Australian Government - Department of Health - Office of Hearing Services
Hearing Services Program

Glossary

This glossary helps explain some of the most important hearing services program words, terms and concepts.*

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Accreditation

Accreditation is the process used by the Australian Government Hearing Services Program (the program) to assess and approve a provider of hearing services. Being accredited means that the provider has been found to meet the requirements necessary as set out in the Hearing Services Providers Accreditation Scheme 1997 to deliver hearing services to clients of the Hearing Services Program.

Accreditation Scheme

The Accreditation Scheme sets out the requirements for applicants and empowers the Minister for Health to make decisions to accredit Hearing Services Providers.

Act

Act means the Hearing Services Administration Act 1997.

Australian Hearing Specialist Program for Indigenous Australians (AHSPIA)

The AHSPIA is Australian Hearing's outreach service. It is delivered in a culturally sensitive way in localities that encourage Indigenous people to use hearing services. The services are designed to meet the audiological needs that arise in Indigenous communities, caused by the high prevalence of otitis media and its associated hearing loss.

Air conduction

Air conduction tests evaluate the sensitivity of the entire hearing system. Earphones are placed over the ears or inserted into the ear canal. The hearing practitioner presents single frequency ("pure") tones produced by a calibrated audiometer. The softest sounds heard by the client at each pitch are recorded as the thresholds.

Alternative Listening Device (ALD)

ALDs are devices which assist someone with a hearing loss to hear and understand what is being said more clearly. ALDs commonly include headphones and microphones. ALDs are sometimes referred to as Assistive Listening Devices.

Assessment

An assessment is the test undertaken by a hearing practitioner to determine if a client has a hearing loss and the type of loss.

Audiogram

An audiogram is a graph which plots hearing loss. Hearing thresholds are graphed to show how close a client's hearing is to the 'normal' range. An audiogram helps to determine the level of hearing loss and identify the location of the hearing problem. The audiogram is split into two sections: frequency (range of hearing) and intensity (or loudness).

Audiologist

Audiologists are University graduates with postgraduate qualifications in Audiology or equivalent training. Audiologists have expertise in non-medical areas of hearing services including complex hearing assessment and rehabilitation of hearing impairment.

Audiology Australia Limited

Audiologists are represented professionally by Audiology Australia Limited. Audiology Australia Limited is a Practitioner Professional Body under the Hearing Services Program. Previously known as the Audiological Society of Australia (ASA).

Audiometrist

Audiometrists have completed a diploma course in hearing aid prescription and evaluation.

Audit

An audit is a systematic, independent and documented process of obtaining and evaluating audit evidence to determine whether specified criteria are met. An audit enables the program to check whether a hearing services provider has the systems, processes and governance arrangements in place to meet the requirements of the program.

Audit and Compliance Framework (the framework)

The framework describes the Department of Health’s risk based approach to audit and compliance. The framework provides a plan for monitoring and encouraging compliance from Hearing Services Providers, in delivering hearing services to clients.

Australian College of Audiology (ACAud)

Audiometrists and some audiologists are represented professionally by the ACAud. ACAud is a Practitioner Professional Body under the Hearing Services Program. 

Australian Hearing (AH)

AH is a hearing services provider under the Hearing Services Program. AH is a statutory authority (Government owned) that reports to the Minister for Human Services, and provides services to clients eligible under the Community Service Obligations component of the program.

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Behind the Ear (BTE)

BTE is a type of hearing device where the main part of the device, including the electronics and battery sits in a case behind the ear.

Bilateral CROS (BiCROS)

BiCROS is a type of hearing device which allows sounds to arrive at either ear with the strongest ear processing the sound.

Binaural Fitting

A binaural fitting is when a hearing device is fitted in both ears.

Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA)

A BAHA is a surgically implantable system for the treatment of hearing loss. This device allows sound to be conducted through the bone rather than the middle ear - a process known as direct bone conduction. 

Bone conduction

Bone conduction testing uses a small bone-conduction vibrator which is placed on the mastoid bone behind the ear. Sound is transmitted through the bones of the skull to the inner ear, bypassing the outer and middle ear. A difference between air and bone conduction thresholds indicates a hearing loss caused by a problem with the outer or middle ear.

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Client

A client is a person who is eligible for the Hearing Services Program either as a voucher holder, or eligible for the Community Service Obligations component.

Client Rights and Responsibilities

The rights and responsibilities of a client under the Hearing Services Program.

Clinical Hearing Services

Services which include a hearing assessment, device fitting and evaluation, training and advice.

Cochlear implant

A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted device which enables a person to experience sounds by sending electrical signals to the nerve endings in the inner ear (the cochlear).

Community Development Programme (CDP)

On 1 July 2015 the Community Development Programme (CDP) commenced.  The CDP is an Australian Government funded initiative to improve employment options for remote job-seekers.  For further information on the CDP, visit the Department of Employment’s website.

