Are hearing aids tax deductible?

If you are living with hearing loss, hearing aids could be recommended as an effective solution to improve your hearing. However, hearing aids are often considered to be expensive. Prices can range considerably from $1,000 to more than $10,000 for a pair of hearing aids. This depends on the provider and level of technology and features required to meet your hearing and lifestyle needs.

Benefits of hearing aids

While hearing aids may seem like a significant financial investment, the benefits to your quality of life could be substantial. Hearing aids won’t fully restore your hearing or make it perfect, but they will make sounds clearer and louder and reduce the sometimes devastating impact hearing loss can have on your life.

Hearing aids can:

  • Help you to hear every day sounds you may otherwise miss such as the phone, doorbell and alarms
  • Improve your ability to hear speech, even when there’s background noise
  • Give you the confidence to be sociable and make it much easier for you to follow conversations in different noise environments
  • Help you to enjoy watching the TV and listening to music at a volume that is comfortable for others around you

Tax relief on hearing aids

To help lower your tax bill, you may already offset some of your expenses. But not all expenses are deductible, leading to many people to ask: are hearing aids tax deductible? Unfortunately, hearing aids are not tax-deductible in New Zealand. Even if they are essential for improving your health or benefit your job or business, they cannot be written off. However, you may be eligible to get some financial help towards the cost of hearing aids from the Ministry of Health.

Hearing aid funding

The Ministry of Health offers two funding schemes for hearing aids. Depending on your circumstances, lifestyle and specific type of hearing loss, you may be eligible to get financial help from one of these schemes:

Hearing Aid Funding Scheme

The Hearing Aid Funding Scheme is designed to cover the cost of hearing aids for adults and children who are eligible and are New Zealand citizens or permanently live in New Zealand. As an adult, you could be eligible for the scheme if you:

  • Have a significant hearing loss from childhood
  • Have hearing loss and a significant visual impairment or intellectual disability or physical disability that limits your ability to safely and effectively communicate
  • Have a Community Services Card, and are also:
  • In paid employment for at least 30 hours a week
  • Are registered as a job seeker looking for paid employment
  • Undertaking voluntary work for at least 20 hours a week
  • A full-time student
  • Caring full-time for a dependent

This funding scheme only covers the price of hearing aids. It does not subsidise hearing aid batteries, hearing assessments or the cost of fitting. Funding for adults is only available once every six years and only three times in six years for children.

Hearing Aid Subsidy Scheme

This scheme provides $511.11 per hearing aid to adults aged over 16 who have been diagnosed with a permanent hearing loss. They also need to be New Zealand citizens residing in New Zealand or permanent residents and not covered by the Hearing Aid Funding Scheme. The scheme doesn’t cover hearing evaluation or hearing aid fitting costs.

The financial support for each hearing aid is only available one every six years.

If you want to reduce the cost of your hearing aids, there are funding options available for you. To find out more about what you may qualify for, speak to your hearing care professional.

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