised rechargeable hearing aids for a minimal “top-up” fee.
Even if you don’t have any concerns, it’s an excellent idea to get a baseline measurement of your hearing. This way if you notice any changes over time, your audiologist has something to compare to.
Get in touch with us today by calling (07) 3821 3744. We can help you navigate the complexities of hearing care and will always put your interests first.