The CDP was formerly known as the Remote Jobs and Communities Program (RJCP). The RJCP was formerly known as the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) program.

Community Service Obligations (CSO)

The CSO enable Australian Hearing to provide specialist hearing services to people who are an Australian citizen or permanent resident and are

  • younger than 26 years
  • an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander who is over 50 years
  • an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participant in the Remote Jobs and Communities Program (now known as the Community Development Programme)
  • an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participant in the Community Development Employment Projects Program, who received hearing services before 30 June 2013
  • a client who meets voucher program eligibility and has a profound hearing loss or hearing loss and severe communication impairment or
  • a client who meets voucher program eligibility and lives in a listed remote area of Australia.

Australian Hearing is the sole provider of CSO services. This information is general advice only.

Complaint

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction with any aspect of the Hearing Services Program. Please refer to the OHS Complaints Policy.

Complainant

A complainant is any person, whether a client, services provider, or a member of the public, who makes a complaint.

Complex client (Specialist Hearing Services)

A complex client is a client who has severe to profound bilateral hearing loss or whose communication is limited due to significant physical, intellectual, mental, emotional or social disability. Complex clients are entitled to receive specialist hearing services through Community Service Obligations.

Confidential information

Confidential information means facts or knowledge that are not publicly available, by its nature confidential, or designated by the Commonwealth as confidential.

Contracted Service Provider (CSP)

A hearing services provider who has been accredited and contracted with the program to provide services to clients of the voucher program.

Contracted Service Provider Notice (CSPN)

E-mail and web-based information provided to hearing services providers containing announcements and updates relating to the Hearing Services Program. (Previously known as 'SPAs') 

CROS aid

CROS aids are hearing aids where one aid contains a microphone, and the other the amplifier and receiver. CROS aids can be used by people who have one good hearing ear and one ear where the loss is so great that a hearing aid will provide no benefit. Essentially, a CROS aid is a hearing device with a microphone on one side carrying sound from that side of the head to the other side.

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Date of Services

In relation to any particular aspect of the services means that date as defined in the Schedule of Service Items.

Deaf (and hearing impaired)

A person who cannot hear. When referring to a Deaf person - it is accepted in the community that we use 'Deaf' and if referring to deaf people in general - we use 'deaf'. For additional information on this topic, see National Association for the Deaf website.

Department of Health (the department)

The department is the Commonwealth department responsible for the Australian Government’s priorities for health. The  of Hearing Services operates within the department.

Dependant

To be eligible as a dependant under the Hearing Services Program a person must be

  1. 21 years of age or above and the spouse or de facto spouse of an eligible person or
  2. a person who
    1. is between the age of 21 and 24 inclusive (under 25)
    2. receiving full time education at a school, college or university
    3. not receiving a disability support pension and 
    4. wholly or substantially dependent on the eligible person or the spouse or de facto spouse of an eligible person.

Device

Hearing devices that are listed in the Schedule of Approved Devices for the program. Also known as an approved device.

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Eclaim

An on-line claim for services lodged by a hearing services provider, via their computerised accounting system to Medicare Australia

Eligible person

You are eligible for the voucher component of the Hearing Services Program (the program) if you are Australian citizen or permanent resident 21 years and older you are

  • a Pensioner Concession Card holder
  • receiving Sickness Allowance from Centrelink
  • the holder of a Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Gold Card issued for all conditions
  • the holder of a DVA White Card issued for conditions that including hearing loss
  • a dependent of a person in one of the above categories
  • a member of the Australian Defence Force or
  • part of the Australian Government funded Disability Employment
    Services (DES) -Disability Management Service and you are referred by your Disability Employment Services case manager.

In addition, National Disability Insurance Scheme participants may access hearing services through the program if referred for services by their National Disability Insurance Agency Planner.

This information is general advice only. See also Community Service Obligations (CSO) for information on eligibility for the CSO component of the program.

Eligibility criteria for refitting

Eligibility criteria that must be met in order for a client to be refitted with a new hearing device. 

Entity

Entity means an individual, or a body corporate, or a partnership, or an authority of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory, or a Department of the Government of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory.

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Fully subsidised device schedule

All fully subsidised hearing devices are listed in the Main Schedule of Approved Devices. 

Fully subsidised device

Fully subsidised devices approved by the Hearing Services Program, available to eligible clients.

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Hearing Aid Audiometrist Society of Australia (HAASA)

Audiometrists are represented professionally by the HAASA. HAASA is a Practitioner Professional Body under the Hearing Services Program.

Hearing Care Industry Association (HCIA)

The HCIA provides input to the  of Hearing Services on policy and administrative matters that impact upon its corporate membership and the hearing industry.

