The HSE audiology service provides help with hearing loss for children and adults.
The audiology service is free for all children under 18 and eligible adults in Ireland. It is also free for students until they leave third level education.
To use the service, you'll need a medical professional (such as your GP) to refer you. In some cases, your GP may refer you to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) consultant at a hospital.
How to get your hearing checked inIreland
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 are aged under 18.
If you need a hearing aid you can get it free from the HSE audiology service if you:
- Have a medical card
- Are aged under 18
- Have a Health Amendment Act Card
If you are not eligible for a free hearing aid, you may be able to get help with the costs of repairing or getting a new hearing aid under the Treatment Benefit Scheme.
You may also be able to claim tax relief on hearing aids.
If you have private health insurance, check with your insurance company whether your policy covers hearing aid costs.
You can read about the types of hearing aids the HSE offer and the process of getting a hearing aid for your needs. The ENT audiology service does not work with hearing aids.
Hearing services for children
Hearing tests and any help with hearing loss (such as hearing aids) are free for children up to the age of 18. Your child be can referred to children's audiology services by a paediatrician, a public health nurse or the National Newborn Hearing Screening Programme (below).
Hearing services for newborn babies
When your baby is born you will be offered a newborn hearing screening to check if your baby has permanent hearing loss in one or both ears.
Your baby may be referred to the paediatric audiologist after the screening. If so, the screener will arrange your appointment with the paediatric audiologist. They will do diagnostic hearing tests on your baby.
Hearing services for older children
For older children, your GP or another healthcare professional may refer your child to the HSE community audiology department. The audiology service will arrange your appointment.
If you're worried about your child’s hearing, speak to your GP or public health nurse. You can read more about your children’s development and hearing.
Getting a hearing aid checked or fixed
If you have received a HSE hearing aid, you can get it checked and repaired for free. You can send it by post to the National Hearing Aid Repair Centre or you can use the walk-in service without an appointment. Find contact details on the HSE website.
Read more about getting your hearing aid repaired for free by the HSE.
If you are referred to the HSE audiology service, you'll be told which centre to visit. Find contact details for audiology centres across Ireland.
The HSE has a list of organisations that help and support deaf and hard-of-hearing adults and children, and their families in Ireland.