Our hearing typically declines as we age, which means that older people are more likely to require hearing aids. Whether a person’s hearing loss is sensorineural (such as age, sudden, and noise-related hearing loss) or conductive (such as ear infections, and other issues with the middle ear), hearing aids are an essential part of maintaining an active mind and a healthy social life. This often leads people to wonder: Which hearing aids are free for pensioners?

This article explores which hearing aids are free for pensioners and details of the Commonwealth Hearing Services Program (HSP). For personalised advice, contact our team at Melbourne Audiology Centre today.

Hearing Aids for Pensioners

Over the years, many people’s hearing diminishes, which is a condition called presbycusis. While this may happen at any age, it’s most common in people in their 60s and above. As such, many pensioners find that hearing aids may assist them in their daily lives.

Whether to enjoy a conversation with friends at a crowded restaurant or simply to hear the TV better on a quiet night, hearing aids aim to help people retain or improve their quality of life. As hearing loss left untreated has been shown to lead to dementia in some cases, it’s crucial to seek assistance from a professional audiologist to see if hearing aids may benefit you.

Which Hearing Aids Are Free for Pensioners?

With the rising cost of living, many people may need help accessing the healthcare they may require. However, unlike many other healthcare services, when it comes to hearing health, pensioners may be able to access free hearing aids through the Commonwealth Hearing Services Program (HSP).

The Commonwealth Hearing Services Program (HSP)

What is the HSP?

The HSP is a government-funded service designed to assist eligible Australians with hearing loss access high-quality hearing services and devices. This program includes device fitting and maintenance, hearing assessments, and more.

The HSP supported over 800,000 Australians in 2022-2023, with over 440,000 hearing devices fitted in that time. The program was also designed to assist people with hearing loss to remain involved in the community, with the aim of improving overall health outcomes.

HSP Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible, you must be:

  1. Aged 21 or older, and
  2. An Australian citizen or permanent resident or live on Norfolk Island.

You must also be:

  1. A pensioner concession card holder or the spouse of a pensioner concession card holder, or
  2. A Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) Gold Card holder or the spouse of a DVA Gold Card holder, or
  3. A DVA White Card holder with hearing-specific conditions or the spouse of a DVA White Card holder with hearing-specific conditions, or
  4. A member of the Australian Defense Force, such as having a permanent position in the Navy, Army, Air Force, or being in the reserves in continuous full-time service, or
  5. Receiving Centrelink Sickness Allowance, or
  6. Referred by a Disability Employment Service.

If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible, you can check online here.

What Are Eligible People Entitled To?

The HSP entitles recipients to:

  • Hearing assessments by qualified audiologists, such as our team at Melbourne Audiology Centre— to determine if a hearing device may be able to assist you
  • Hearing aid and other hearing device fitting— showing you how to use your device, adjusting your device to ensure it’s comfortable and working well, helping you to get used to your hearing device
  • Follow-up appointments— ensuring your device is meeting your daily needs, checking to see if you’re satisfied, providing you opportunities to ask any more questions
  • Device maintenance— cleaning your device, replacing parts such as the tubes and wax guards, checking the battery
  • Rehabilitation— people eligible for rehabilitation may require support such as help with hearing and communication tactics and may include their friends and family if they wish
  • Specialist hearing services
  • Annual reviews

People eligible for the HSP are entitled to one device fitting and one hearing assessment every five years, plus a shorter review once a year. If your circumstances change and you need another device or assessment sooner, contact your provider to see if you may be able to access these in your case.

Hearing Aid Options

Free hearing aids for pensioners under the HSP are of high quality, meet stringent Australian standards, and come in many styles, including the popular in-the-ear style.

Although free hearing aids for pensioners are typically ‘entry-level’, technological advancements have allowed these devices to become much more reliable than before. This makes them an excellent option for those aiming to hear better at home, talk with friends and family, watch TV, and attend medical appointments.

They may not come with the latest features that some other models may boast, but they often aren’t far behind the latest technology. They may include features such as Bluetooth, noise suppression, and multi-directional sound processing and may be customised. If you have a quiet and relaxed lifestyle, free hearing aids under the HSP may meet your needs perfectly.

Access the Hearing Care You Deserve with Melbourne Audiology Centre

The HSP aims to ensure your annual financial contribution to your hearing health is kept as minimal as possible. At Melbourne Audiology Centre, we understand the importance of continuing this care with our personalised service, where we see you as who you are rather than a client number. With over 21 years of experience as an independent audiologist, our dedicated attention means that we put you and your hearing first. To take the next step in your hearing journey, book your appointment with us today.