Hearing Service Program 2024 Public Consultation

Department of Health

The Department of Health and Aged Care shared a proposal to improve the Hearing Services Program with stakeholders on 20 February. This proposal included reducing the number of service items available, simplifying maintenance arrangements and improving the program standards.

Two surveys were created to collect feedback (one from hearing health stakeholders on the proposed service items and a second general program client survey). Both were open from 20 February to 2 April 2024.

Consultation Results

Total responses received:

  • 132 from hearing health stakeholders, including service providers, professional bodies, industry groups and practitioners.
  • 60 from the public, including hearing services program clients

Program staff collated and reviewed the stakeholder feedback provided and identified the main themes, concerns and suggestions.

Findings and analysis

The survey was arranged by service item type and contained questions seeking respondents' support for each proposed change. Respondents were also able to give extra comments and suggestions.

The proposed changes attracted varied levels of support and a wide range of comments. An overview of the responses by service item is below.


  • 81% of respondents fully or partially supported the proposed changes to assessments.
  • Nearly 70% supported removing the Audiological Case Management items.
  • Respondents were keen to ensure clients continue to be appropriately referred for management when clinically indicated.

Clinical sessions

  • 76% of respondents partially or fully supported amalgamating the client review and rehabilitation items into a new Clinical Session.
  • 80% respondents indicated that this item should be available annually for most clients as it provides a variety of holistic hearing loss management opportunities.
  • 89% of respondents do not outsource rehabilitation and 84% would not outsource the proposed clinical session.

Fittings and Follow-ups

  • Most respondents did not support or only partially supported the proposed changes to fittings (72%) and follow-ups (86%).
  • Most comments (nearly 60%) indicated concern with the proposal to extend the time frame of the follow up and many suggested time frames based on their clinical experience (these ranged from one to 4 weeks post fitting).

Assistive Listening Device (ALD) Supply

  • 77% of respondents fully or partially supported the changes to ALD supply.
  • Many respondents suggested a separate ALD follow-up to align with separate fitting and follow-up services for hearing devices ensuring consistency for staff.

Remote controls

  • 74% of respondents did not support or only partially supported the proposed changes to remote controls.
  • The most common concern (56% of responses) was that remote controls cannot be sourced for under the proposed cap amount.
  • Many respondents suggested the program set the price for remote controls to align with the process for hearing aids and ALDs.


  • 84% of respondents partially or fully supported the changes to replacements.
  • There was strong support (94% responses) for replacing the statutory declaration with the lost device declaration.
  • 56% of respondents did not support or were unsure about the proposal to allow only two replacements per ear in a 5-year period, before requiring a revalidated service. Respondents expressed concerns that extra work would be required for more vulnerable clients with cognitive decline and/or living in aged care facilities.
  • Some suggested that replacement devices should be available within the same category, tier or family - not 'like for like'.

Spare devices

  • 86% of respondents fully supported the proposed changes to spare devices.

Goal setting

  • 65% of respondents fully or partially supported the proposed changes to goal setting.
  • Nearly 30% respondents suggested that the program look at evidence-based approaches to setting client goals and to not just keep using the COSI.


  • Nearly 60% of respondents fully or partially supported the proposed maintenance autopayments but were unsure of paying for repairs through a new separate item.
  • There were mixed responses to the removal of the maintenance co-payment with some suggesting that clients don't mind paying it and that it helps clients realise the value of their devices and to take better care of devices.

Device eligibility criteria

  • 55% of respondents fully or partially supported the proposed changes to the device eligibility criteria to introduce a tool to gauge motivation to take up advice to help with hearing loss, including using a hearing device.
  • 32% were unsure, reporting needing to see the proposed tool to assess device eligibility for initial fittings.

Eligibility Criteria for Refitting

  • 76% of respondents fully or partially supported the changes to the ECR.

78% respondents fully or partially supported the proposed changes, with 14% opposed and 8% unsure.

Departmental response

The department thanks all stakeholders who have contributed to the consultation process. Feedback received from the consultation will inform the updated service items and program standards.

An external consultant has begun work on modelling a possible fee structure for the revised service items, based on this consultation process.

A webinar outlining costings, service item updates and client journeys will occur later in the year.

/Media Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) might be of the point-in-time nature, and edited for clarity, style and length. Mirage.News does not take institutional positions or sides, and all views, positions, and conclusions expressed herein are solely those of the author(s).View in full here.