While a standard hearing clinic receives funding from the government to supply you with hearing aid batteries and parts for hearing aids, they cannot access the additional funding that Australian Hearing receives for complex clients such as cochlear implant wearers. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that a standard hearing provider will be able to subsidise your cochlear implant parts and batteries. You are under no obligation to transfer to Australian Hearing, but people who have a cochlear implant and meet the following criteria are eligible to receive services from the Australian Hearing Cochlear Implant Support Program.The criteria are: under 26 years of age and an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or an adult who meets the eligibility criteria for the Australian Government Hearing Services program and has a valid Hearing Services Card (the cost for this card is currently $40.53 per year or free for some eligible Department of Veterans Affairs card holders). If you meet these criteria, Australian Hearing subsidises the cost of batteries required for your processor. This is useful as these higher voltage batteries are more expensive than your standard hearing aid batteries. They will also subsidise the cost of replacement parts - cables, coils, microphone cover replacements, battery units and dry briks for your drying unit. If you qualify for a Hearing Services Card, the yearly fee is minimal if you consider that by using standard disposable batteries you will be paying $300 to $500 to power your processor. In addition, if a cable or coil/cable combination breaks down you would be paying about $90 to $470 to have it replaced. If a battery unit broke down (such as a BTE controller) it could be an additional $500. All parts except for the processor normally only have a 12-month warranty. The dry briks required for drying units (such as the Zephyr or Breeze devices) cost about $18 for a pack of 3 with each brik lasting around 2 months. (It is highly recommended that you place your processor in a drying unit to help prevent moisture damage).
If your processor is out of warranty (3-year warranty for Cochlear Ltd and Advanced Bionics processors and 5-year warranty for Med-El processors), it can cost somewhere between $300 to $400 to have it repaired.As a client of Australian Hearing these repair costs would be fully subsidised. You can see how costs can easily accumulate especially once your parts and processor are out of warranty. The Australian Hearing program is very generous and we are fortunate here in Australia that people who are on a pension or are under 26 years of age receive so much support. If you don't qualify for Australian Hearing's services, at least later processor models have the option of rechargeable battery units that can help diminish your power consumption costs. Whether or not you are on a pension, if you lose your processor or it is damaged beyond repair outside the warranty period, Australian Hearing will not replace the unit for you. So, it is strongly recommended that you insure your external speech processor at its replacement value.