COST AND FUNDING

Funding Options

Individuals may be eligible for funding towards hearing aids through the ACC scheme if their hearing loss is the result of prolonged occupational noise exposure or a sudden trauma that has damaged hearing. Funding is available if occupational noise exposure occurred before the introduction of the ACC scheme in 1972. However, funding is not typically available if a sudden trauma occurred prior to 1972 that caused hearing loss.

Assessment for ACC eligibility begins with a hearing test. Noise exposure produces a pattern of hearing loss that a qualified Audiologist is trained to identify. The Audiologist will then recommend to the patient that an ACC claim be initiated. An ACC claim must be lodged through a General Practitioner or other Registered Medical Specialist. After lodging a claim, a patient must be examined by an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) surgeon, who is the only person able to make a specific diagnosis of noise-induced hearing loss.

If an ACC claim is approved, some funding is provided towards the cost of appropriately fitted hearing aids is met by the ACC scheme. Lump sum compensation payments are not available. If an individual believes they may have a hearing loss associated with noise exposure they are encouraged to act now, even if they do not feel they need a hearing aid. If left too late (after retirement, for example) then it may be difficult to prove that the hearing loss was caused by noise exposure alone, rather than a natural deterioration over time with age.

Visit the ACC Website for additional information on the ACC claims process.

The Ministry of Health provide funding of the wholesale cost of hearing aids for adults aged 16 years or over with complex needs (for example hearing aid users since childhood, people with dual or multiple disabilities, sudden and severe hearing loss) and those adults with a community services card and who meet certain criteria (for example people studying, working or primary caregivers). Consult with your audiologist for details of the eligibility criteria and to determine consultation costs. Currently this scheme is being administered by ENABLE New Zealand. You can visit the Enable website for more information.

All adult patients who purchase a hearing aid and do not receive funding through the ACC, Environment Support Services or War Pensions may be eligible for a Hearing Aid Subsidy. The subsidy is currently set at $511.11 per hearing aid and is available to individuals every 6 years.

Individuals exposed to noise through high-powered rifle or artillery fire and who served in the armed services may be eligible for funding of a hearing aid or aids. Eligibility depends on a number of factors, including whether the person receives a War Pension, and the degree of any assessed disability. Patients who believe they may be eligible for a hearing aid through the War Pension system can discuss this with their MNZAS Audiologist or Work and Income New Zealand (who are responsible for the administration of Veteran Affairs). If approved patients are referred to an MNZAS Audiologist for assessment and fitting of hearing aids.

Visit the Work and Income New Zealand website for further information about eligibility for financial assistance.

Anyone who receives a benefit from Work and Income NZ can apply for a loan of up to $1000 to help with the purchase of hearing aids. The loan is deducted gradually from future benefit payments.

Some finance companies may also provide funding for Hearing Aids.

For those who cannot afford a new hearing aid, we may from time to time have available donated second hand hearing aids that can be loaned to patients on a temporary and sometimes permanent basis.

Designed to assist Kaumaatua to ensure they can keep up with their medical health needs. The Kaumaatua Medical Health Grant is available to registered tribal members aged 60 years and over to provide relief and support in meeting aged-related medical costs. See the link below:

www.waikatotainui.com/financial-support/kaumaatua-grant/

For people in extreme financial difficulty who cannot obtain assistance from any other government agencies, the NZ Audiological Society may be able to help. The NZAS Hearing Aid Fund has a limited amount of money available to help those in severe need. If you feel you meet these criteria and need help to buy a hearing aid contact your NZAS audiologist for further information.

Since established, the Foundation has provided funding for many senior orientated projects. The current focus is on providing grants to help fund hearing aids for seniors on low incomes throughout New Zealand.

Inadequate hearing can have a marked impact on an elderly person’s well-being. It can lead to them being marginalised as a result of experiencing poor communication, isolation, depression and other health problems. Adequate hearing enables the elderly to communicate effectively with the outside world. We find that many pensioners have difficulty finding sufficient funds to purchase hearing aids.

www.vinnies-wellington.org.nz/vincentian-foundation

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