Free pensioner hearing aids?
We get lots of questions about free hearing aids for pensioners, both in the clinic and when doing community education. People have heard there is such a thing, but they don’t know much more (except perhaps a negative stigma attached to them – we’ll get to that in a moment).
Many people are aware that hearing aids are available to pensioners via a government program but unless you have already explored the subject, you can be forgiven for not knowing the details.
The Hearing Services Program
As explained in our blog “Can I get free pensioner hearing aids?” The Australian Governments’ Hearing Services Program (or HSP) provides an extensive range of services to pensioners. These include a subsidy towards hearing aids once every 5 years. Hearing aid manufactures typically offer a device that costs what the subsidy pays.
These devices represent the “entry level” for the manufacturers range, and although they aren’t “free”, the almost $1,500 cost is fully subsidised for eligible pensioners.
If you would like to know what’s available and how you register for the Hearing Services Program, give us a call.
Are they any good?
The short answer is ‘yes’.
Fully subsidised hearing aids are high quality, come in a variety of styles (including in-the-ear “invisible hearing aid” models), meet rigorous Australian Standards, and can be adjusted to provide benefits in a range of simple listening environments.
They don’t come packed with the best features money can buy, but if you are asking about free hearing aids, you’ve probably already anticipated that.
The nature of the hearing industry is such that some hearing aid vendors may have a disparaging attitude toward fully subsidised hearing aids, but this isn’t really fair. It’s a question of appropriateness. If you have a quiet lifestyle, a fully subsidised hearing aid may be perfect for you.
They will not perform well in a crowded noisy restaurant for example (this is where a higher end device would come into its own) but they will work well, when tuned correctly, to help the wearer better understand speech in one-on-one conversations, in quiet.
This makes them ideal for speaking with your partner at home, for face-to-face meetings with you doctors and other professionals, and for watching the television, as well as providing vital auditory stimulation (why is that important? Read this). In fact, fully subsidised is often the best hearing aid for tinnitus. Find out how we can help with tinnitus here.
What can I get for free?
When it comes to hearing aids, to say “technology has come a long way” is almost so obvious its redundant! In the last year alone, we have seen impressive improvements. It’s not just seen in the costly products though. The accessibility and affordability of previously high-end features such as multi-directional sound processing and noise suppression means that many of these features are now available within the government subsidised schedule of devices.
When discussing with your Audiologist what’s right for you (and it should always be a discussion, not a sales pitch), consider what your hearing goals are. The hearing device you decide upon should enable you to meet these goals. We regularly prescribe Bluetooth hearing aids, rechargeable hearing aids and custom in the ear hearing aids, all within the Hearing Services Program subsidy.
How do I get started?
We deliver rehabilitation services that exceed expectations and change lives for the better. A Better Ear is an independent local Redlands hearing clinic that treats patients according to the gold-standard of clinical care, taking the time to thoroughly consult with each patient so that we understand and meet their needs.
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.