Information for GPs
In Tasmania, adults can be referred to the Audiology clinic at the Royal Hobart Hospital for investigation, but a waiting list exists, so a referral to a private practitioner, such as Eastern Audiology Services, is a quicker alternative.
If an adult’s case is not urgent, then assessment can be done by a private practitioner and when devices are indicated, then a patient can be funded by two streams. If your patient holds an age pension or is DVA eligible, they should be directed to the Office of Hearing Services programme. This is accessed through an application form that your practice should have or the website: www.hearingservices.gov.au. Audiological services are provided with minimal cost to Pensioners and Veterans who are eligible for The Office of Hearing Services programme.
Any person of working age may be able to access audiology services, but this will be self-funded, so patients need to check with their health funds what level of extras cover may apply to them. In some instances, patients may be able to use the Allied Health Care Plan to access Audiology for individual visits, as there is no Medicare rebate available unless the Audiologist is employed by a Doctor or ENT Specialist and can bill under that professional’s Medicare number.
From 2017, hearing impaired persons under 65 years of age may be able to access assistance for their disability through the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme). This will enable people who previously have not been able to seek assistance with hearing or communication difficulties to quality funded services. Conditions will apply.
Children in Tasmania can also be seen for hearing assessment, at the R.H.H. clinic or under certain circumstances, when an identified hearing loss exists, through Australian Hearing. For this latter group, recent changes allow people under 26 years to remain clients of Australian Hearing. Babies born with a hearing loss and who are fitted with a cochlear implant will fall into this group. Other services required for children, such as hearing tests, earplugs for swimming or noise protection or central auditory processing assessments can be provided by Eastern Audiology Services.