ACC covers the cost of accidents in New Zealand

ACC provides “comprehensive, no-fault personal injury cover for all New Zealand residents and visitors to New Zealand. This means you can apply for our help, no matter how you got injured, or whose fault it was” – ACC website

ACC has been covering the cost of hearing habilitation for people who have hearing loss due to workplace noise or other accidents since the scheme began in 1974.  Until 2011, ACC covered all costs associated with noise-induced hearing loss. The system was changed and they have since contributed a smaller amount towards hearing devices and services. In July 2014, ACC again reviewed their funding, and here we outline the current ACC hearing loss regulations and how it will help those with hearing loss due to noise or accident.

What is included when you are accepted for hearing aid funding by ACC?

  • ACC contribute towards the intial cost of the hearing aids – please see details below
  • Partial funding for earmoulds
  • ACC contribute to 2 clinic appointments each year after the first year
  • Hearing aid repairs over the life of the hearing aids
  • A second opinion – ACC will fund a consultation with a second clinic before trialling your hearing aids
  • Hearing aid batteries are covered by ACC

ACC hearing aids funding

More choice

A second device consultation – ACC covers the cost of a second appointment with another hearing clinic or Audiologist to assess your needs and the best solution for you.  This means that if you are not comfortable with your first recommendation for any reason, for example – the price; you have the flexibility to seek other options.

Follow up over the life of the hearing aids

ACC covers the cost of repairs up to the maximum of $234.09 for each aid within a two year period, once the warranty has expired.

Ear moulds – ACC contributes to the cost of new ear moulds, if they are needed, throughout the hearing aid lifetime.

Three levels of ACC funding for hearing aids

The level of ACC hearing aid funding for each claimant is decided by assessing each individuals situation and attributing how much of the hearing loss is due to the accident or noise exposure.

ACC hearing aid funding for both ears (Binaural)

Level 1 – $ 3157.90 (incl GST)

Level 2 – $3904.40 (incl GST)

Level 3 – $4953.05 (incl GST)

ACC hearing aid funding for one ear (Monaural)

Level 1 – $ 1873.35 (incl GST)

Level 2 – $2247.10 (incl GST)

Level 3 – $2770.93 (incl GST)

How will the ACC hearing aid funding apply to you?

I am a currently an ACC claimant and hearing aid wearer

ACC has increased the ongoing support of hearing aid wearers by increasing the amount they contribute to:

  • repairing your ACC hearing aids
  • new and replacement ear moulds
  • and to supplying batteries free of charge

You will still need to contribute to the cost of your:

  • Annual/ biannual hearing review and hearing aid adjustment
  • New ear moulds
  • Repairs – if they are over $234.09 per aid over two years.
  • And you will need to cover the cost of wax protection systems and dry kits

I am a current ACC hearing aid claimant and I need new hearing aids

ACC will consider a new claim for hearing aid funding after six years. ACC will determine the amount of funding based on the nature of your hearing loss and whether they consider the cause was workplace noise or an accident. In most cases, you will be required to see an ear nose and throat specialist (ENT / ORL) to determine the cause of hearing loss.

Once accepted for new ACC hearing aid funding allocation, you will receive:

  • one of 3 levels of funding that
  • ACC will continue to pay for hearing aid batteries
  • Some hearing aids are available at no added cost to you. If you would like higher level hearing aids, you will need to contribute to the cost.

Applying for new ACC hearing aid funding

The steps to funding for new ACC hearing aids by a current claimant

  1. A hearing reassessment by your Audiologist is sent to ACC.
  2. ACC will ask you to go for a consultation with an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist (ENT or ORL) who will decide how much of your hearing loss is likely to be due to noise or accident.
  3.  You will come to your audiologist for a device consultation, who will give their recommendations for the best hearing devices for you.
  4. You may choose to have another assessment and consultation by another Audiologist and get a second opinion.  ACC will cover the cost of this.
  5. Once you have decided on the right the solution for you, the hearing aids will be ordered and the fitting process can begin.

I have worked in noisy environments and would like to apply for ACC funding for the first time.

Applying for ACC funding:

  1. Visit your GP and ask if they could fill in a ACC claim form (ACC45) for hearing loss.
  2. ACC will send you some forms about your hearing loss and work history to fill out and return within 14 days.
  3. ACC will ask you to go to an Audiologist for a full hearing assessment.
  4. ACC may ask you to see an ear, nose and throat specialist who will assess the cause of you hearing loss and the amount of contribution they believe is due to noise or accident.
  5. Once your claim has been accepted you will come for a device consultation by your Audiologist, who will give their recommendations for the right hearing devices for you.
  6. You may choose to have another assessment and consultation by another Audiologist and get a second opinion.  ACC will cover the cost of this.
  7. Once you have decided on the right solution for you the hearing aids will be ordered and the fitting procescan begin.
  8. More details here

Here is a link to the ACC website with more details.

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.

ACC Noted:

“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…

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