We understand that people with hearing loss need a reliable source of current, factual information. This Advice section and our Questions and Answers section are intended to make it easy for you to get the information you need. Feel free to email us ( or call us (09 524 9847) if you need more assistance. We listen to help you hear.

Frequently Asked Questions

Several funding options are available to help you purchase hearing aids. Hearing Auckland staff are experienced with all funding options, and qualified to access funding on your behalf. We’ll work with you to find what funding you qualify for and make applications for you:

The Ministry of Health provides two funding streams for New Zealand adult residents: Hearing Aid Funding and the Hearing Aid Subsidy.

The Hearing Aid Subsidy of $511.11 (incl. GST) per hearing aid is available no more than once every six years to New Zealand adult residents who do not qualify for Hearing Aid Funding, or funding from the ACC or funding from Veterans’ Affairs.  More information is available here.

Hearing Aid Funding pays the cost of hearing aids, but it does but pay any amount towards tests or fitting fees.  We can determine your eligibility. Complete criteria for this funding are available here

Veterans’ Affairs NZ. If you have served in the New Zealand Defense Forces and have noise induced hearing loss related to your service, funding may be available.  For further information contact us on 09 524 9847 or contact Veterans’ Affairs on 0800 483 8372.

ACC Funding. The process for applying to the ACC to cover a work-related noise induced hearing loss is relatively complex. We’ve summarised the process here (link to detail topic there’s no source at the ACC). If you think you may have acquired a hearing loss from working in a noisy environment, please make an appointment to see a clinician to learn about this.  If the ACC provides cover and entitlements for a noise induced hearing loss you will receive a letter from the ACC explaining the benefits you’ll receive, including the amount of money they’ll contribute towards the costs of hearing aids and associated fees.  Depending on your hearing needs, we can provide hearing aids within the amounts paid by the ACC.

Work and Income. If you are on a low income or benefit, help for costs related to hearing loss may be available from WINZ. Contact your local WINZ office.

Health Insurance. Your hearing aids and/or some of the professional fees for testing hearing and fitting hearing aids may be covered by your private health insurance policy. Hearing Auckland is experienced in working with all major insurance companies.

Iwi funding. Contact your local Iwi as some Iwi (for example Ngati Whatua Orakei) offer subsidies and health insurance that includes some funding for hearing aids and fees.

You should get hearing aids from someone qualified to test your hearing, to assess your hearing needs and to fit the most appropriate, cost effective hearing aids that meet your hearing needs.  You should consider whether that person seems to be focused on meeting your needs rather than intent on selling you a hearing aid.

Literally anyone can sell hearing aids?  Yes, anyone can. There is no requirement that someone selling hearing aids has any qualifications at all!

We think that’s scary because the wrong hearing aids (or the right hearing aids programmed incorrectly) won’t help you to hear well, and they can damage your hearing.

Hearing Auckland clinicians are all fully qualified Audiologist Members of the NZAS and have access to all forms of funding.

The Ministry of Health recognise that Audiologists and Audiometrists who are Members of the New Zealand Audiological Society (NZAS) are qualified to fit hearing aids- that’s why the Ministry of Health funding schemes are only available to Members of the NZAS.  Look for someone with the qualifications MNZAS or NZAS Audiometrist.

The ACC and Veterans’ Affairs only provide hearing aid funding if an Audiologist Member of the NZAS is solely responsible for testing your hearing and fitting your hearing aids.  This requirement appears to recognise the higher level of training of Audiologists compared to Audiometrists.

The best hearing aids for you are the hearing aids that you will wear whenever and wherever you need to hear. The worst hearing aids for you are the ones that you buy and don’t wear. Hearing aids use sophisticated technology (that often includes artificial intelligence) to provide you with natural sound quality and to eliminate as much unwanted sound as possible. The process of getting hearing aids in New Zealand should ensure that you buy hearing aids that work for you.  You should have a trial to test hearing aids by using them in places where you want to hear.  Your Audiologist or Audiometrist should listen to your comments about how much the hearing aids are helping you and adjust them if they aren’t working well. You should return them during the trial period if you aren’t getting the benefits you were told you should expect.

Hearing aids are usually distinguished by their style. The three most common hearing aid styles are:

  • Receiver-in-the-ear (RITE)
  • Behind-the-ear (BTE)
  • In-the-ear (ITE)

Hearing aids in all styles are small, lightweight, and most are nearly invisible when you’re wearing them.  There’s also a variety of colours to choose from- whether you want them to blend with your skin and hair tones or whether you want to make them stand out. They are easy to wear and comfortable.

