The NDIA has released some much anticipated information about eligibility for support under the NDIS for people with a hearing loss aged from 0-26 years. In this first update to guidelines relating specifically to deafness and hearing loss under the new requirements for early intervention, the NDIA stated:
“The NDIA will be satisfied that a person meets the early intervention requirements without further assessment when the person:
- is aged between birth and 25 years of age; and
- has confirmed results from a specialist audiological assessment (including electrophysiological testing when required) consistent with auditory neuropathy OR hearing loss ≥ 25 decibels in either ear at 2 or more adjacent frequencies, which is likely to be permanent or long term; and
- the hearing loss of the person necessitates the use of personal amplification.”
DCA is pleased to see the threshold for eligibility being set lower than it is currently for government funded services. More children and young people who are deaf or hard of hearing qualify under these guidelines, meaning that they can access crucial support services. This may also mean that some who thought themselves ineligible may now have the opportunity to be successful in obtaining NDIS funding.
However, the use of amplification (hearing aids, cochlear implants or other devices) seems to be a requirement for those applying for early intervention services in these guidelines. For some of these children or young people with a unilateral loss, particularly mild to moderate losses, aiding may not be clinically indicated by their hearing loss. And the use of personal amplification should be a choice, rather than a requirement to receive support services. Yet early intervention may still be of significant benefit for these children and young people, especially in monitoring their developmental progress.
The information about eligibility for early intervention services can be found on the NDIS website.