If you are deaf or hard of hearing, there are several different ways to access essential services and supports.
The two main programs that deliver hearing supports in Australia are the Hearing Services Program (HSP) and the NDIS.
The supports provided depend on your age and eligibility for the relevant program. It’s a little bit complicated so let’s break it down…
Hearing Services Program (HSP).
The HSP funds hearing supports for Australian citizens and permanent residents with hearing loss, including children and young people under 26.
The program ensures eligible people with hearing loss can access subsidised hearing services and devices, while also providing help to manage hearing loss. In July 2023, more than 30,000 people were fitted with subsidised hearing devices under the HSP.
1. HSP voucher scheme.
The HSP voucher scheme helps cover the cost of hearing assessments, services and devices for eligible people through a voucher program.
Australian citizens and permanent residents aged 26 and older who meet eligibility requirements may be eligible for the scheme. You’ll need to have a pensioner concession card, DVA gold card or DVA white card, be a member of the Australian Defence Force or be referred by a Disability Employment Service.
Services and supports may include:
- Hearing assessments
- Subsidised hearing aids and devices
- Advice on getting the most from your device
- Annual device maintenance.
2. Hearing Australia CSO supports.
Under the Community Service Obligation (CSO) program, Hearing Australia provides hearing supports for people aged under 26, eligible First Nations people and people who need specialist services or live in a remote area.
Vouchers provided for HSP and CSO are valid for up to five years. See eligibility criteria or apply.
NDIS hearing supports.
The NDIS funds hearing supports for eligible NDIS participants aged 26 and over who are not eligible for the HSP. It also funds additional reasonable and necessary supports that are not available through the HSP for eligible participants of any age.
Services and supports may include:
- Devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implant speech processor accessories
- Other assistive technology such as vibrating smoke alarms and remote controls
- Capacity Building supports such as learning Auslan
- Maintenance and repairs
- Assessments (other than diagnostic assessments).
Guide to hearing supports in Australia by age.
Age: Under 7.
Most hearing-related supports for children are funded by the HSP, including the testing and fitting of hearing devices. A streamlined pathway helps children newly diagnosed with hearing loss to action early intervention supports through the NDIS. The NDIS may also fund additional early intervention supports and other assistive technology not covered by the HSP.
The HSP funds hearing services for people who meet the eligibility criteria. If you’re also eligible for the NDIS, it may fund additional reasonable and necessary supports not available through the HSP.
Age: 26 and over.
If you’re eligible for the HSP.
The HSP will fund hearing services such as those outlined above. The NDIS may fund additional reasonable and necessary supports not available through the HSP.
If you’re not eligible for the HSP.
The NDIS may fund reasonable and necessary hearing supports providing you meet NDIS eligibility criteria.
Age: 65 and over.
If you’re an existing NDIS participant.
Your hearing supports will be funded by the HSP providing you meet the eligibility criteria. If you decide to remain with the NDIS after you turn 65, you can access additional reasonable and necessary hearing supports not available through the HSP.
If you’re not an existing NDIS participant.
You’ll access hearing supports from the HSP if you’re eligible.
Good to know.
- The NDIS does not fund or reimburse expenses for diagnostic hearing tests even if it’s connected to an NDIS access request
- Some assessments under the HSP may be eligible for a Medicare rebate
- You can access both programs at the same time if you meet the eligibility criteria
- The supports provided from each program must be different.
Leap in! can help.
The Leap in! Crew is here to answer all your questions about NDIS-related supports.
Get in touch via TTY/Voice call on 133 677, speak and listen on 1300 555 727, phone 1300 05 78 78 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published on 1 July 2020, updated 28 August 2023.