Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs), Tinnitus Devices and Hearing Devices

Last updated: 
4 September 2020

RAP Schedule no.

AA02, AA04, AA06, AA10, AA11, AA15, AA17, AA18, AK02 and AK03
(Refer to the RAP Schedule)

Definition

DVA defines an assistive listening device (ALD) as a device designed to help improve a person’s ability to hear in specific listening situations.

Common situations include:

  • listening to television;
  • hearing speech in noisy environments, such as restaurants; and
  • listening over distance.

Assistive listening devices may include:

  • television headphones with volume control;
  • remote microphones and FM listening systems; and
  • wireless streaming devices.

Tinnitus devices assist clients manage the effects tinnitus has on their health and lifestyle.

Some devices like the door bell and smoke alarm packages are designed to assist clients with hearing loss live independently and safely at home.

NB: Hearing aids are supplied through the Australian Government Hearing Services Program (HSP) and are not ALDs.

ALDs may be used together with hearing aids.

Eligibility

The DVA client must have a clinical need and a:

  • Gold Card; or
  • White Card with an accepted condition relating to the clinical need for the equipment.

Additional criteria

For smoke alarm packages:
Clients need to have profound hearing loss, or severe hearing loss in the better functioning ear. Both conditions must be diagnosed by a suitably qualified and experienced health provider.

Prescribing

Suitably qualified health provider

ALDs must be prescribed by a suitable qualified health provider as follows:

For items AA04 (TV listening devices), AA06 (Microphone/FM Listening System) and AA18 (Wireless Streaming Device), the assessment must be performed by a practitioner who is eligible to practice under the HSP:

  • Audiologist (A); or
  • Audiometrist (At).

For item AA02 (Induction Loop):

  • Audiologist (A);
  • Audiometrist (At); or
  • Speech Pathologist (SP).

For items AA10 (Telephone accessories):

  • Audiologist (A);
  • Audiometrist (At);
  • Occupational Therapist (OT);
  • Speech Pathologists (SP); or
  • Specialist (S)

For items AA11 (Doorbell with signal light):

  • Audiologist (A);
  • Audiometrist (At);
  • Occupational Therapist (OT);
  • Registered Nurse (RN); or
  • Specialist (S)

For item AA15 (repairs and replacement):

  • Audiologist (A);
  • Audiometrist (At);
  • Occupational Therapist (OT);
  • Speech Pathologists (SP);
  • Registered Nurse (RN);
  • Physiotherapist (Physio); or
  • Specialist (S)

For item AA17 (smoke alarm package for hearing impaired):

  • Audiologist (A);
  • Audiometrist (At);
  • Occupational Therapist (OT);
  • GP/LMO; or
  • Specialist (S)

For Item AK02 (Tinnitus devices) and AK03 (replacement, parts, Repairs for tinnitus devices)

  • Audiologist (A);
  • Specialist (S)

Prior approval

Prior approval is only required:

  • when the request is for more than item 1 per person; and/or
  • the value exceeds the limit defined in the current RAP Schedule.

Deciding on the most appropriate item

All assessments must be conducted by a suitably qualified health provider appropriate to the item being prescribed.

Once the clinical need has been identified, the health provider will work with the client to determine their hearing goals.

The prescription of an ALD or tinnitus device should relate to an unmet goal.
Decide, in partnership with the client (and/or their carer or representative), which type of assistive listening device is most appropriate, and provide clinical information to support this decision.

Make sure the ALD or tinnitus device is set up correctly and if necessary train the client in its use. DVA does not pay for professional consultation fees associated with device set up/instruction.

Additional considerations

For TV listening devices, Microphone/FM Listening System and Wireless Streaming Devices
If the client requires hearing aids, consider the hearing devices available through the HSP.

Ensure the client is capable and motivated to use the device and that the device, if required, is compatible with their existing hearing aid.

For Tinnitus Devices
As above but issue as a trial and evaluate the benefits with the client at a subsequent consultation.

