Working with

HCIA engages on a regular basis with Government and with the Opposition to ensure they are aware of and understand the issues facing hearing impaired people in Australia. HCIA has a mutually respectful relationship and liaises regularly with the Department of Health which is responsible for the Hearing Services Program.

Hearing Services Program COVID-19 Measures

HCIA has worked closely with the Australian Department of Health to ensure that the Hearing Services Program remains responsive and accessible to the needs of people with hearing loss during the COVID 19 pandemic. As a result, many activities (such as refittings, batteries and maintenance) are now handled through telehealth arrangements. These new arrangements help keep people with hearing loss connected during this unprecedented health crisis.

NSW workers retain right to pursue a claim for hearing aids

HCIA welcomes the decision by the NSW Workers’ Compensation Independent Review Office (WIRO) to withdraw its ILARS Hearing Aids and Hearing Loss Claims Policy with effect from 1 July 2020. This means that WIRO will provide funding to pursue a claim for hearing aids for eligible injured workers regardless of whether the claim is accompanied by a claim for lump sum compensation.

Read HCIA’s 2019 submission to the NSW State Insurance Regulatory Authority’s review of the WIRO policy.

ACCC Button Battery Safety

HCIA acknowledges the serious safety issues of button batteries in general consumer goods, particularly for young children. Hearing devices, however, do not pose the same risk as other consumer products because of their exclusive use of zinc air batteries which pose lower risks than other button battery types.

Hearing devices are subject to stringent regulation by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) which assures Australian consumers that these devices are safe and meet high standards of quality and efficacy.

In March 2019, after issuing a Safety Warning Notice warning to the Australian public about the dangers of button batteries, the Assistant Treasurer asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to advise the Government on regulatory options to address button battery safety. HCIA responded to both the ACCC’s Issues Paper (August 2019) and its Options Consultation (March 2020) to support an exemption for hearing devices.

Read our submissions:

Access to hearing services for low income working age Australians

On Wednesday 4 March 2020 during Hearing Awareness Week, the Hearing Care Industry Association held its 6th Parliamentary Breakfast at Parliament House at which it launched the 2020 Hearing for Life report. This report puts the case for access to the Hearing Services Program for people with hearing loss of working age on low incomes.

Read the report and more about our Parliamentary event: HCIA’s Parliamentary Breakfast – Hearing Awareness Week 2020

Medicare benefits schedule review of hearing items

The MBS is a list of health professional services subsidised by the Australian Government including consultations, diagnostic tests and operations related to hearing.

Established in 2015, the MBS Review Taskforce (the Taskforce) is considering how MBS items can be better aligned with contemporary clinical evidence and practice, and improve health outcomes for patients. In 2019, HCIA responded to Taskforce recommendations concerning hearing items. Subsequently, HCIA has been invited to participate in an implementation working group.

Therapeutic goods administration review of products used by people with disabilities

HCIA contributed to the TGA’s consultation about regulatory options for products used for and by people with disabilities including assistive devices, such as hearing devices. HCIA’s submission recommended that hearing devices remain within the regulatory scope of the Therapeutic Goods Act to ensure the quality and efficacy of devices available in Australia.

Read our submission: Products used for and by people with disabilities Options for amending the Therapeutic Goods (Excluded Goods) Determination 2018

Hearing services legislation review 2018-19

In May 2018, the Commonwealth Government notified HCIA and other stakeholders of a review of hearing services legislation.  This “red tape” review is to ensure hearing services regulations are up to date and identify opportunities to streamline, simplify or reduce regulatory burdens. 

Roadmap to hearing health 2018-19

Australia’s first Hearing Health Roadmap aims to improve the lives of the millions of Australians affected by hearing loss through a coordinated approach to improving hearing health.

The Government commenced the consulting process for the Roadmap in 2018 and finalised it in March 2019. 

HCIA’S response to the ACCC report

HCIA acknowledges the ACCC report released yesterday concerning the provision of hearing health services. Our members take the matters discussed in the report very seriously and are committed to ensuring hearing impaired Australians receive the very best possible care.

Inquiry into the provision of hearing services under the NDIS

HCIA provided a submission and gave testimony to the Joint Standing Committee Inquiry on the National Disability Insurance Scheme Inquiry into the provision of hearing services under the NDIS.

Audiometry and the VET student loans

The Federal Education Minister has agreed to add the Diploma of Audiometry delivered by TAFE NSW to Schedule 3 of the list of approved courses eligible for VET Student Loans. The legislative instrument (the loans and caps determination) underpinning the list will be updated overtime.

HCIA submission to the house of representatives inquiry into hearing health and wellbeing in Australia

HCIA makes the following points in summary:

  • We support Hearing Health being a National Health Priority for Australia,
  • We recommend adoption of the recommendations contained within the 2010 Senate report titled ‘Hear Us’, in particular Recommendations 2,4 and 20,
  • We encourage Government to continue to invest in research to further understand the link between hearing loss and other health related matters,
  • While Australia’s Hearing Services program is very good, we believe changes could be made to further improve its effectiveness, including;
  • Eligibility requirements to access the program should be reviewed, particularly for low income people of working age;

Review of the VET system

Recently in its review of the VET system, the Australian Government removed the Diploma of Audiology from VET Fee Help eligibility.

HCIA finds this alarming particularly as from our perspective as the largest employers of hearing care professionals in Australia, we know that there is currently workforce undersupply. In fact, the industry currently needs to utilise the 457 Visa program to meet workforce need.

Hearing care industry applauds the restoration of lifetime compensation for NSW workers with hearing loss

The Hearing Care Industry Association commends the NSW Government for restoring lifetime compensation for workers who sustain hearing impairment as a result of workplace exposure.

“Hearing is a critical sense. Hearing loss lasts a lifetime. HCIA called on the NSW government to restore lifetime workers compensation cover to include hearing aids, their repairs, replacement and batteries,” said HCIA Chairman, Mr John Pappalardo.

Access to hearing services for low-income working-age Australians – 2015/16 budget submission

This submission gives effect to recommendations of the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee and the Hearing Services Consultative Committee.