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Tuesday, 8 May 2018
Page: 3375

Hearing Services

(Question No. 947)

Mr Zappia asked the Minister for Aged Care, in writing, on 26 March 2018:

What number of new clients of the voucher component of the Hearing Services Program are expected to become ineligible in (a) 2018-19, (b) 2019-20, (c) 2020-21, and (d) 2021-22, if the recommendations in the report Review of services and technology supply in the Hearing Services Program (PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia for the Department of Health, September 2017) are adopted.

Mr Wyatt: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

There are no recommendations in the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, Review of services and technology supply in the Hearing Services Program that affects outright eligibility for the Hearing Services Program.

Recommendation 2 - Review the Minimum Hearing Loss Threshold, only affects eligibility for Assistive Hearing Technology. PwC suggest consideration be given to the World Health Organisation (WHO) threshold for disabling hearing loss, i.e. hearing loss greater than 40dB in the better hearing ear in adults.

The Department of Health has not modelled the impact of this PwC recommendation as the WHO hearing loss threshold referred to is for categorising disabling hearing loss, it is not purported to be the hearing loss threshold at which aiding should occur.

The Australian Government is considering the PwC report along with the recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Health Aged Care and Sport Inquiry into Hearing Health and Wellbeing, in the context of the broader health system. The Department of Health is working together with industry and consumer stakeholders to develop a Hearing Health Roadmap which will provide the basis for a collective understanding of the issues and co-ordinated approach to developing actions that will lead to improvements in hearing health for all Australians.