Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Woman with hearing aids

Woman with hearing aids
beginning of content

Hearing aids

2-minute read

Hearing aids are devices that help people with poor hearing to hear better. They come in various sizes, shapes and styles. If you are having trouble hearing, you need to have your hearing checked.

What are hearing aids?

A hearing aid is a small electronic device that increases the loudness of sound to help people hear. It has a microphone, an amplifier, a speaker and a battery. The microphone receives sound waves and turns them into electrical signals.

The amplifier receives these electrical signals and increases their power before sending them to your ear through a speaker.

How can I get hearing aids?

The Australian Government Hearing Services Program offers eligible people free or subsidised hearing assessments and hearing aids.

If you think you have hearing loss, you should have a hearing test. After the test, you will be advised whether or not a hearing aid might suit you. Not everyone with a hearing loss will need or want to use a hearing aid.

If you are not eligible for the government program, you may be able to get a hearing aid from a hearing aid bank, which reconditions donated hearing aids. You can ask the Hearing Services Program for information about a hearing aid bank near you.

If you have private health insurance, check if you are covered for hearing aids. You may also be eligible to claim some costs as a tax benefit under the Australian Government’s medical expenses offset.

Types of hearing aids

There are several types of hearing aids. Hearing aids can vary in size, special features, price and the way they are placed in the ear. Hearing aids are worn in or behind the ear.

Behind-the-ear hearing aids are relatively easy to clean and maintain. Hearing aids that are placed in the ear are smaller and harder to clean. Speak to your doctor or audiologist about finding the right types of hearing aids for you.

Tips for using hearing aids

  • Wear the hearing aid for short periods and in quiet places to start with.
  • Ask your hearing practitioner how to wear, adjust and clean your hearing aid
  • Keep batteries away from children and pets as they are dangerous if swallowed

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: March 2020

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Raising a deaf child

If you are raising a deaf child, make sure that you get the right support as soon as possible.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Ears - Hearing loss in children with Down syndrome | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

Hearing loss is common in children with Trisomy 21 (also known as Down syndrome)

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Microtia | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

What is microtia? This is the medical name for an ear which has developed differently

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Ear health | Australian Government Department of Health

If left untreated, hearing loss and ear disease can affect a child's learning and development. Adults with with untreated hearing loss may also be at risk of developing other health problems. Find out what we’re doing to raise awareness of ear health and help prevent hearing loss in Australia.

Read more on Department of Health website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo