A survey in 2013 conducted by the Census and Statistics Department involving persons with disabilities and chronic diseases stated that there are 155,200 people who have hearing impairment in Hong Kong.
That accounts to 2.2% of the total population of Hong Kong and 117,600 out of the total 155,200 persons with hearing difficulty are aged 65 or above.
This includes people who perceived themselves as having long-term difficulty in hearing or using specialised hearing aids or rehabilitation tools at the time of survey.
A lot of elderly people lack the financial means to buy hearing aids, which could cost as high as several thousand to several tens of thousand dollars.
In Hong Kong, the government is providing subsidies to elderly people. They pay for the costs of hearing tests and hearing aids.
They impose no upper limit in the scope of application of the Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme which aims to enhance the safety and quality of life of elderly people.
Hong Kong’s general out-patient clinics (GOPCs) of the Hospital Authority (HA) refers patients with hearing difficulty to the ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists which shall follow-up according to their clinical conditions and needs. They will provide appropriate hearing assessment and treatment for persons with hearing difficulty.
The Hospital Authority has 29 audiologists and audiology technicians that help provide timely hearing tests and treatment according to the diagnosis made by ENT specialists and the needs of patients.
The Department of Health reviews the manpower requirement from time to time to monitor the service demand. This ensures audiology-related services for everyone who needs it.
Eligible seniors may use health care vouchers to pay for healthcare services provided by healthcare professionals assigned under the Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme.
This includes hearing assessment services provided by enrolled doctors.
Medical items which are not covered by the standard fees and charges in public hospitals and clinics are provided by the Hospital Authority thru the Samaritan Fund safety net.
They pay for hearing aids, and the replacement of external speech processors of cochlear implants and other accessories.
Patients who needed financial assistance for privately purchased medical items or new technologies required in the course of medical treatment will be referred right away to the Samaritan Fund to get immediate assistance.
Patients who have met the specified clinical requirements will be referred to SF for financial assistance because health care vouchers cannot be used for purchasing products such as medication or medical equipment.
To sum up, the Hong Kong government is really extending all the assistance to their elderly who are most prone to the effects of hearing impairment.
If you think you need a hearing aid, make sure to get a hearing aid prescription. For more details of our hearing test & assessment, and hearing aid services, please contact HK Hearing & Speech Centre.
HK Hearing & Speech Centre
Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,
and Hearing Aid Prescription