Hearing device

Goods for purposes in connection with hearing rehabilitation, including the earmould and any other attachments necessary for the operation of the device. Also known as an approved hearing device.

Hearing loss

There are three types of hearing loss

  • conductive hearing loss (when sounds are blocked from reaching the hearing nerve)
  • sensorineural hearing loss (when sounds can reach the hearing nerve but are not sent to the brain) and
  • mixed hearing loss (a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss).

Hearing Loss Prevention Program (HLPP)

The HLPP funds research that contributes to the development of improved policies and service delivery and/or enables the Department of Health to better identify the needs of the community in relation to hearing loss.

Hearing Aid Manufacturers and Distributors of Association of Australia (HAMAADA)

The HAMAADA was established to promote the advancement of research into and development of hearing technology. Its members represent the majority of hearing aid manufacturers and distributors in Australia and are suppliers of world‐class hearing aids and/or assistive listening devices to hearing‐care providers. Members are also contracted suppliers to the Hearing Service Program. HAMADAA member companies are among the world’s major investors in hearing‐aid research and development, improving the quality of life for the hearing‐impaired globally.

Hearing practitioner (practitioner)

A hearing practitioner is a person who has been engaged by a contracted service provider to provide hearing services to clients of the Hearing Services Program. A hearing practitioner may be an audiologist or audiometrist.

Hearing Rehabilitation Outcomes (HRO)

The HRO document the results intended to be achieved by practitioners in providing services to clients.

Hearing services

Hearing services may include assessment of hearing loss and hearing rehabilitation.

Hearing Services Online (HSO or the portal)

The online portal and website developed by the  to support the administration of the voucher component of the Australian Government Hearing Services Program. The online portal is based in the web environment and improves access to the program for clients and providers. Clients can use the portal to confirm eligibility for the program, submit an application for a hearing services voucher, and view the hearing services provider directory in a searchable map.

Hearing Services Program (the program)

The program is managed by the  of Hearing Services, in the Department of Health. The program provides access to hearing services to eligible people. 

Hearing services provider (provider)

A contracted services provider who has been accredited and contracted with the  of Hearing Services to provide services to clients of the Hearing Services Program.

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In the canal device (ITC)

A hearing device that sits inside the ear canal. 

In the ear device (ITE)

A hearing device that sits inside the ear. 

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Letter of Authority

Letter of Authority means an authorisation issued by the  advising that a person is eligible for the provision of services under the voucher system (including an authorisation issued by the  in writing electronically or orally).

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Main Schedule of Approved Devices

The Main Schedule for Approved Devices lists all approved hearing devices under the Hearing Services Program.

Maintenance service

Maintenance services for a hearing device includes supply of batteries, servicing and repairs. Includes any of the following services

  1. servicing a hearing device to ensure it operates effectively
  2. giving advice to a client about the use or servicing of a hearing device
  3. providing and replacing hearing device batteries.

Manual claim

A manual claim is a paper or online claim for services lodged by a contracted service provider. Manual claims are processed by the  of Hearing Services.

Medical practitioner (MP)

A medical practitioner is a person who, under the law of a State or Territory, is a legally qualified medical practitioner.

Minimum Hearing Loss Threshold (MHLT)

The MHLT for fitting a hearing device to a client under the Hearing Services Program is a 3 Frequency Average Hearing Loss of more than 23dB. 

Monaural fitting

A monaural fitting is when a hearing device is fitted in one ear only.

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National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

The NDIS funds individualised support for eligible people with disability.

Nominee

A person or organisation named to act on behalf of someone else.

Non-Routine Client

A client found to have one or more of the following audiometric presentations.

  1. An air bone gap of 20dB or greater at 500Hz, 1kHz or 2kHz.
  2. Speech discrimination poorer than expected given HTLs.
  3. Evidence of fluctuation in audiometric thresholds.

New voucher

A new voucher is issued to clients who have been found eligible for the Hearing Services Program (the program) who have not previously received services under the program.

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 of Hearing Services (the )

The  within the Department of Health administers the Hearing Services Program. 

 of Hearing Services Claims Application (OHSCA)

The OHSCA is the Claims Acceptance Payment System developed by Medicare.

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Partially subsidised device

Partially subsidised devices approved by the Hearing Services Program. Partially subsidised devices have additional features.

Partially subsidised device schedule

A list of all partially subsidised devices currently available through the Hearing Services Program.

Permanent site

A permanent site is a location or facility operated by a Hearing Services Provider where hearing services are provided on an ongoing basis.

Practitioner Professional Body (PPB)

A PPB is an Australian body which meets all of the following criteria

  1. the body is formally constituted for the purpose of representing the interests of the professions of audiology or audiometry or both and
  2. membership of the body is based on appropriate industry recognised professional qualifications for audiometrists or audiologist or both and
  3. the body supervises and enforces a code of ethics for the professions of audiology or audiometry or both and
  4. the body requires members to continue their professional development.

