Know Your Rights: Hearing Services

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Know Your Rights has been compiled by Kerry Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public…

I’ve recently had trouble hearing, how can I get my hearing checked?

If you’ve noticed a problem with your own hearing, talk to your GP. Your GP may refer you to the HSE Community Audiology Service or an ear, nose and throat (ENT) service at a hospital. There is no charge to attend a public hospital outpatient clinic if you are referred there, including for people without a medical card.

The audiologist (a hearing specialist) or ENT specialist will examine your ear. They may test your hearing in different ways.

If the audiologist or ENT specialist decides you need a hearing test you can get a free hearing test if you have a medical card or are aged under 18.

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What if I need a hearing aid, is this free?

You can get a free hearing aid from the HSE audiology or hearing service if you:

• Have a medical card

• Are aged under 18 – Children under 18 get free hearing tests and hearing aids

• Have a Health Amendment Act (HAA) Card – The HAA card is for people who contracted Hepatitis C from contaminated blood or blood products within Ireland

If you cannot get a free hearing aid, the Treatment Benefit Scheme can help with the costs of buying one. You need to have enough PRSI contributions to qualify.

If you qualify for Treatment Benefit, the Department of Social Protection (DSP) pays the full cost of a hearing aid up to a maximum of €500 (€1,000 for a pair) once every 4 years. It also pays the full cost of repairs to aids, up to a maximum of €100, once every 4 years. The hearing aid may be provided by suppliers who have a contract with the DSP

Under certain conditions, you may be able to claim tax relief on the cost of purchasing a hearing aid.

If you have private health insurance, your policy may cover all or some of the cost of buying a hearing aid. Check your policy for details.

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What types of hearing aids does the HSE audiology service offer?

The type of hearing aids offered by the HSE are:

• digital
• multi-channel (they can switch between different pitches of sound)
• multi-programme (you can programme them for different listening conditions or sound environments)
• ‘behind the ear’ type

Can I get my hearing aid serviced or repaired free of charge? 

If you have a hearing aid from the HSE, you can post it to the HSE’s National Hearing Aid Repair Centre (NHARC) or you can use the walk-in service without an appointment. It is based in Dublin.

The NHARC offers advice on:

• How to use your hearing aid

• Any issues you might have with the hearing aid

If you are posting your hearing aid to the National Hearing Aid Repair Centre (NHARC), you should use a padded envelope and send it by registered post to ensure safe delivery. You should also include a piece of paper with your name, address, phone number and client reference number and a brief description of the problem you are having with your hearing aid. It can take up to 5 working days for your hearing aid to reach them.

The address is as follows:

HSE’s National Hearing Aid Repair Centre (NHARC),

Audiology Services (Dublin North City and County)

Grangegorman Primary Care Centre,

Upper Grangegorman Road,


Dublin 7

You can email them at:

The HSE has a list of other organisations that help and support deaf and hard-of-hearing adults and children, and their families in Ireland.

• For anyone needing information, advice or have an advocacy issue, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information team in Kerry on 0818 07 7860, they will be happy to assist and make an appointment if necessary.  The offices are staffed from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm.  Alternatively you can email on or log on to for further information.

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