There are a range of hearing and vision services to support your everyday life, maintain your independence and connect with the wider community. These include services for Deaf people and Deafblind people and people with hearing and vision loss.
Deaf or difficulty hearing
If you're Deaf or experiencing hearing loss, the following services are available:
Ministry-funded services and information
- Equipment for people who are Deaf or have hearing loss: If you need equipment to support you to live safely and communicate with others, Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People may be able to assist. Equipment includes hearing aids and assistive hearing and alerting equipment.
Find out about available equipment on our site.
- Equipment for children and young people who are Deaf or have a hearing loss: If your child is Deaf or has hearing loss, Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People
may be able to assist. Equipment like hearing aids can enable your child to live safely and communicate with others.
Find out about equipment for children on this site.
- Cochlear implant programme: Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People has a cochlear implant programme that provides cochlear implants to eligible people with severe to profound hearing loss.
Find out about the programme on this site.
- Education for children with hearing loss: If your child is Deaf or has hearing loss, their local school can provide education and support services. An Advisor on Deaf Children will discuss what support you and your child might need. This is a free service.
Find out more about education support on the Ministry of Health website external URL
- Support with costs for hearing loss: If you aren't eligible for funding for hearing aids or equipment the NZ Audiological Society (NZAS) or Work and Income may be able to assist you with costs.
Find out more about financial support on the Ministry of Health website external URL
Other services and information
- Hearing therapy: This is funded by Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People through Life Unlimited and provided free of charge to people aged 16 years and over. Hearing therapy assists people and their families/whānau manage the impact of hearing loss. No referral is needed and hearing therapists are available in most main centres in New Zealand.
Visit the Life Unlimited website external URL
- New Zealand Relay Service for phone support: This is a free, government-funded service that enables people with hearing and speech impairments and Deaf people to use the phone. They offer a variety of services, including text relay (text your message and receive a typed response), caption relay (speak you message and receive a typed response) and a video interpreting service.
Visit the NZ Relay Service website external URL
- New Zealand Sign Language interpreters: New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) is one of New Zealand’s three official languages. It’s a combination of hand shapes, facial expressions and body movements. NZSL contains ideas, sayings and words that aren’t found in other sign languages, including signs for te reo Māori words and ideas. NZSL interpreters ensure Deaf people can access information and support.
- Television captioning: Captions (subtitles for Deaf and hearing-impaired people) are available on many programmes on TV ONE, TV2, TV3, as well as some other channels. This is a free service funded by NZ On Air and run by TVNZ. An ear logo at the beginning of television programmes indicates that the programme has captions.
Find captioned programmes at the TVNZ website external URL
- ACC: You may be able to get financial support if you or your child have hearing loss as a result of an accident-related injury. For example, a head, brain or ear injury or being exposed to a noisy workplace over a long period of time.
Visit the ACC website external URL
- Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand: This organisation provides assistance for veterans of the New Zealand Armed Forces who have suffered an injury or disablement as a result of their service. If a veteran has an accepted war pension claim for hearing loss, Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand can provide funding for a number of services.
Visit the Veterans Affairs website external URL
Blind or low vision
If you're Blind or have low vision, the following services are available:
Ministry services and information
- Equipment for people who are Blind or have low vision: If you need equipment to support you to live safely and communicate with others, Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People may be able to assist. Equipment includes items such as mobility canes, screen-reading software or magnifiers.
Find out about available equipment on the Ministry of Health website external URL
- Low vision information and resources: Many people at some time in their life will experience a problem with their eyesight. If you start to notice your vision changing, it's important to get an assessment and to be aware of what support is available to you.
Find out more about low vision on the Ministry of Health Website external URL
- Glasses for children: If your child is 15 years old or under and has vision problems, you may be able to get the children's spectacle subsidy. There are clinical guidelines your child will need to meet to be eligible for funding.
Find out more on the spectacles subsidy on the Ministry of Health website external URL
Other services and information
- Blind Low Vision NZ: offers a wide range of services to people with severe vision loss, including counselling, orientation and mobility services, Telefriend (a peer support service), adaptive daily living services technology, and employment support. Eligibility criteria apply.
Visit the Blind Low Vision website external URL
- Kāpō Māori Aotearoa (Ngāti Kāpō): Kāpō Māori Aotearoa supports kāpō Māori and their whānau to overcome any barriers to accessing Blind Foundation services. They provide support led by Te Ao Māori principles and practices.
Visit the Kāpō Māori Aotearoa website external URL
- Parents of Vision Impaired NZ (PVI): PVI is non-profit organisation made up of parents committed to providing support to other parents of children who are blind or vision impaired.
Visit the PVI website external URL
- Blind Citizens NZ: This advocacy organisation supports blind, low vision and vision impaired people living in New Zealand. They often work with the Government, providers of blind and low-vision specific services, and services in general where blind people have particular requirements that should be considered.
Visit the Blind Citizens NZ website external URL
- Albinism NZ: A voluntary non-profile organisation that works closely with ‘Blind Low Vision NZ’, Albinism NZ supports people with Albinism to realise their full potential at all ages and stages of life.
Visit the Albinism NZ website external URL
- Retina NZ: A volunteer-led organisation of and for people with retinal conditions. They focus on peer to peer support and advice for people who have a visual impairment and their families.
Visit the Retina NZ website external URL