Hearing services

Last updated: 
10 January 2020

Purpose

This page provides information for hearing providers about hearing services available to eligible Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) clients. (If you are a DVA client, please see Hearing Services).

Hearing loss for veterans

Hearing loss and tinnitus are in the top three accepted service-related conditions among veterans of the Vietnam War and recent conflicts. It is not uncommon for a veteran to have one or both conditions upon transitioning out of the Australian Defence Force.

Veterans’ hearing loss and tinnitus may be attributable to their service, which can involve exposure to damaging levels of noise, such as from artillery and aircraft. While the resulting hearing loss itself may not differ from hearing loss experienced by the general population, there may be issues that exacerbate the complexity of hearing loss for veterans, including tinnitus and potentially complex psychological and interpersonal needs, which may require careful consideration and understanding in the clinical setting.

What hearing services are available to DVA clients?

Eligible DVA clients can receive assistance, advice and high-quality devices through the following programs:

Who is eligible for DVA’s hearing services?

DVA’s hearing services, comprising devices provided under the RAP, the DVA Tinnitus Program and, in exceptional circumstances, funding for non-HSP hearing aids, are available to members of the veteran community who hold either:

Information about eligibility for the HSP, including the CSO component, is available at www.hearingservices.gov.au

How can DVA clients access assistive listening devices (ALDs)?

Eligible DVA clients can access ALDs free of charge through the DVA RAP.

The RAP assists entitled veterans, war widows, widowers and dependants by providing aids and appliances to minimise the impact of disabilities, enhance quality of life and maximise independence.

ALDs available to DVA clients include:

  • induction loops
  • headsets for watching the television
  • microphone/FM listening systems
  • door bells and smoke alarms with lights
  • telephone accessories
  • streamers that transmit sound from a mobile phone, tablet or television to a hearing aid.

Eligible DVA clients can access ALDs through the RAP either on their own or in combination with hearing aids. Some clients may require a combination of ALDs to support their lifestyle and hearing requirements.

Access to items under the RAP is via prescription from an appropriate assessing health provider. Information about how to arrange access to ALDs through the RAP is available on the DVA RAP Providers page.

What is the DVA Tinnitus Program?

Mild tinnitus and hearing loss can usually be managed with fully subsidised hearing devices provided under the HSP. DVA clients with severe tinnitus, or who are not eligible for the HSP, may be eligible for treatment under the DVA Tinnitus Program.

The Tinnitus Program can arrange for:

  • a clinical assessment of tinnitus
  • scientifically validated treatment provided by an audiologist
  • specialised counselling such as tinnitus retraining therapy
  • hearing aids with tinnitus settings
  • devices to assist with sleep.

Do I need prior approval for services under the Tinnitus Program?

Yes. After a complete investigation, an audiologist or ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist can submit a request to DVA for prior approval for treatment under the Program. This request should include:

  • audiology and/or ENT reports
  • evaluation of tinnitus severity
  • proposed rehabilitation plan
  • associated expenses.

DVA can fund reasonable and scientifically validated treatments. Requests for prior approval should be sent to DVA via health.approval [at] dva.gov.au

Under what circumstances will DVA fund hearing aids outside of the HSP?

In the vast majority of cases, DVA clients’ hearing needs can be met by fully subsidised hearing aids provided under the HSP, either on their own or in combination with ALDs provided through the DVA RAP. DVA expects hearing providers to comply with HSP requirements to consider a range of fully subsidised devices and not encourage the purchase of a partially subsidised device when a fully subsidised device will reasonably meet the client’s needs. Where a client qualifies for specialist hearing services under the CSO component of the HSP, DVA expects hearing providers to offer them a referral to Hearing Australia for these specialist services.

DVA will only fund hearing aids that are not covered by the HSP in exceptional circumstances, when a hearing provider demonstrates that a person’s needs cannot be met by HSP hearing aids and/or ALDs provided through the RAP. In these cases, the hearing provider must submit a request to DVA and have it approved before the device is provided. Requests should include:

  • audiology and clinical hearing reports
  • other clinical reports that may need to be considered
  • any other information which may be relevant to the request
  • details of the hearing aids being recommended
  • explanation of why the person’s needs cannot be met by HSP hearing aids and/or ALDs provided through the RAP.

Requests for prior approval should be sent to DVA via health.approval [at] dva.gov.au

What hearing services and/or devices are available?

The following table provides an easy comparison of services and devices available from the above programs:

Hearing services/Devices available to Veterans HSP RAP DVA Tinnitus Program* CSO
Clinical assessment, counselling and rehabilitation
Hearing aids
Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) (FM Systems, Streamers, headphones for TV) ✘*** ✔**
Tinnitus masking devices and devices to help with sleep ✔*

*Subject to prior approval.

**Subject to prior approval in some cases.

***TV headphones may be supplied under the HSP as an alternative to hearing aids.

More information

Hearing Services Program

General Enquiries: 1800 500 726

National Relay Number (NRS) 1800 555 660

hearing [at] health.gov.au (Email): hearing [at] health.gov.au

Hearing Services website: www.hearingservices.gov.au

DVA general enquiries

Phone: 1800 555 254 *

* Calls from mobile phones and pay phones may incur additional charges.

Additional information

DVA Service Provider Enquiries

Phone: 1800 550 457*