Deaf or hearing loss equipment for adults

If you are an adult who is Deaf or has hearing loss, you may be able to get equipment funded by Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People. This equipment can support your general safety and help you communicate.

Who can get equipment

You may be able to get equipment funded by our Ministry if you:

  • are a New Zealand resident or usually live in New Zealand (for 6 months out of the year or more), and
  • have a permanent hearing loss that isn't covered by ACC or Veterans Affairs.

If you have both injury and non-injury related hearing loss, you may be able to get funding for hearing aids from both ACC and Whaikaha. This joint funding is administered by ACC.

Types of equipment

Here are some examples of equipment that might be useful if you are Deaf or have hearing loss.

Hearing aids

A hearing aid is a small, wearable device that increases the volume of sound to help people hear.

You may be able to get Ministry funded hearing aids if you have:

  • had significant long-term hearing loss since childhood
  • had onset of sudden and significant hearing loss during adulthood
  • a dual disability (such as Deaf/Blind or hearing loss and an intellectual disability).

You may also be able to get Ministry funded hearing aids if you have a community services card and the hearing aids are essential for you to:

  • work full time (30 hours each week or more) or registered as seeking work
  • study at tertiary level or do vocational training leading to future employment (aged over 21 years)
  • do voluntary work (20 hours each week or more)
  • safely look after a dependent person full time.

If you are receiving the hearing aid subsidy, you may need to pay towards the cost of hearing aids.

How to get hearing aid funding

If you want to get some funding assistance from the Ministry towards the cost of hearing aids, you must have your assessment and recommendation for the hearing aids undertaken by an:

  • audiologist who is a full member of the NZAS
  • audiometrist who is a member of NZAS who is registered as an approved assessor, or
  • approved assessor working at your local hospital.

You can also have the assessment done by an approved private practice. If you visit a private assessor, you will have to pay for this assessment and any fitting costs.

The approved assessor completes an assessment of your needs and may recommend hearing aids. If you need hearing aids, the approved assessor can make an application to Enable New Zealand external URL for funding assistance. 

Enable New Zealand check that the assessor has considered the different support and hearing device options available. This is so any equipment you receive is suitable and the best for you.

For more information on funding and eligibility:

Replacement hearing aids and repeat subsidies

Funding for hearing aids for adults is not available more than once in a six year period, except in exceptional circumstances. These circumstances must be described in detail by the approved assessor when the application is made. Approval for replacement hearing aids within this timeframe will be based on the person’s individual circumstances, and the overall budget availability.

Repeat payments for the hearing aid subsidy can only be made once every six years.

Replacement hearing aids or hearing aid subsidies are only available when:

  • the person’s current hearing aids can no longer be repaired or modified to meet their changed needs, and
  • a replacement is the only viable option.

Hearing aid repairs

If your hearing aids are fully funded, the cost of repairs will either be:

  • covered by warranty, or
  • paid for by our Ministry. 

If you receive the hearing aid subsidy, you will be responsible for meeting the cost of repairs.

Assistive hearing and alerting equipment

If you need equipment other than hearing aids to enable you to work or study, or to help you live safely in your own home, you may be able to get help through the Ministry.

Assistive hearing and alerting equipment include items such as baby monitors and visual or vibrating alerts (like smoke detectors or door bells). Standard amplified telephones and smoke alarms are not funded by our Ministry.

Assessors for alerting equipment can be audiologists, hearing therapists or service coordinators from Deaf Aotearoa and the Blind Foundation (Deafblind services).

Some people may prefer to use a personal listening device rather than a hearing aid. These devices may be more suitable for people who have visual problems or have difficulty physically managing hearing aids. 

Your assessor will work with you to complete an assessment of your needs. As part of that process, they may recommend assistive hearing or alerting equipment. If you need this equipment the assessor can make an application to Accessable external URL or Enable New Zealand external URL for funding assistance.

Cochlear implants

A cochlear implant provides a sense of sound for people who are severely hard of hearing or profoundly deaf. Around 166 cochlear implants are provided each year through the Ministry's cochlear implant programme. 

Find out more about the cochlear implant programme.