Assess your client’s needs
Not all clients want or need a hearing device. Before recommending a device, consider your client’s:
- type and extent of hearing loss
- degree of communication difficulties
- motivation and hearing goals.
Minimum hearing loss threshold
Program clients must meet a minimum 3 frequency average hearing loss threshold of 23.3 decibel or more, measured at 0.5, 1 and 2 kilohertz.
You must evaluate each ear independently.
If a client doesn’t meet this threshold, you can still provide them with a program-subsidised device if you determine they would benefit from a hearing device, and the client:
- receives a wishes and needs tool score of 2 or more for each response and a total score of 5 or more and
- has either:
- high frequency average hearing loss of 40 decibels or greater when tested at 2, 3 and 4 kilohertz
- hearing loss and severe or constant tinnitus that would benefit from a hearing device
- previously used a program voucher to obtain a hearing device and can demonstrate they are using it
- a visual impairment that makes it hard to read lips and can’t be corrected.
Find more information in the minimum hearing loss threshold guidelines.
Fitting hearing devices
Before assessing your client’s hearing, or fitting, refitting or replacing a hearing device, check that:
- they meet the relevant eligibility requirements
- they have a valid Hearing Services Program voucher
- the device is listed in the latest fully subsidised or partially subsidised device schedule.
We regularly update the schedules, so check each time. If you fit a device that’s no longer listed, you won’t be able to claim for it. If this happens, email us. Read more about fitting devices not on the schedule.
You can see the minimum specifications for hearing devices supplied through the program in the supplier’s deed of standing offer.
You must provide a device quote for all devices supplied under the program. This must be signed and dated by the client. use our device quote template.
Eligibility for initial fitting
Hearing Services Program vouchers are valid for 5 years. The client’s first voucher entitles them to an ‘initial assessment and fitting’. A program voucher provides an eligible client with:
- an assessment to determine the rehabilitation needs of the client
- hearing device(s), in line with the minimum hearing loss threshold
- ongoing rehabilitation, support and advice
- an option to enter into an annual device maintenance agreement annual client reviews.
When a voucher expires, if the client is eligible and requires ongoing services, the voucher can be renewed with the client’s consent.
Eligibility for refitting
After a 5-year voucher expires, if a client is still eligible, they will be issued with a subsequent voucher. This entitles a client to a new assessment. If a client was fitted on their previous voucher, they may be refitted, if they meet the eligibility criteria for refitting.
If a client has had an assessment or device fitting under their current voucher, the program does not cover any further assessments or fittings under the same voucher. You must obtain approval for a ‘revalidated service’.
You can request a revalidated service for a client if:
- the client’s hearing deteriorates significantly and needs reassessing
- the client’s hearing device no longer meets their needs, and they meet the eligibility criteria for refitting.
You must complete the request for a revalidated service for the client and wait for approval before reassessment or refitting. We will assess your application within 10 business days. See our example completed forms for guidance.
Eligibility for CROS and BiCROS devices
When a program client won’t benefit from a traditional hearing aid, you can fit either a:
- contralateral routing of signal (CROS) device
- bilateral contralateral routing of signal (BiCROS) device.
If you fit a CROS or BiCROS device, clearly state this on the client’s record.
- For CROS devices, the better ear does not require to meet the minimum hearing loss threshold, and the client doesn’t need to complete the wishes and needs tool.
- For BiCROS devices, both ears must meet the minimum hearing loss threshold or exception criteria, and the client must complete the wishes and needs tool.
Eligibility for devices not on the schedules
If your program client requires a hearing device that is not listed on the fully or partially subsidised device schedules, you must seek and wait for approval before fitting it. You will need to detail why the devices currently listed on the schedule are not suitable.
You must seek approval before fitting the device. We will not provide retrospective approval.
Eligibility for replacement device
You can replace a device that is lost or damaged beyond repair, including spare devices, under certain conditions.
To be eligible for a replacement device, clients must:
- have a current Hearing Services Program voucher
- have originally been fitted through the program with a fully or partially subsidised device
- if lost, complete a statutory declaration stating where and how the device was lost
- if damaged, have a letter from the supplier confirming the device is damaged beyond repair.
When replacing a device service providers must:
- assess the client’s circumstances to determine whether a refit is appropriate
- provide the client with a written quote
- use item 840 for monaural devices or item 850 for binaural devices
- not charge a replacement fee for exempt clients (items 555 or 888).
The replacement device must be either:
- the same as the original if still available on the schedule
- an equivalent device from the same category, tier and device family on the schedule, if the original device is no longer available.
If a partially subsidised device needs replacing, but the client can no longer afford the same device, you can replace it with a fully subsidised device with similar technology in the same category and style.
Read more in the schedule of service items and fees.
If you fit someone with an approved device, you must offer them an annual maintenance agreement. The client pays a small annual fee, and we pay a subsidy to cover your cost of maintaining your client’s devices.
Read more about what you should do when entering into a maintenance agreement with a client.