History of ACC and Hearing support
Before January 2011 ACC covered the full cost of hearing aids and accessories, batteries, repairs, as well as annual hearing assessments and hearing aid adjustments. This meant that ACC claimants got first class service. ACC claimants could get hearing aids that met their needs as well as excellent follow-up and maintenance, all covered by ACC.
Unfortunately, as the ACC claimants increased in numbers, due to better technology and more hearing loss among people who work in noise (who had historically not protected their hearing), the cost became too high for ACC to maintain.
In early 2011 the ACC hearing loss policy was changed in a number of ways including:
- Increasing the level of hearing loss required to meet ACC funding criteria – to 6% hearing loss
- Reducing the funding towards hearing aids
- Reducing hearing related services like regular hearing assessment and hearing aids adjustment
- Reducing what ACC would contribute to ongoing repairs and maintenance.
- These changes resulted in a significant saving for ACC. ACC expenditure on hearing devices and services fell from $59 million per annum in 2010 to $16 million per annum in 2013.
It also resulted in many ACC claimants being unable to afford the hearing aids that would best meet their needs. Some previous hearing aids wearers had to either go without hearing aids or get very basic hearing aids, increasing the effect of their hearing disability and their ability to function in their normal listening environments. In 2014, they increased the funding allocation making hearing aids more affordable for clients.
“The Ministry and ACC are concerned that people are not accessing the services and devices available to help them manage their hearing loss. People who suffer from injury-related hearing loss must be able to access the hearing services and devices they are entitled to in order for them to fully participate in employment, education, their community, and enjoy an improved quality of life. Hearing loss often leads to social isolation and depression.
The Ministry’s and ACC’s main objective is that services must be affordable and easy to access. In this case, more people need to be accessing the hearing loss services and devices they are entitled to so that people suffering from injury-related hearing loss can fully participate in society.
Auckland Hearing is a small independent clinic. This means that our overheads are low and therefore our pricing is very competitive. If you are looking for great service as well as competitive pricing while getting your new ACC hearing aids you are welcome to come along for a second opinion and pricing comparison.
Follow this link to see more details of our hearing aid fitting process…