Eligible pensioners and veterans with hearing loss are supported quite well in Australia, even though the system is far from perfect.
The Australian Hearing Services Program offer a range of fully subsidised hearing aids to eligible Australian pensioners and veterans. (Check your eligibility here) They also have access to partially subsidised hearing aids, should they choose additional features not available in the free to client models.
The hearing aids on the Fully subsidised list is truly a mixed bag with varying features and capabilities. Some hearing aids on that list are more than 8 years old (at the time of writing). 8 Years is a very, very long time in hearing aids. This variation in technical capabilities and the fact that retailers are not required to offer all the various models available, means some providers could use these older, less capable models, as a way to encourage eligible pensioners and veterans, to "top-up" to more capable partially subsidised models, despite much better featured models being available from other brands as fully subsidised options. They can simply opt not to stock these better featured models!
Unitron DX Stride and Insera M 3 to the rescue!
Unitron Australia has taken a significant step towards offering what in my opinion is the best fully subsidised (Free to eligible pensioners and veterans) hearing aid currently available.
Here is why I say that. Unitron is owned by Sonova, who also makes Phonak, their premium Brand. The Unitron DX range is based upon the Phonak Marvel range of hearing aids. Stride DX M3 is equivalent to the Marvel Bolero M30-312, which is classed as a top up hearing aid and a very good one at that. So having the technology of the Unitron DX Stride 3M available at no additional charge to pensioners is a very pleasant and welcome addition.
Why is this Hearing aid so good?
First of all, it is based on the very successful hearing aid chip found in Phonak Marvel v.2.0. This means it has excellent sound quality and performance, but it really comes into its own due to its connectivity options. The Unitron DX Stride M 3 is a made for all hearing aid. This means it can connect via Bluetooth classic to any Bluetooth phone (not just iPhone like some) or any Bluetooth computer. It also supports wireless accessories such as Phonak's Roger Select iN , Remote control (there is also an app for this), Remote microphone and TV connector. All of this connects directly to those devices without any intermediate neck worn or clip on device.
It even has the smarts to figure out the signal being streamed from your phone or another source. This means it does things differently depending on whether you are listening to speech (like a podcast or movie) vs listening to music, thus giving you the best sound not matter what you are listening to.
It also allows for hands free mobile phone calls without an additional accessory, which is a first in the fully subsidised category.
That is not where things stop however. It has some nice features such as the ability to automatically change its settings depending on whether you are listening to speech in quiet or speech in noise. The frequency compression 2 feature helps with very severe high frequency hearing losses, giving audibility to clarity related sounds, which would be inaudible with other technology. It also has a feature to reduce the annoyance of sudden loud bangs or clangs, has electronic wind noise reduction, a built-in telecoil and even features a tinnitus masker among a host of other features.
To top it off, this range can also be remotely adjusted (Bluetooth models) via the smartphone app and even features FlexUpgrade™, which allows you to upgrade the hearing aid to a higher model later on as your needs might change!
The Unitron DX Stride M 3 is a behind the ear hearing aid that can be fitted with a thin tube and domes or with a traditional thick tube with mould for more severe hearing loss. It can fit hearing loss from mild through to moderately severe.
So all in all an amazing hearing aid for the price (free! - to eligible pensioners and veterans).
The only reason left to consider topping up would be if you need more assistance in noise than this offers(basic assistance), need rechargeability or if you need something smaller or with different features.
So if you are in the market for new hearing aids though the HSP government system, make sure you ask about the Unitron DX Stride 3 M as there is currently nothing else as well featured available with no out of pocket expense to eligible pensioners and veterans.
The Unitron DX Insera W 312 DIRECTIONAL 3 is the in the ear version of the same aid and has the same benefits.
We have this available to all our clients and it is now the go to fully subsidised option for our HSP clients, who want an over the ear hearing aid.
Speak to us today about an appointment.
NOTE: the DX 3M is also available in an in the ear model called the DX Insera W 312 DIRECTIONAL 3, which has all the same features and benefits as the Stride DX M 3 but in a small in the ear style. It is also fully subsidised like the Stride.
The Dx range is not currently available in any white labelled brands, so if it does not say Unitron DX on the box, it is not Unitron DX!
Your provider has to issue you a quote containing the device codes of the hearing aids. Do not accept it if told this one is similar and it does not have the same device code. There are older models still available that have no where close to these capabilities.
The DX stride M 3 (behind the ear)'s device code is: B704PHO
While the DX Insera W 312 Directional 3 (in the canal)'s device code is: C312PHO
The DX Insera 312 OMNI 3 is a smaller in the ear hearing aid, but does not have directional microphones for better hearing in noise and it also does not have the wireless connection ability. It's device code is: C311PHO