Navigating through the labyrinth of information about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and hearing aids can be daunting. This comprehensive guide aims to simplify the process, providing all the essential information you need, from understanding the NDIS to acquiring hearing aids.
Did you know that approximately 3.6 million Australians are living with hearing loss, but less than one in four of those who could benefit from a hearing aid actually use one? This is where the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) comes into play. The NDIS is a vital initiative in Australia that offers support to people with disabilities, including those experiencing hearing impairments.
Hearing aids are essential for individuals with hearing loss as they enhance the quality of life by improving communication and reducing feelings of isolation. But why should this matter to you?
Overview of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a government initiative designed to provide support to Australians living with permanent and significant disabilities. It invests in these individuals early to improve their life outcomes. The NDIS is managed by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and offers peace of mind to Australians, ensuring that if a loved one is born with or acquires a permanent and significant disability, they will receive the necessary support.
Eligibility Criteria for NDIS
To join the NDIS, you must meet certain criteria related to age, residency and disability. Here is a summary of the criteria:
- Age: You should be under 65 years of age at the time of your application.
- Residency: You should live in Australia and either be an Australian citizen or hold a permanent visa or a special category visa.
- Disability: You should have a permanent disability that significantly affects your ability to take part in everyday activities.
NDIS and the Hearing Services Program
Individuals with hearing impairments are eligible for support under NDIS, given that the hearing impairment is permanent. The NDIS funds hearing supports for participants aged 26 and over who are not eligible for the Hearing Services Program (HSP). The NDIS also provides additional reasonable and necessary hearing supports for participants if they are not available through the HSP. This includes individuals under 26.
Hearing Services Provided via NDIS
The NDIS covers a broad spectrum of services to ensure individuals with hearing impairments can live fulfilling lives. These services pertain to various aspects of life, including employment, education, social participation, independence, living arrangements, and health and well-being.
NDIS Coverage for Hearing Aids
Yes, the NDIS does cover the cost of new hearing aids. If you require hearing aids, cochlear implants, accessories or a combination to meet your communication requirements and an audiologist has documented these requirements, the NDIA will review the information and decide whether the request is reasonable and necessary.
NDIS Hearing Support Services
From 1 July 2020, there have been significant changes to the funding and delivery of NDIS hearing support services. NDIS participants aged between 21 and 26 years of age can choose to receive their services from any contracted hearing service provider.
The NDIS funds reasonable and necessary supports that are not available through the HSP, such as accessories. If you are an NDIS participant with an HSP voucher, you can continue to use it for hearing supports until it expires or you decide to cancel it at your next plan review. Once the voucher is no longer valid, you can include reasonable and necessary hearing supports in your NDIS plan instead.
Hearing Supports Funded by the NDIS
The NDIS funds a variety of hearing supports and services depending on what is right for each participant and what services and support can help them reach their goals. These may include the latest hearing aids, wireless accessories, other assistive technology, hearing device maintenance, repairs and consumables, and audiological services such as assessments and hearing aid adjustments.
Application Process for NDIS
To apply for the NDIS, you need to complete an Access Request form. You can request this form by calling the NDIA, using the NDIA teletypewriter (TTY) service, phoning the National Relay Service, using the Telephone Interpreting Service, completing an online contact form, emailing the NDIA, visiting a local office, or posting a letter to the NDIA.
NDIS Pathway Hearing Stream
The NDIS has a Hearing Stream that prioritises applications to help children newly diagnosed with a permanent hearing loss receive supports earlier. For more information, you can visit the Help for children younger than 7 page on the NDIS website.
NDIS Provider Opportunities
The NDIS funds hearing supports for eligible people aged 26 years and over who are not eligible for the HSP. These participants can choose a provider and pay them from the funds included in their NDIS plans. The NDIS also funds additional hearing supports for eligible participants, including people under 26 years old, if the support is not available through the HSP.
Registration Requirements for Australian Providers
Audiologists and audiometrists wishing to provide NDIS services must meet certain requirements to register with the NDIS. For example, audiologists must be an Audiology Australia Accredited Audiologist or an Australian College of Audiology Full Member Audiologist, and audiometrists must be a Hearing Aid Audiometrist Society of Australia Full Member or an Australian College of Audiology Full Member Audiometrist.
Understanding the NDIS and its benefits for individuals with hearing impairments is crucial to making the most of the scheme. Whether it’s determining eligibility, understanding the services covered, or navigating the application process, this guide provides a comprehensive overview to help you or your loved ones find the best hearing aids.
NDIS Hearing Aids Resources and Websites:
- NDIS Official Website: National Disability Insurance Scheme
- Comprehensive information on NDIS plans, eligibility, and services.
- Hearing Australia: Hearing Australia and NDIS
- Offers world-leading research and hearing services in collaboration with NDIS.
- HEARING SAVERS: NDIS Hearing Services
- A leading registered NDIS provider offering therapeutic services for adults living with hearing loss.
- Cochlear Australia: Cochlear and NDIS
- Information on cochlear implants and how they are covered under NDIS.
- Australian Government Department of Health: Hearing Services Program
- Details on the Hearing Services Program (HSP) and how it complements NDIS.
- iHear: iHear and NDIS
- Provides a range of hearing solutions and is an NDIS accredited provider.