It used to be the case that people with smaller degrees of hearing loss could have smaller hearing aids, but that’s no longer always true. Most people can choose any style, but one style may suit them best.  Very small hearing aids that fit entirely within your ear canal may meet your hearing needs and may appeal because they’re “invisible” but they may not be manageable, they may block frequently with ear wax, and they may give your own voice unpleasant qualities.  It’s best to discuss the style options with your Audiologist or Audiometrist.

The size and shape of your ear canal, the amount of earwax that you produce, how much time you spend in humid or wet environments, and how dusty your environments are all influence the style that will suit you best. Almost all styles can achieve similar results in terms of your hearing, but some will be less troublesome, and easier to manage.

Some features are personal preferences- do you want to have a volume control or will you be happy if the hearing aids manage the sound level automatically (they do that very well by the way).

Similarly, do you want to replace batteries or would you prefer a rechargeable hearing aid?

Other features- especially the noise control features, and sound enhancement (amplification) characteristics depend greatly on your hearing loss and your hearing needs- what do you want to hear and where will you be listening.  Your Audiologist should advise you about what features will benefit you, how much benefit you can expect and how much they’ll cost.

If you spend more time watching TV or listening to one or two people in quiet places. your needs will be different to someone’s who spends a lot of time in noisy environments with background noise.

The cost of hearing aids depends on where you buy them, your hearing loss, your style preference, your hearing needs, your budget and how much (if any) funding you’re eligible for.  There are many funding sources available (the Ministry of Health or Veterans’ Affairs or the ACC) that may contribute to the cost of your hearing aids and in some cases the professional fees for hearing tests and fittings.

The actual amount you pay can vary from nothing to several thousands of dollars.  Hearing aids can be a significant cost, so you should ensure that you get advice from a qualified Audiologist or Audiometrist (a Member of the NZAS).

Remember that anyone can fit and sell hearing aids, and anyone (qualified or not) can call themselves an Audiometrist or Audiologist.  Only Audiologist and Audiometrist Members of the NZAS can access Ministry of Health funding, and only MNZAS Audiologists can access funding from the ACC and Veterans’ Affairs.  Look for someone with the qualifications MNZAS or NZAS Audiometrist.

The amount you have to pay depends on the hearing aids you select and how much (if any) funding you are eligible for.

There are many funding sources available (the Ministry of Health or Veterans’ Affairs or the ACC) that may contribute to the cost of your hearing aids and in some cases the professional fees for hearing tests and fittings. The actual amount you pay can vary from nothing to several thousands of dollars.  Hearing aids can be a significant cost, so you should ensure that you get advice from a qualified hearing specialist.

Remember that anyone can fit and sell hearing aids, and anyone (qualified or not) can call themselves an Audiometrist or Audiologist.  Only Audiologist and Audiometrist Members of the NZAS can access Ministry of Health funding, and only MNZAS Audiologists can access funding from the ACC and Veterans’ Affairs.

Your Hearing Auckland Audiologist will discuss with you your hearing loss and hearing needs.  They’ll make a recommendation based on these things and your budget.  They’ll explain what results you can expect with each choice.

If your Audiologist or Audiometrist is accessing funding they must give you a written quote showing the full cost of your hearing aids including any fees and any non-refundable portion.  They must show the amount and source of funding they are claiming on your behalf. The quote must include at least two options which will cost different amounts, and they must explain the different results you can expect with each option.

Most hearing aids use replaceable batteries for their power source. You can buy replacement batteries from us at Hearing Auckland, or usually from pharmacies or supermarkets.  Hearing aid batteries typically last a week and cost about $1 each (or less depending on where you buy them).

Some hearing aids also have replaceable domes that go into your ear to deliver sound.  The tip of these is usually protected by a very small filter that is intended to prevent wax entering the small speaker inside the dome.  You will need to regularly replace the filter (about once a month) and the dome (about once every 6 months).  If you prefer, visit us and we’ll replace them for you.

Most hearing aid manufacturers offer a two or three years warranty that covers defects in manufacturing.  Most warranties exclude damage caused by ear wax or moisture entering and damaging the hearing aid, so it’s important that you follow our advice about use and care.

We generally think of our ear as the external part- the” lug” we put our glasses on top of.  Technically this is called the Pinna and it’s one of three parts of our ear, which is one of three parts of our hearing system.

Sound waves (partially collected and directed by the pinna) travel down the ear canal to the eardrum causing it to vibrate. The eardrum in turn vibrates three tiny bones in the middle ear, which also amplify these vibrations and ultimately vibrate the oval window at the base of the cochlea which houses the inner ear.  Oval window vibrations cause tiny hair cells in the cochlea to bend or move and stimulate fibers of the hearing nerve which transmits the signal to the brain.

