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

Veteran Specific Information - Hearing Services

This document contains information for eligible Department of Veteran's Affairs' clients regarding hearing services.

Purpose

This document provides information on hearing services for the veteran community.

Hearing Loss

Unlike eyesight, which can often be corrected by glasses, hearing loss can be ‘assisted’ by advice and support and/or a hearing device (hearing aid) however the damage to your hearing will remain.

Your hearing services provider will shape your individual plan based on the results of a hearing assessment to help you better manage your hearing loss. This plan negotiated with you, incorporates appropriate advice and counselling. Such plans also include the selection and fitting of suitable hearing devices if you need one. 

Eligible members of the veteran community can get help to better manage their hearing loss through the following programs

  1. Australian Government Hearing Services Program
  2. DVA Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP)
  3. DVA Tinnitus Program
  4. Other initiatives

Australian Government Hearing Services Program

The Australian Government Hearing Services Program (the program) provides eligible people with access to hearing services, including hearing assessments, management, advice and support, and the fitting of a hearing device where needed. The program is managed by the Office of Hearing Services (the Office) in the Department of Health.

Are veterans eligible?

You are eligible for the program if you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident 21 years or older and a Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) client if you are

  • the holder of a DVA Gold Card issued for all conditions
  • the holder of a DVA White Card issued for specific conditions that include hearing loss
  • the holder of a DVA Pensioner Concession Card or
  • dependent or spouse of one of the above categories

Key points of the program

  • If you need a hearing device you will be offered a fully subsidised hearing device to assist you with your hearing loss.
  • Participating in a maintenance agreement can be a cost effective way to take care of your hearing device (For further information refer to Maintenance and batteries below). 
  • If you hold a Gold or White (hearing specific) DVA card and have chosen a fully subsidised hearing device, you do not have to pay the annual maintenance agreement fee. 
  • You can also choose to purchase a partially subsidised hearing device.  These partially subsidised hearing devices have additional non-essential features. For further information refer to partially subsidised hearing devices below.
  • Neither DVA nor the Office will reimburse you the additional cost in purchasing a partially subsidised hearing device or the extra cost of your maintenance agreement.
  • Partially subsidised hearing devices, due to their additional features, are only partially subsidised by the program and if you choose a partially subsidised hearing devices, you will be required to pay the additional cost.
  • Discuss trial period options with your hearing services provider when purchasing a partially subsidised hearing device.
  • You are under no obligation to purchase a partially subsidised hearing device.
  • If you are experiencing difficulties with your hearing device, please discuss your concerns with your hearing services provider.

Hearing services provided through the program include

  • your choice of hearing services provider
  • a comprehensive hearing assessment
  • ongoing advice and support
  • if needed, the fitting of a hearing device; and
  • a contribution to maintenance and repairs

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How do I access hearing services?

If you meet the eligibility criteria you can apply by selecting Apply Now on the For Everyone tab on the Office website.

If you would prefer not to apply online you can

  • visit your chosen hearing services provider who can apply online on your behalf, or
  • complete the New Client Application Form that is available for printing on the Forms area on the Office website (Paper applications can take up to four weeks to process)

When applying for the first time you will need to obtain a medical certificate from your medical practitioner. Your medical practitioner will need to confirm that you can be fitted for a hearing device if you need one.  Take the medical certificate to your chosen hearing services provider who can complete the application process on your behalf.

How do I find a hearing services provider?

To find a hearing services provider in your area

  1. visit the Office website
  2. select Locate a Provider
  3. search for a provider at a location of your choice

Services are provided by over 270 hearing services providers at over 3000 sites across Australia.

What if I need a hearing device?

If your hearing services provider identifies you would benefit from a hearing device you will be offered a fully subsidised hearing device, as well as any support required for you to operate the hearing device.  There is a range of high quality digital devices including both in-the-ear and behind-the-ear hearing devices, and alternative listening devices (ALDs). Eligible DVA clients may be fitted with a hearing aid and an ALD if both are required.  ALDs for DVA clients are provided through the DVA Rehabilitation Appliance Program and your hearing provider can assist with this.

You may be presented with different hearing device options including the option to purchase a partially subsidised hearing device.  Partially subsidised hearing devices will incur a cost to you.  You are under no obligation to take the partially subsidised option.

Partially subsidised hearing devices

The program allows for partially subsidised hearing devices that have additional features that are considered extra to those necessary to manage your hearing loss. Your hearing services provider may offer you the option of purchasing a partially subsidised hearing device and this is a matter of negotiation between you and your hearing services provider.