For Telephone Accessories
DVA does not supply disability phones for hearing impaired. Before prescribing telephone accessories, review alternative avenues for sourcing the equipment. The following organisations have disability equipment, a captioning service for the Deaf, and the Government's Relay Service are provided below:

For Smoke Alarm Package
(Includes a photoelectric smoke alarm, a vibration pad and flashing light.) 

DVA will only hard-wire smoke alarms in homes with an existing standard hard-wired smoke alarm.

Hard wired smoke alarms must be installed by a qualified electrician and have a lithium battery back-up system. 

Battery operated smoke alarms must be prescribed and installed with a 10 year lithium battery.

The prescriber is to ensure the smoke alarm prescribed meets the relevant Australian Standard.   

Installation of Smoke Alarms
Installation must comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) which outlines under what circumstances a smoke alarm should be either hard-wired (240-volts) or battery operated.  As a general rule, homes built or undergone significant renovations from 1997 onwards require a hard-wired smoke alarm. 

DVA will fund reasonable installation costs of a Smoke Alarm Package under AL16.

To arrange installation through a DVA contracted supplier complete the
D0992 Order Form – RAP Mobility & Functional Support Products and state if the smoke alarm is hard wired or battery operated and send the completed form to one of DVA’s Contracted Mobility & Functional Support Suppliers (details are provided on the form).

Repairs and replacement

DVA accepts financial responsibility for items not covered under the warranty period.

For ALDs
If repairs and replacements parts are more than $615, consider replacing the item.

Request for item

  1. The suitably qualified health provider will complete the assessment and determine the most suitable device/s for the client and then send the completed D9376 Request Assistive Listening Devices and/or Tinnitus Devices Form, with a supporting reason/s for the prescription and a copy of your invoice to DVA RAPGeneralEnquiries [at] dva.gov.au.

For items requiring prior approval

  1. Send the completed D9376 Request Assistive Listening Devices and/or Tinnitus Devices Form and any additional supporting documentation listed below to RAPGeneralEnquiries [at] dva.gov.au for consideration through the prior approval process.
  2. Once you have received approval from DVA, you can proceed to order or supply the item to the client.

Installation of Smoke Alarm Package (AA17)

  1. To arrange installation through a DVA contracted supplier complete the D0992 Order Form – RAP Mobility & Functional Support Products and state if the smoke alarm is hard wired or battery operated and send the completed form to one of DVA’s Contracted Mobility & Functional Support Suppliers (details are provided on the form).

Supporting documentation for prior approval request

Supporting documentation is only required for prior approval requests or when the item requested exceeds the quantity or financial limit as stated in the RAP Schedule.

The assessing health provider should provide DVA with:

  • a copy of the assessment and/or audiology report
  • a technical evaluation of the equipment suitability for the client
  • explain how it related to the clients hearing goals
  • information about the motivation of the client and capability to use the device independently or with the support of others. 

Additional information

Auxiliary equipment or treatment

Tinnitus Treatments
If tinnitus cannot be managed by RAP items or by hearing aids through the HSP, an audiologist can seek further advice about the DVA tinnitus program by emailing health.approval [at] dva.gov.au or for more information go to the DVA website www.dva.gov.au/hearingproviders.

Hearing aids not supplied under the Hearing Services Program (HSP)

Requests for DVA to fund hearing aids not supplied under the HSP should be directed to health.approval [at] dva.gov.au.  DVA will only fund hearing aids that are not covered by the HSP in exceptional circumstances, when a hearing provider demonstrates that a person’s needs cannot be met by the HSP hearing aids and/or devices provided through RAP.

Australian Standards and legislative requirements

There are no Australian Standards for assistive listening devices but manufacturers of ALDs need to meet the safety and regulatory standards of their country of origin and should be marked with an identifier e.g. CE for manufacturers in the European Union.

Health Provider Hotline

1800 550 457
Health Providers can contact DVA for any enquiries by calling the Provider Hotline: (Please press Option 1 when prompted for RAP, or Option 3 for prior health approvals).