lady with hearing aid

The Australian Government Hearing Services Program

The Australian Government established the Hearing Services Program in 1997 to help counteract the impact of avoidable hearing loss among both pensioners and veterans of the Australian defence force.

The program, managed by the Office of Hearing Services, provides eligible people with:

  • Free hearing tests performed by qualified audiology providers such as Bay Audio
  • Fully or partially subsidised hearing aids and assistive listening devices
  • Ongoing care, support and advice on hearing loss

Bay Audio is proud to be an accredited provider of the government-subsidised hearing services and devices listed above, including fully subsidised hearing aids, under the terms of the Australian Government Hearing Services Program.

The rising need for hearing aids for pensioners and veterans

From missing some of the words in a conversation to not noticing the ringing of a telephone, some degree of hearing loss is a relatively common part of the ageing process.

However, ensuring that Australians of advanced years remain able to communicate with others is essential to keeping them feeling connected to their communities.

Research has shown that older people living with hearing loss are more likely to become depressed, often withdrawing from others because communicating has become such a frustrating, embarrassing and isolating experience. As a result, they may appear to be more confused, unresponsive or uncooperative than they once were, with the reasons for these changes assumed to be psychological or neurological, rather than due to hearing loss – a condition much simpler to address and remedy.

Thankfully, the Department of Health’s Hearing Services Program is able to reduce the occurrence and impact of avoidable hearing loss by making it financially easier for eligible participants to get quality hearing aid technology, services and devices.

What is covered by the Hearing Services Program?

Fully subsidised hearing aids for pensioners and veterans

If your free hearing test confirms that you would benefit from a hearing aid, you will be able to choose from a wide range of fully-subsidised hearing devices. These hearing aids would be provided at no cost to you as part of the government-funded service and would offer a range of features to help reduce the impact of your hearing loss.

Assistive listening devices (ALDs)

There are also a number of fully subsidised ALDs available for people who don’t want to wear hearing aids. These include devices to help you hear a television, radio or telephone better, or to hear one-on-one conversations more clearly. We can help you work out if an ALD is the right option for you during your hearing test.

Partially subsidised hearing aids

If there’s a particular hearing aid you’d prefer because it has special features or lifestyle benefits the fully subsidised devices don’t, you have the option to purchase it partially subsidised. In this case, the Hearing Services Program would contribute the amount equivalent to a fully subsidised hearing aid, and you would then pay the additional amount (i.e. the “gap”) so you can get the device of your choice.

Annual maintenance agreement (including batteries and device repairs)

The servicing, repairs and supply of hearing aid batteries for your fully subsidised hearing devices will be covered by the Hearing Services Program.

However, please be aware that a partially subsidised device may attract an annual maintenance fee for servicing, repairs and batteries.

How do I know if I am eligible for the Hearing Services Program?

Generally, you’re eligible if you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident and you are:

  • A Pensioner Concession Card holder
  • A Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card holder
  • A Department of Veterans’ Affairs White Card holder (hearing-specific conditions)
  • A dependent of a person in one of the above categories
  • A member of the Australian Defence Force
  • Referred by the Disability Employment Services (Disability Management Services) Program

This information is general advice only so please get in touch so we can discuss your specific circumstances. You can also check your eligibility on the Hearing Services Program website.

Frequently asked questions

Are there free hearing tests for pensioners?

Bay Audio is accredited by the Office of Hearing Services to provide free hearing tests to eligible people to evaluate the type of hearing loss they’re suffering from and their degree of communication disability. Please note that conditions apply under the Australian Government Hearing Service Program. In the meantime, you can have a free hearing health check online with Bay Audio here.

Which hearing aids are free for pensioners?

If you meet the eligibility criteria listed above as determined by the Office of Hearing Services, you will have a choice of hearing aids that are either fully or partially subsidised by the Government program. Please note that conditions apply under the Australian Government Hearing Service Program. To see which of our current hearing aid range are fully subsidised (as well as partially subsidised), visit our product page here.

Your Hearing Technology Experts

If some of these symptoms ring true for you, you may be experiencing hearing loss. Thankfully, modern technology has created hearing aids that deliver truly amazing hearing improvements while remaining virtually undetectable.

Bay Audio are the hearing technology experts and can find the perfect hearing aid for you to ensure you can continue to enjoy life as normal. If you think you may be experiencing hearing loss, book a hearing test with one of our experts now.