The Australian Hearing Services Program (HSP): Are You Eligible?
More than 3.6 million Australians suffer from a form of hearing loss. Whilst a large proportion is age-related, many hearing conditions are the result of exposure to excessive noise, and as such are preventable. The Australian Government Hearing Services Program (HSP) was founded to reduce incidences of noise-induced hearing loss and provide eligible Australians with easy access to high-quality hearing services.
In today’s article, we’ll address what the HSP does, what hearing services are covered, who is eligible, how to check your eligibility, and how to apply. Continue reading to find out more about the HSP’s work and how your hearing health may benefit from their programs.
Our Australian Hearing Services Program (HSP) guide covers:
- What is the Hearing Services Program (HSP)?
- Hearing services covered by the HSP
- Who is eligible for HSP?
- How do you check your eligibility?
- How do you apply for the HSP?
- Authorised HSP Providers
- HSP requirements for hearing aid fitting
What is the Hearing Services Program (HSP)?
The Hearing Services Program (HSP) was formerly called the Office of Hearing Services. It is a program of the Australian Government under the Department of Health which funds hearing services and hearing aids for eligible Australians.
Those who are eligible, have access to fully subsidised hearing services provided by hearing care professionals. HSP also covers the cost of base-level hearing aids. The program is available to Australian children and pensioners, amongst others.
Hearing services covered by the HSP
Hearing services are offered at no additional cost to those who are eligible. If this is you, you then get access to a fully subsidised audiological assessment with an accredited provider, with no out of the pocket expense.
The hearing test determines whether you have a hearing impairment, as well as the type and degree of hearing loss if any. The audiologist will then explain the results of the test to you and write a detailed report for your GP. If suitable in your situation, hearing aids may be discussed.
HSP services generally include fully subsidised periodic hearing tests:
- Every three years for those without hearing aids
- Annually for those with hearing aids, to ensure that hearing aid settings match current hearing
Under the program, you are eligible for fully subsidised hearing devices regardless of the type or degree of loss. You may choose fully subsidised hearing aids or more advanced devices. If you choose devices with a higher level of technology, you may be required to pay a top-up amount.
The HSP also offers support in managing life with hearing aids, including:
- How to use, clean and care for hearing aids
- Hearing aid repairs and servicing
Clients of the Hearing Services Program pay an annual fee to cover the cost of their hearing aid batteries and necessary repairs, once the hearing aids are no longer under warranty. A $30 replacement fee occurs for the replacement of lost hearing aids. Some clients of the HSP program, such as DVA gold cardholders, are exempt from paying these fees.
Attune Hearing is an accredited HSP provider and offers the following hearing services to eligible people:
- Fully subsidised hearing tests to identify the type and degree of hearing loss
- Fully subsidised hearing aids to assist and improve communication
- Comprehensive audiology reports including interpretation of results and recommendations
- Fully subsidised counselling to support patients with hearing loss
- A Rehabilitation Program to help maximise communication potential for the client
- Maintenance and Batteries supplied (conditions apply)
For more information on HSP services offered by Attune Hearing, please visit our website!
Who is eligible?
The Hearing Services Program supports various groups of Australian citizens and permanent residents, including Norfolk Islanders with funding for hearing services and hearing aids.
You are eligible for the Hearing Services Program if you are an Australian Citizen or permanent resident, 21 years or older AND one or more of the following applies to you:
- You are a pensioner concession card holder and over the age of 65 – does not include self-funded retirees
- You are an eligible disability pension card holder
- You are an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 50
- You are the holder of a Gold Repatriation Health Card issued for all conditions
- You are the holder of a White Repatriation Health Card issued for conditions that include hearing loss
- You are a member of the Australian Defence Force or Australian Veteran, holding a DVA pension concession
- You are undergoing an Australian Government-funded vocational rehabilitation service and you are referred by your service provider
- You are a dependant of a person in one of the above categories
How do you check your eligibility?
If you are interested in checking your eligibility for fully subsidised hearing services and hearing devices under the Australian Government HSP there are two ways to do so.
Check your eligibility on the Australian Government website
You can check whether you’re eligible or not online through the Australian Government website. There, you’ll find a form that you’re required to fill with your details, eligibility type (e.g. pension cardholder or DVA cardholder), eligibility number (e.g. pension card number or DVA number), and other personal details including title, full name, and gender. Once completed it will instantly tell you if you are eligible for fully subsidised hearing services and devices (hearing aids or assistive listening devices [ALDs]).
Get help from accredited hearing services provider Attune
If you prefer, you can contact your local HSP accredited hearing services provider and their friendly team will check your eligibility for you online with your consent. To check your eligibility with Attune Hearing call the Attune client support team on: 1300 736 702. To do this they will require the same details mentioned above: Eligibility type (e.g. pension cardholder or DVA cardholder), eligibility number (e.g. pension card number or DVA number), and other relevant personal details. They will be able to tell you if you are eligible for the program and can help you with the next steps.
What happens if you’re not eligible?
If you find that you do not meet the criteria that would make you eligible to receive hearing services under the HSP, but require assistance, you may be able to get help through a hearing aid bank. Alternatively, Attune Hearing offers a range of financing options that’ll allow you to access the hearing care you need and deserve.
How do you apply for the HSP?
There are a few options for applying for the HSP.
- You can apply for the program yourself online via the Government website. This is a quick and simple way to apply. The online application will determine your eligibility and process the application if eligible. You will also receive a pack with additional, important information.
- For those who do not have online access or prefer, you can have your local HSP accredited hearing services provider do this on your behalf. They will just require some details to process the application.
- There is also the option of completing a non-electronic application form and posting it back.
Authorised HSP Providers
When you become an HSP client, the HSP will inform you of the nearest authorised HSP providers and their contact details. Alternatively, you can find this information on the HSP website. There are several accredited providers in Australia, Attune Hearing being one of them. You get to choose who your service provider is. Once registered with a provider you can only receive services from them unless you transfer to another provider (5 minute process over the phone with your new provider).
HSP requirements for hearing aid fitting
Concerning adult hearing aid fittings, the HSP provides funding for base-level hearing aids every five years. HSP has the following fitting requirements:
- Clients of HSP with a given hearing loss are eligible. Every client must have a hearing assessment which is current as per HSP rules before hearing aid fitting.
- Those with a lesser hearing loss in the good and no hearing in the other ear may still access a hearing aid to route sound from the deaf ear to the good ear.
- Those with a lesser hearing loss, but who also have bothersome tinnitus.
- Those with a lesser hearing loss, but who also have a visual impairment affecting their ability to communicate.
- Those with a lesser hearing loss who already have hearing aids under HSP and have been shown to wear and benefit from their hearing aids.
In the case of adult HSP clients, base-level hearing aids are covered by HSP such that they are fully subsidised to the clients of HSP. However, more expensive hearing aids are only partially covered and individuals must pay a gap if they select these hearing aids.
HSP does not generally cover hearing aid accessories, although some individuals may be eligible for additional accessories. HSP also does not cover cochlear implants or cochlear implant processors for adults although designated providers can offer simple maintenance to cochlear implant processors.
Get help today
To check your eligibility with Attune Hearing call the Attune client support team on: 1300 736 702.
Get started by checking your eligibility online or through your local hearing healthcare provider. If eligible you can apply for the program online, through a hearing healthcare provider, or via mail.
If you want to check your eligibility, apply for the HSP, or want more information about the HSP and alternative funding options, contact your local Attune Hearing clinic today.