This additional cost could be substantial and will vary depending on the hearing device you have chosen. Neither DVA nor the Office will reimburse you the additional cost of this partially subsidised hearing device.

If you choose a partially subsidised hearing device you will be responsible for any additional costs for its on going maintenance and battery supply.  You should discuss any additional costs with your hearing services provider.

You are under no obligation to your hearing services provider to take the partially subsidised option.  If you choose a partially subsidised hearing device you may wish to obtain quotes from different hearing services providers.

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Trial period

You may be offered a trial period for partially subsidised hearing devices only. This ranges from two weeks to two months and should be discussed with your hearing services provider.  If at the end of the trial period you choose not to proceed with the purchase of the partially subsidised hearing device there may be a small service fee charged.

If you are unhappy with the performance or fitting of your hearing device please notify your hearing services provider immediately.

Maintenance and batteries

Maintaining your hearing device and buying batteries can be costly.  Maintenance agreements are an optional agreement between you and your hearing services provider where, for a small annual fee, your hearing services provider will supply batteries, service and repair your hearing device for 12 months.

If you hold a Gold or White (hearing specific) DVA card and have chosen a fully subsidised hearing device, you do not have to pay the annual maintenance agreement fee.  These charges are fully subsidised by DVA. To confirm your decision to take out or extend your annual maintenance agreement your hearing services provider will require you to sign an invoice to enable payment by DVA.

Please note DVA does not pay the annual maintenance fee for hearing devices provided to

  • DVA Pensioner Concession Card holders
  • spouses (any card)
  • dependents (any card)

For further information about hearing services offered by the Office of Hearing Services, please

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DVA Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP)

Eligible DVA clients can access Alternative Listening Devices (ALD’s) via the DVA Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP).

An ALD is one which is designed to help the user hear better in a specific situation (e.g. a headset for the television, or a personal amplifier for people who cannot manage hearing devices or do not wish to wear them).  They may be used in conjunction with hearing devices or as an alternative to them.

RAP is administered by DVA for eligible members of the veteran community. Provision of ALD’s under RAP is subject to DVA eligibility and individual hearing loss.

To access ALD’s under RAP, your hearing services provider can contact the RAP team on
1300 550 457 (Metro) or 1800 550 457 (regional). 

DVA Tinnitus Program

Tinnitus is a noise noticeable in the head or ears in absence of an external source. Many people notice tinnitus but for some it can be annoying and for a few it can be very disturbing.

Most current independent tinnitus research indicates wearing hearing devices can help manage tinnitus. The effectiveness of well fitted digital hearing devices is on par with hearing devices designed especially for tinnitus.

For eligible veterans with mild tinnitus and hearing loss DVA recommends fitting with a fully subsidised hearing device to help them manage their tinnitus and hearing loss.

For disturbing tinnitus or tinnitus that remains troublesome post hearing device fitting DVA recommends that your hearing services provider write to your medical practitioner suggesting referral to an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist. After a complete investigation the ENT can present recommendations to DVA regarding a program of tinnitus therapy.

Such programs involve a good deal of counselling and commitment to working with a therapist over several appointments. These arrangements are only for eligible veterans through DVA and are not part of the broader program run by the Office of Hearing Services. 

Other Initiatives

If you are not eligible for these programs you may be able to obtain help through your state or territory government or through hearing aid banks. Further information is available on the Office website.

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Disclaimer

The information contained in this document is general in nature and does not take into account individual circumstances. You should not make important decisions, such as those that affect your financial or lifestyle position, on the basis of information contained in this document. Where you are required to lodge a written claim for a benefit, you must take full responsibility for your decisions prior to the written claim being determined. You should seek confirmation in writing of any oral advice you receive from DVA.

Other Relevant Information

More Information

DVA General Enquiries

Metro Phone 133 254*

Regional Phone 1800 555 254*

Email GeneralEnquiries@dva.gov.au

Website www.dva.gov.au

* Calls from mobile phones and pay phones may incur additional charges

Using the National Relay Service (NRS) to contact DVA General Enquiries

(If you have a hearing or speech impairment, please contact DVA through the NRS using the below numbers)

Metro TTY users phone  133 677, then ask for 133 254

Metro Speak and Listen users phone 1300 555 727, then ask for 133 254

Metro Internet relay users connect to the NRS, then ask for 133 254

Regional TTY users phone 1800 555 677, then ask for 1800 555 254

Regional Speak and Listen users phone 1800 555 727, then ask for 1800 555 254

Regional Internet relay users connect to the NRS, then ask for 1800 555 254

NRS Helpdesk Email  helpdesk@relayservice.com.au

NRS Website www.relayservice.gov.au

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