Outer ear (Pinna and ear canal): The pinna helps to direct sound waves down the ear canal to the eardrum (tympanic membrane). The length and shape of the ear canal help to protect the eardrum from insects, flying debris and foreign objects such as cotton buds.

Middle ear – The eardrum and three miniscule bones that physically amplify sound and transmit it to the inner ear by vibrating the oval window.

Inner ear – Shaped like a snail, but it works like a microphone. The inner ear converts physical movements (vibrations of the oval window)  into electrical signals- nerve impulses- that are sent to the auditory cortex in the brain where we actually hear sounds.

Types of Hearing Loss

There are two types of temporary hearing loss- conductive or sensory. 

A temporary conductive hearing loss is usually caused when earwax totally blocks the ear canal, but it can be caused by anything that completely blocks the ear canal – earwax, debris, skin, foreign objects, and occasionally water.

A temporary conductive hearing loss can also be caused when the movement of the eardrum is restricted by pressure or fluid in the middle ear.  

Temporary conductive hearing loss due to ear wax can usually be alleviated by micro-suction. Hearing Auckland’s Ear Nurse and Ear Hygienist are fully trained in this procedure.  We recommend that if you wear hearing aids you have your ears cleaned regularly.  This can help prevent temporary hearing loss and expensive repairs otherwise caused by wax blocking the hearing aids and ruining the hearing aid speaker.

A temporary sensory hearing loss is typically due to excessive noise exposure and should be considered as a warning sign that noise is damaging your hearing.  Excessive noise exposure reduces the inner ear’s response to sound.  Hearing loss is initially temporary, but if the noise was very intense- from a blast for example, the inner ear can sustain permanent damage in an instant. Repeat doses of excessive noise exposure will lead to gradually increasing permanent hearing loss.  Your ears don’t get toughened by loud sounds, they get destroyed and you get deafened.

Hearing loss resulting from a problem in the outer or middle ear is called a conductive hearing loss.  Conductive hearing loss is most often due to ear wax which can be removed by micro-suction. Other causes of conductive hearing loss can usually be treated medically or surgically.


  • Blocked ear canal (usually blocked by ear wax)
  • Damage to the eardrum
  • Ear infection or fluid in the middle ear
  • Fixation (usually partial but can develop to complete) of one of  the bones of the middle ear (otosclerosis)


  • Frequently saying “what”
  • Reduction in the volume of sound- inability to hear faint sounds
  • Ear pain
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

Sensorineural Hearing loss is typically caused by damage to the inner ear or the hearing nerve, but it can refer to hearing loss due to damage in the auditory cortex- the hearing part of the brain.


  • Ageing
  • Noise exposure
  • Hereditary factors
  • Head injuries
  • Medication or other substances that are toxic to the auditory system


  • Frequently saying “what”
  • Reduction of the volume of sound
  • Distortion in sound clarity
  • Sensitivity to loud sound
  • Tinnitus

A conductive hearing loss and a sensorineural hearing loss in the same ear is called a mixed hearing loss.

Insurance Claims

Please contact us if you have to lodge an insurance claim for your hearing aid/s and we will assist you in the process. If you have to claim for damaged or lost hearing aids, some insurers may try and send you to a Triton hearing clinic for replacement. Please note that you do not have to attend Triton, you may get your replacement hearing aids from Hearing Auckland or your current provider. You may need to ask for your claim to be “paid out”. Hearing Auckland can assist with this.

Ear Wax Removal

Microscope assisted micro-suction is a safe, effective and quick procedure to remove ear wax (and other debris such a skin) from the ear canal.  During the procedure you will sit comfortably in a chair like a dentist’s chair. and the Ear Nurse or Hygienist will use a microscope to look down your ear canal.  They remove wax and debris using a fine tube connected to a suction device.

  • The Ear Hygienist or Hygienist will place a small cone into the entrance of your ear canal to aid vision and instrument placement.
  • They’ll look down your ear canal through a microscope to have a clear three dimensional view of your ear canal
  • A small probe attached to a suction tube will be carefully placed in your ear canal and used to remove wax and debris. 
  • You’ll hear the suction making a windy sound
  • Sometimes small forceps may be used to remove hard plugs of wax, skin and foreign objects.

  • If your ear canal is sensitive or inflamed you may be a little uncomfortable but the procedure should not be painful.
  • The movement of cold air in their ear canal can make some people feel a little dizzy. If it occurs, it is very short term and temporary.
  • A normal reaction to having something touch the inside of your ear canal is to cough. This is a normal reflex.

Each person produces varying amounts and types of wax. The Ear Hygienist will advise you how often you should have your ears suctioned. This will be more frequent if you wear hearing aids to avoid wax build up that may damage your hearing aids.