Generally, all New Zealand citizens or residents are entitled to some form of government funding for hearing aids every six years.1. Your qualifying funding scheme will determine if your hearing aids are fully funded at no cost to you, or partially subsidised, meaning some portion of the total cost will need to be paid by you before you proceed with a hearing aid trial. You may be eligible to receive funding again earlier than the standard six years in cases where the hearing aids are no longer meeting your needs, or you have lost your hearing aids without insurance cover. 2.

There are four main hearing aid funding providers in New Zealand – Veterans' Affairs, ACC, the Ministry of Health Hearing Aid Funding Scheme, and the Ministry of Health Hearing Aid Subsidy Scheme. It is important to consider the order in which you determine your eligibility for each scheme as being eligible for one scheme may disqualify you from another. Determining the correct funding scheme could save you thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your hearing aids and beyond.
hearing aid funding acc, veterans affairs, ministry of health

Government Funding Options:

Veterans' Affairs
If you have ever served in the New Zealand Defence Force, particularly if you served before the 1st of April 1974. To be eligible for hearing aid funding through Veterans’ Affairs you need to have been deployed in a qualifying operational service. You can contact Veterans’ Affairs directly on 0800 483 8372 to see if your individual service qualifies. If you are eligible, your audiologist will conduct a formal needs assessment and recommend a hearing aid model and/or accessories to your Veteran Affairs’ case manager for approval. There is no cost to you to receive hearing aids through Veteran Affairs’, but you may choose to contribute to or top up the agreed funding value if you would like a more sophisticated hearing aid model. Veterans’ Affairs will also contribute towards the cost of hearing aid batteries, repairs, servicing, and consumables.3.
You may qualify for ACC hearing aid funding if you have worked in a noisy environment within New Zealand and your hearing loss is deemed to be a work-related gradual process injury, or the result of trauma such as in the case of an accident. The outcome of an ACC claim is primarily determined by an Otolaryngologist, or more commonly referred to as an Ear Nose and Throat specialist. If approved, your hearing aids will be fully funded through ACC. However, just like Veterans’ Affairs you may wish to top up your allocated funding to receive a more sophisticated hearing aid model. ACC will also contribute towards the cost of hearing aid repairs, batteries, and consumables.4. Your GP can assist you with lodging a claim to ACC in the first instance. It may be advisable to have a comprehensive diagnostic hearing test completed first to see if your hearing loss type and level are in line with ACC’s criteria.
Ministry of Health’s Full Funding Scheme
If you are eligible for Veterans’ Affairs or ACC, you will not be eligible for this scheme. To be eligible for the Full Funding Scheme, you need to hold a current Community Services Card in addition to meeting a further criterion such as working at least 30 hours or more per week, a registered job seeker looking for paid employment, a full-time caregiver for a dependent person, qualifying volunteer work or studying full time.5. You may be eligible for the Hearing Aid Funding Scheme even if you do not currently hold a valid Community Services Card if you are deemed to have complex needs such as a sudden hearing loss, a significant hearing loss since childhood, or you have a dual disability such as severe visual impairment. If approved, a basic to mid-range hearing aid will be fully funded at no cost to you as the Ministry of Health will directly reimburse the hearing aid manufacturer. However, most private hearing care providers do charge a one-off fitting fee if you fall under this scheme in the range of $1200-$1400. This fitting fee is not incorporated into your hearing aid funding like it is with Veterans’ Affairs or ACC. Additionally, you do not have the option to top up your hearing aid model through this scheme, and the cost of batteries are not covered. Repairs may be covered by the Ministry of Health if you still meet their criteria at the time of needing the repair.
Ministry of Health Subsidy scheme
This is the most common form of funding for hearing aids as the only criteria required are that you are a New Zealand citizen or resident ordinarily residing in New Zealand and over the age of 16 years. Like the name suggests the subsidy scheme will only subsidise the total cost of your hearing aid purchase by $511.11 per ear, or $1022.22 for a pair of hearing aids.6. Your audiologist can apply for this on your behalf and will subtract the funding amount off your initial hearing aid quote. You can only receive the subsidy if you are not eligible for any of the prior funding schemes mentioned. The subsidy scheme does not contribute towards the cost of hearing aid batteries, repairs, or consumables and can be claimed no more than once (per ear) in a six-year period.

Non-Government Funding Options:

Local Charities or Funds
In addition to the four main hearing aid funding schemes, local charities or funds may be able to help contribute towards the cost of a hearing aid purchase. One notable fund is the Vincentian Foundation for the Elderly who provide hearing aid grants up to a maximum of $600 per hearing aid to those over the age of 65 with a dual Super Gold / Community Services Card.7. The National Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is also currently providing hearing aid grants of up to $500 each for New Zealanders facing financial hardship,8. and the New Zealand Audiological Society Hearing Aid Fund provides $375 (excluding GST) per hearing aid to those in financial hardship who are otherwise not eligible for any form of government funding.9.