What benefits does the scheme provide?
Under this scheme, those who qualify are eligible to receive the following benefits:
- FREE hearing assessments
- FREE hearing rehabilitation
- FREE basic digital hearing aids, or SUBSIDISED advanced digital hearing aids
- SUBSIDISED hearing aid maintenance and batteries
At Hearing Matters, we are fully licensed and accredited to provide hearing services for pensioners and veterans under the Australian Government Hearing Services Program. If you are eligible, you can receive free hearing assessments and hearing aids from our professional audiologists throughout South Australia. To access the Commonwealth Hearing Services Scheme, you need to get an application form signed by your GP and sent to our Canberra office. We’ll then send you a voucher in the coming weeks.
Am I eligible?
You are eligible to apply for a Hearing Services Voucher if you are an Australian citizen (or permanent resident over 21 years old), and you meet any of the following criteria:
- A Pensioner Concession Card holder
- Receiving Sickness Allowance from Centrelink
- The holder of a Gold Repatriation Health Card issued for all conditions
- The holder of a White Repatriation Health Card issued for conditions that include hearing loss
- A dependent of a person in one of the above categories
- A member of the Australian Defence Force
- Undergoing an Australian Government-funded vocational rehabilitation service and you are referred by your service provider
You will also be eligible to receive other hearing services if you are a permanent Australian citizen or resident that is:
- Younger than 21 years of age
- A participant in a Community Development Employment Projects Program
- An Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander who is over 50 years
What services will you receive?
Eligibility for the Australian Government Hearing Services Program entitles you to a broad range of services free of charge, including:
- Getting your hearing assessed by a qualified audiologist
- Assistance finding the most suitable hearing device for your needs
- Friendly advice on getting the most out of your hearing aid
- Additional services for more complex problems
To keep your device working at its optimum level, you can also get maintenance services and a regular supply of batteries for a small annual maintenance fee.
If you are eligible to apply for a Hearing Services Voucher, you may either:
- Obtain an application form from your doctor or from a hearing services provider who is contracted to the Office of Hearing Services
- Telephone 1800 500 726 (phone) or 1800 500 496 (for users of TTY equipment only) and give your postal address, and an application form will be posted to you
- Download the application form using the following link: Hearing Services Voucher Application Form for New Clients (PDF 114 KB)
If you are applying to the program for the first time, you must complete client details labelled Part A. A Medical Practitioner is required to complete and sign the referral details of Part B of the form.
If you already wear a hearing aid, new aids will only be fitted if your current hearing aids are no longer meeting your clinical needs as assessed by your hearing services practitioner.
Once completed, send your application to the following address:
Mail Drop Point 113
Office of Hearing Services
Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing
GPO Box 9848
Canberra, ACT 2601
What happens after you post your application?
The Office of Hearing Services will check your eligibility for the program. When this check is complete, the Office will send you a letter with an attached voucher and a local provider directory. Enclosed with the letter will be information explaining how to arrange an appointment with an accredited service provider. The overall processing time takes approximately six to eight weeks.
For more information
Contact the Office of Hearing Services on: 1800 500 726.
If you use a telephone typewriter (TTY) telephone: 1800 500 496.
Written correspondence should be addressed to:
Office of Hearing Services Department of Health and Ageing
Mail Drop Point 113
GPO Box 9848
Canberra ACT 2601
Under the Australian Government Hearing Services Program, if you are found to have a clinical need, you will be provided with a quality hearing aid that will offer a satisfactory rehabilitation outcome. However, the Australian Government Hearing Services Program also allows for ‘top-up’ arrangements where you may choose to be fitted with a hearing aid with additional features beyond those necessary to achieve a satisfactory rehabilitation outcome.
Under the ‘top-up’ arrangements, you pay the difference in cost to your service provider. You can expect a Government contribution towards the cost of your ‘top-up’ hearing aid. All hearing aids, including ‘top-up’ aids, are GST-free. Hearing devices that are not hearing aids will incur a GST charge.
Entering into a ‘top-up’ arrangement is a matter of personal choice. You are not obliged to enter into such an arrangement.
Maintenance and batteries
If you have an existing hearing aid, we recommend that you enter into a maintenance agreement with your service provider. For an annual fee, they will maintain your hearing device and supply you with batteries to ensure optimum performance at all times. If you choose not to pay the annual maintenance fee, you will need to buy batteries regularly and pay for servicing and repair of your hearing aid. This can work out to be more expensive in the long run.
The annual maintenance charge for a ‘top-up’ device may be higher and should be negotiated between you and your hearing services practitioner.
Consumer support groups
For information about consumer support groups throughout Australia contact the Deafness Forum Australia on 02 6262 7808 (phone) or 02 6262 7809 (for users of TTY equipment only).