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

What to expect when receiving hearing services

The Australian Government Hearing Services Program (the program) is designed to provide a comprehensive range of hearing services free of charge to eligible clients. The services you receive will be tailored to meet your own hearing and communication goals, from a hearing services provider of your choice.

Before you apply for the program

Discuss your hearing concerns with your doctor to ensure your hearing is not affected by a treatable medical condition. Please note that you will need a medical certificate from your doctor stating whether there are any risks to fitting you with a hearing device before you can receive services under the program.

If you wish to receive hearing services through the program, you can apply for the program online. Alternatively, you can find a service provider in your local area and ask them to apply for the program on your behalf.

Before your initial appointment

  • Contact a hearing service provider to arrange an appointment.
  • Ask your provider to arrange for assistance such as an interpreter (if required).
  • Ask someone to attend the appointment with you as two heads are often better than one. The experiences of those closest to you in relation to your hearing loss may be important.
  • Prepare a summary of your hearing concerns and any questions.

During your initial appointment

At your initial appointment your practitioner will ask you a series of questions related to your ear health and lifestyle, including the situations when hearing is difficult for you or frustrating for those close to you.

Your service provider may perform several tests to determine the level of your hearing and if you would benefit from a hearing device. It is important that you understand your results and how it affects your communication in your day to day life.

If the results of your assessment indicate a hearing device would assist you, your service provider will help you select an appropriate device model from a range of fully subsidised quality hearing devices made by leading manufacturers, including

  • Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids
  • In-the-Ear (ITE) hearing aids
  • In-the-Canal (ITC) hearing aids
  • Complete-in-the-Canal (CIC) hearing aids, or
  • An Assistive Listening Devices(ALD).

Please ensure you understand the difference between fully subsidised and partially subsidised hearing devices. If you agree to be fitted with devices through the program, some service providers may fit you with a hearing device at your initial appointment.

You should be given time to ask questions regarding specific services and devices, such as

  • What services can I expect to receive under the program?
  • Will I have any out-of-pocket costs under the program?
  • Do I really need a hearing device?
  • What are the alternatives?
  • Do you receive commissions or have preferred supplier arrangements for certain hearing devices?
  • Why will the partially subsidised hearing devices suit my needs better than a fully subsidised one?
  • Can I trial the fully subsidised device?
  • Can I trial the partially subsidised device before committing to buy it?
  • What happens if the hearing device doesn’t assist as much as I expected?
  • What is the manufacturer’s warranty period for the hearing device?
  • Will I receive detailed information about ongoing maintenance for my hearing device and how much will that cost after the warranty period?

At the end of your consultation

Before leaving the appointment you should clarify anything you do not understand and ask for copies of any test results, details of any devices recommended and other recommended ongoing management. You should be given a written quote for partially subsidised devices if these are recommended. This should be signed and returned to your provider only if and when you decide to proceed with the purchase. Ensure that you keep a copy of the quote for your records.

If you need services and supports that are not available under the program, you should expect to receive advice on how to access these and what it will cost you.

After your initial appointment

You should make a follow-up appointment to ask further questions. Alternatively, you may wish to seek a second opinion from another hearing service provider using any written advice, test results or quotes you have received.

If you proceed with a device fitting, you may be asked to attend two more appointments. One appointment will allow your practitioner to program your hearing aid(s) and to show you how to use your hearing aid(s) or ALD. The second appointment gives you the opportunity to ask questions and to have the device settings adjusted if necessary. You may also be asked to enter into a maintenance agreement where you will be required to pay an annual fee to your service provider. You should speak with your service provider to discuss the fees associated with your maintenance agreement.

Ask your provider about when your next appointment will be, for example, you may be eligible to receive an annual review or an assessment in 3 years.

If you are not satisfied with the service and supports you are receiving from your hearing service provider, please contact us by email to hearing@health.gov.au, or call 1800 500 726 or (National Relay Service 1800 555 660).

 

Types of hearing devices

Maintenance Agreement

Types of hearing devices (PDF 91 KB)

Fully or partially subsidised hearing devices (PDF 71 KB)

What to expect when receiving hearing services (PDF 73 KB)

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