If your child is Deaf or has hearing loss, the Ministry of Health may be able to help. Equipment like hearing aids can help your child to live safely and communicate with others.
Hearing services are usually available free of charge for your child until they leave school.
Hearing aids for children and young people
Hearing aids for pre-schoolers and children at school, or up to 21 years of age if they are in full-time education, are funded by the Ministry of Health. Most children’s hearing aids are fitted through the public hospital system. Some private audiology clinics also fit them, but you may need to pay for this service.
Batteries, maintenance and repairs of hearing aids for children are provided free of charge by the Deaf Education Centres. Families in the area south of approximately New Plymouth, Taupo and the East Coast, and including the South Island, should contact van Asch Deaf Education Centre, while families in areas north of Taupo should contact the Kelston Deaf Education Centre.
For children with hearing aids, a personal FM system may be helpful. This is a device that transmits sound to a child through a receiver attached to a hearing aid, and is often used to help hearing-impaired children hear the teacher in a classroom.
The Ministry of Education may be able to fund a personal FM system for school-age children. The Ministry of Health may also fund personal FM systems for pre-schoolers.
How can children and young people get hearing aids?
If you want to get some funding assistance from the Ministry of Health towards the cost of hearing aid/s for children and young people, they must have their assessment and recommendation for the hearing aid/s undertaken by an audiologist who is a member of the New Zealand Audiological Society. They can have their assessment with an audiologist working at a District Health Board or in private practice. If they visit a private audiologist, you will have to pay for this assessment and any fitting costs.
The audiologist completes an assessment of the child’s needs, and may recommend hearing aid(s) and/or other hearing or alerting equipment. If the child needs hearing aids, the audiologist can make an application to Enable New Zealand for funding assistance.
Replacement hearing aids
Funding for hearing aids for children under 16 years (or young people up to 21 years if they are in full-time study) is available no more than three times in a six-year period.
Replacement hearing aids are only available when the child’s current hearing aid/s can no longer be repaired or modified to meet their changed needs and a replacement is the only viable option.
What does Enable New Zealand do?
Enable New Zealand receives applications for hearing devices from audiologists, and checks these to ensure the audiologist has considered the different options available. This is so any equipment the child receives is suitable and the best for them.
The Ministry of Health provides funding for a cochlear implant for eligible children who have a severe hearing loss and hearing aids are unable to help them.
See the Cochlear implants page for more information.
Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand
Promotes Deaf awareness and the use of sign language. They provide a range of services and can help your child get the equipment they need.
Kelston Deaf Education Centre
A day and residential school for Deaf and hearing-impaired children and their families throughout the upper North Island.
van Asch Deaf Education Centre
A day and residential school which provides a range of education services to Deaf children and their families throughout the whole of the South island and the lower part of the North Island.