Hearing devices available under the Hearing Services Program

Not everyone benefits from a hearing device. But if you need one, your provider will help you find one that meets your needs and goals. The Hearing Services Program fully subsidises some hearing devices so there is no cost to you, and partially subsidises others, with you paying the gap.

Types of hearing devices

Learn more about the different technologies used in hearing devices.

Hearing aids

Hearing aids are small electronic devices that help you to hear better. They have:

  • a microphone that receives the sound
  • an amplifier that increases the volume
  • a speaker that sends the sound into your ear
  • a battery – read about button battery safety.

CROS devices

Contralateral routing of signal (CROS) devices suit people with:

  • one ear with normal hearing
  • one ear with hearing loss or a medical condition where a standard hearing aid is not suitable.

The receiver goes on the better ear and the transmitter or microphone on the poorer ear. The transmitter transfers sound to the receiver on the better ear, enabling the person to hear, no matter where the sound is coming from.

BiCROS devices

Bilateral contralateral routing of signal (BiCROS) devices suit people with hearing loss in both ears, and:

  • one ear with hearing loss or a medical condition of a nature that wouldn’t benefit from a standard hearing aid
  • one ear that might benefit from amplification.

The hearing aid or receiver goes on the better ear and the transmitter or microphone on the poorer ear.

Assistive listening device

Assistive listening devices are generally used:

  • in specific situations, such as to watch television or have a conversation
  • by people who can’t wear or struggle to control hearing aids, as they are larger and have bigger controls.

 The program funds:

  • personal amplifiers – which have a microphone and headphones to increase the volume of conversations or other sounds
  • television headsets – which enable you to watch television or listen to the radio at a volume that doesn’t disturb others.

Remote controls

If you are unable to manage the controls on your device and don’t have access to a smartphone app, your provider may provide you with a remote control at no cost.

What the program covers

There are different types of hearing devices, depending on your needs and preferences. Some sit behind your ear and some sit in your ear or canal.

Depending on the type of hearing aid, we might cover:

All hearing devices provided under the program are of high quality. Both fully and partially subsidised hearing devices are equally effective at amplifying sound to help you hear. The main difference is that partially subsidised devices might have extra non-essential features.

After your hearing assessment, your provider will:

  • advise on what device will best suit your needs and preferences
  • give you a quote, including any out-of-pocket costs and information about any returns timeframe
  • make an appointment to fit your device, if you choose to get one.

Your provider might set sales targets for their practitioners or receive commissions for selling certain hearing devices. They must disclose this to you, as it might influence the price, type and brand of hearing aid they recommend for you.

Fully subsidised hearing devices

If you need a hearing device, your provider must offer you one that is fully subsidised as an option, at no cost to you. The program funds hundreds of fully subsidised devices.

Fully subsidised hearing devices will help you hear just as well as partially subsidised devices. They might just have fewer extras (though not in all cases).

If you sign up for a maintenance agreement, your annual fee will be about $50. Providers can set a higher fee for partially subsidised devices, but must tell you in advance.

Partially subsidised hearing devices

Partially subsidised hearing devices might have extra features, like wireless connectivity, more channels or more automated features.

For these devices, we subsidise the amount that a fully subsidised hearing device would have cost, and you pay the rest. This ‘gap’ can be substantial. Your provider must give you a quote that includes:

  • the device model and style
  • maintenance and repair costs
  • returns policy information
  • trial period information
  • the warranty period
  • the government subsidy amount.

Your private health insurance might help cover some of the gap.

It is entirely your choice whether to choose a partially subsidised hearing device. Your provider can advise you about equivalent fully subsidised devices.

You can also approach other providers for comparison quotes, and change to a new provider. You will need to provide your hearing results, including your audiograms, and the model and style of the device.

See the full schedule of partially subsidised hearing devices.

Difficulty with your hearing device

If you are having difficulty with your hearing device, or feel you are not hearing as well as before, see your provider.

Your provider might:

  • assess your hearing to see whether it has changed
  • adjust the settings or placement of your hearing device
  • service or repair your device
  • provide advice on making the most or your device
  • recommend a different hearing device
  • discuss strategies and tactics to help you hear better
  • refer you to a doctor, if needed.

Replacing a lost or damaged device

If you lose your program hearing device, or damage it beyond repair, you must:

  • give the damaged device (if not lost) to your provider to send to the manufacturer for assessment
  • complete a Commonwealth statutory declaration describing how you lost your hearing device – your provider can help you
  • pay your provider a small replacement fee (which is only a fraction of the actual replacement cost).

If you are replacing a partially subsidised device with the same device, you will need to pay the gap again. If you can’t afford it, you can choose a fully subsidised device and pay a small replacement fee.

You are not required to pay a replacement fee if:

  • you hold a Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Gold Card or White Card (for hearing loss) – the DVA will pay it
  • residential aged care staff or hospital staff lost your device (the facility must certify this)
  • you lost your device in a hospital
  • Australia Post or another courier lost your device
  • you have dementia.

For more information, see the schedule of service items and fees.

Date last updated:

Help us improve health.gov.au

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.