If you are receiving a government pension, you may already know that the government covers you for your hearing tests. But did you know the test isn’t the only part of your hearing health which is taken in charge? In fact, a significant majority of your audiology fees can be taken on board by your government pension card, through the Hearing Services Program (HSP). Let’s dig a little deeper.
Your first appointment
Your first hearing health appointment with HSP is where it all begins. A hearing practice will create an online “voucher”, which effectively enables the government to know you are requesting audiology coverage moving forward. This voucher also means much of your hearing health journey will be recorded and easily transferred to a different hearing clinic. So if you choose to change practice, it will make a cumbersome task that much simpler.
Initial hearing test
With the creation of this voucher, your hearing practice will book you in for an initial hearing test, to assess the level of hearing loss you are currently experiencing – which is fully covered by HSP. This test is mandatory and can be done at any stage of your personal hearing history. Whether this is the first time you consider a hearing loss. Or whether you have been wearing hearing aids for some time already, it makes no difference. If you already have hearing aids, these will be added to your voucher file. Depending on the age of your devices, you may even already be entitled to new devices under your HSP coverage.
Every 5 years new devices
HSP allows for new hearing aids every 5 years, or when there is a significant change in the level of hearing loss. However while the government will cover the cost of the test and the fitting of your new devices, it does have a limit on the technology – and associated costs – of the devices you are getting fitted. Your audiologist will talk you through exactly which devices will be fully or partially covered. Even if you decide to take hearing aids with a higher level of technology though, a portion of their cost will still be covered by HSP. What’s more, if you decide hearing aids aren’t the option for you, the government also covers options for assistive listening devices (ALD) instead. So you can still enhance your day-to-day life with different options like a wireless headset for your television.
Furthermore, you will now be entitled to a yearly annual review of your hearing and your devices, to check everything is going well. Every 3 years, you will also be asked to do a longer hearing test to fully assess the change in your hearing – if there is one. This assesses whether these changes warrant bringing your new device fitting date forward. HSP will also cover the large majority of the annual maintenance fees of your devices which means you will be able to:
- Have your devices cleaned and checked at any time
- Get new batteries free of charge whenever you need them
- Ask your audiologist to adjust the settings of your hearing aids any time you need to
- Get minor repairs at your hearing clinic
But wait, there’s more! In the unfortunate event that you misplace your hearing aid, HSP covers the majority of the costs of replacing your device. Of course, we’re not advocating that you lose your devices, but it’s always nice to know you’re safe if it happens! And if you have to change hearing clinic for any reason (relocation, better service, etc…), any payments you may have made at your previous clinic will follow through to your new place, with no additional fees for you to pay.
So if you feel that you would benefit from hearing health services, hearing aids or an assistive listening device, remember the costs may in fact be covered for the most part by your government pension, under the Hearing Services Program.
For further information on which services are covered under your government pension, or on whether you are eligible for the program, you can take a look at the Hearing Services Program Client Information Booklet here. And of course, feel free to contact your local Falls of Sound clinic if you have any questions or would like to start your new hearing health journey at 07 3378 5999 for Indooroopilly, 07 5443 8993 for Maroochydore.