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.