Are you Deaf or do you have a hearing loss? If you need equipment to help you to live safely and communicate with others, the Ministry of Health may be able to help.
Who can get equipment?
If you are a New Zealand resident ordinarily living in New Zealand (for 6 months a year or more), and you have a permanent hearing loss which isn’t covered by ACC or Veterans Affairs, you may be able to get equipment through the Ministry of Health.
If you have both injury and non-injury related hearing loss, you may be able to get funding for hearing aids from both ACC and the Ministry of Health. This joint funding is administered by ACC.
You may be eligible for Ministry of Health funded hearing aid(s) if you have:
- had significant long-term hearing loss since childhood
- had onset of sudden and significant hearing loss during adulthood
- a dual disability (such as deaf/blind or hearing loss and an intellectual disability).
You may also be eligible for Ministry of Health funded hearing aid(s) if you have a community services card, and the hearing aids are essential for you to:
- work full-time (30 hours each week or more) or registered as seeking work
- study at tertiary level or do vocational training leading to future employment (aged over 21 years)
- do voluntary work (20 hours each week or more)
- safely look after a dependent person full time.
A member of the New Zealand Audiological Society (MNZAS) who is registered as an approved assessor will be able to tell you more about this funding, or go to the Guide to Getting Hearing Aids: Hearing Aid Funding Scheme.
Hearing aid subsidy
If you need a hearing aid, but do not have a community services card or are not in any of the above situations, you may be able to get help with the cost of the hearing aid through a subsidy. An approved assessor will be able to tell you more about this subsidy or go to the Guide to Getting Hearing Aids: Hearing Aid Subsidy Scheme.
How can I get hearing aids?
If you want to get some funding assistance from the Ministry of Health towards the cost of hearing aid(s), you must have your assessment and recommendation for the hearing aid(s) undertaken by an audiologist who is a full member of the New Zealand Audiological Society (NZAS) or an audiometrist who is a member of NZAS who is registered as an approved assessor. You can have your assessment with an approved assessor working at a District Health Board or in private practice. If you visit a private approved assessor, you will have to pay for this assessment and any fitting costs.
The approved assessor completes an assessment of your needs and may recommend hearing aid(s). If you need hearing aids for any of the reasons outlined above, the approved assessor can make an application to Enable New Zealand for funding assistance. You may need to pay towards the costs of the hearing aid(s) if you are receiving the hearing aid subsidy.
Replacement hearing aids and repeat subsidies
Funding for hearing aids for adults is not available more than once in a six-year period, except in exceptional circumstances. Such circumstances must be described in detail by the approved assessor when the application is made. Approval for replacement hearing aids within this timeframe will be based on the person’s individual circumstances, and the overall budget availability.
Repeat payments for the hearing aid subsidy can only be made once every six years.
Replacement hearing aids or hearing aid subsidies are only available when the person’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.
Repairs to hearing aids
The cost of non-warranty repairs carried out by hearing aid manufacturers for those hearing aids which have been funded by the Ministry of Health can be covered by the Ministry.
People who have received the hearing aid subsidy will be responsible for meeting the cost of repairs themselves.
What does Enable New Zealand do?
Enable New Zealand manages all applications for hearing aids, hearing devices and the hearing aid subsidy.
Enable New Zealand receives applications from assessors, and check these to ensure the assessor has considered the different support and hearing device options available. This is so any equipment you receive is suitable and the best for you.
Enable New Zealand can arrange repairs of funded hearing aids and devices for adults. See your approved assessor about repairs to, and the cost to repair, your subsidised hearing aids.
Assistive hearing and alerting equipment
If you need equipment other than hearing aids to enable you to work or study, or to help you live safely in your own home, you may be able to get help through the Ministry of Health.
Assistive hearing and alerting equipment include items such as baby monitors and visual or vibrating alerts (eg, smoke detectors or door bells). Standard amplified telephones and smoke alarms are not funded by the Ministry of Health.
Assessors for alerting equipment can be audiologists, hearing therapists or service coordinators from Deaf Aotearoa and the Blind Foundation (Deafblind services).
Some people may prefer to use a personal listening device rather than a hearing aid. These devices may be more suitable for people who have visual problems or have difficulty physically managing hearing aids. Audiologists and Hearing Therapists will be able to give you advice about personal listening systems.
The assessor completes an assessment of your needs and may recommend assistive hearing or alerting equipment. If you need such equipment for any of the reasons outlined above, the assessor can make an application to Accessable or Enable New Zealand for funding assistance.
Accessable (if you live in Auckland or Northland) and Enable New Zealand (if you live elsewhere in New Zealand) receive applications from assessors, and check these to ensure the assessor has considered the different support and equipment options available. This is so any equipment you receive is suitable and the best for you.
The Ministry funds a limited number of cochlear implants for adults through the Cochlear Implant Programme Centres in Auckland and Christchurch.
See the Cochlear implants page for more information.
For more information contact:
Enable New Zealand
For hearing aids, hearing devices, and assistive hearing and alerting equipment.
For assistive hearing and alerting equipment only.
ACC provides equipment for people whose hearing loss is due to injury.
Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand
Promotes Deaf awareness and the use of sign language. They provide a range of services and can help you get the equipment you need.
Free appointments with qualified hearing therapists who can assess your needs, provide information about hearing aids, help you get the equipment you need, teach you how to improve communication and assist you to manage the impact/s of hearing loss.
New Zealand Audiological Society
Audiologists are specialists at diagnosing hearing problems and treating hearing loss.
Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand
Veterans’ Affairs provides assistance for veterans who have suffered hearing loss as a result of service.