Program

The Australian Government Hearing Services Program, also referred to as the Hearing Services Program.

Provisional audiologist

A provisional audiologist is a person who is in an approved membership category of a Practitioner Professional Body for provisional audiologists.

Provisional audiologists must be supervised by a Qualified Practitioner when providing hearing services to eligible clients. 

Provisional audiometrist

A provisional audiometrist is a person who is in an approved membership category of a Practitioner Professional Body for provisional audiometrists.

Provisional audiometrists must be supervised by a Qualified Practitioner when providing hearing services to eligible clients.

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Qualified practitioner (QP)

A QP means a qualified Hearing Services Practitioner (audiologist or audiometrist).

Qualified practitioner (audiologist)

A qualified practitioner (Audiologist) is a person who is in an approved membership category of a Practitioner Professional Body for qualified practitioners (audiologist).

Qualified practitioner (audiometrist)

A qualified practitioner (audiometrist) is a person who is in an approved membership category of a Practitioner Professional Body for qualified practitioners (audiometrist). 

Qualified Practitioner Number (QP number)

A QP number is the unique number allocated to a qualified practitioner by the Minister for Health under rule 25 of the Rules of Conduct of the Australian Government Hearing Services Program.

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Residential Aged Care Facility (RACF)

A RACF is a special-purpose facility which provides accommodation and other types of support, including assistance with day-to-day living, intensive forms of care, and assistance towards independent living, to frail and aged residents. RACFs are accredited by the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency Ltd.

Records

Records are any information, data or documents about clients maintained by a hearing services provider.

Recovery

The  of Hearing Services may seek a recovery of money for services if a hearing services provider has made a claim for a service which did not meet the requirements of the Hearing Services Program.

Rehabilitation Plus (Rehab Plus)

The Rehab Plus service offered under the Hearing Services Program provides clients with additional support in managing their hearing loss through group sessions and individual appointments. Rehab Plus Group Services means support and assistance provided in a group setting to clients who have been fitted for the first time with a fully subsidised hearing device under the voucher system to maximise their communication abilities and to better manage their hearing loss.

Relocation

A relocation is when a client moves from one hearing services provider to another within the Hearing Services Program.

Replacement (device)

The fitting of a new hearing device when an existing device has been lost or damaged beyond repair, or become obsolete.

Return voucher

Voucher issued to a client who has previously received services under the Hearing Services Program. 

Rules of Conduct (ROC, the Rules)

The Hearing Services ROC 2012 outlines the requirements and standards that hearing service providers must adhere to when providing services to eligible voucher-holders under the Hearing Services Program.

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Schedule of Fees

The Schedule of Fees lists the fee paid by the  of Hearing Services to Hearing Services Providers for each service item and hearing device category.

Schedule of Service Items

The Schedule of Service Items lists each service item with a description and conditions for claiming.

Screening test

A partial hearing test to determine if a person may require further audiological assessment.

Self Assessment Tool (SAT)

Hearing Services Providers are required to complete and submit an annual SAT. The SAT assists Hearing Services Providers to check if they have systems in place to meet the requirements of the Hearing Services Program.

Service Provider Contract (SPC, the Contract)

The Contract sets out the terms and conditions under which a Hearing Services Provider must operate under the Hearing Services Program.

Service Provider Number

Contracted Service Providers, who are accredited with the Hearing Services Program are issued an individual identification number at the start of their contract.

Suspension

A suspension is when the  of Hearing Services (the ) directs a Hearing Services Provider to stop providing all, or a specified part of services to clients. This may occur if the  is satisfied that there has been a serious breach of the Service Provider Contract. 

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Termination

If a hearing services provider contract is terminated, the hearing services provider is no longer authorised to provide services under the Hearing Services Program. 

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Voucher

An authority (in paper or electronic form) issued by the  to eligible clients of the Hearing Services Program enabling them to have their hearing tested and devices reviewed. Vouchers are current for a period of three years. See also return voucher.

Voucher details

Voucher details include

  1. the date of issue
  2. the service or services for which the voucher has been issued
  3. the date by which the voucher must be first presented to a Hearing Services Provider for a hearing assessment
  4. the name of the voucher-holder and
  5. any other relevant matters.

Voucher Program

When referencing the voucher component of the Hearing Services Program.

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Wishes and Needs Tool (WANT) 

The Wishes and Needs Tool is a legislated client self report instrument for evaluating a client's attitude and motivation level for the fitting of a hearing device.

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Young adults

In the context of the Hearing Services Program (the program), young adults are those under 26 years of age who are eligible for hearing services through the Community Service Obligations component of the program.

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