Free dental, hearing and vision services

Auckland Regional Dental Services

This service is available for all pre-school, primary and intermediate children at ARDS clinics in the Auckland area. You can also claim free dental care for all adolescents from their first year of high school right up to their 18th birthday, regardless of whether they are still at school or employed. These services are provided through dental practices - simply contact ARDS and ask about available dentists in your area.

To enrol your child, simply call 0800 TALK TEETH (0800 825 583) and ask for an enrolment form to be sent to you. Your child's treatment and preventative needs will be assessed at your first appointment, then follow up appointments will be made each year, or as scheduled by your dental nurse or dentist.

Ministry of Health Hearing and Vision Services

The Ministry of Health funds a range of Hearing and Vision Services.

These services can help with the cost of:
  • hearing aids
  • cochlear implants
  • children’s spectacles
  • contact lenses.


There is a range of equipment which may benefit people who are blind or have reduced vision, including mobility canes, screenreading software, magnifiers and glasses.

Who can get equipment? 
If you are a New Zealand resident living in New Zealand, are blind, Deafblind or have reduced vision, and are not covered by ACC you may be able to get equipment through the Ministry of Health. Equipment may be provided to you at no charge. Children 15 years and under may be able to access a subsidy for glasses (see below).

How can I get equipment? 
An assessor completes an assessment of your needs, and may recommend glasses or other vision equipment. An assessor is usually an optometrist, eye specialist or a service coordinator for the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind. Not all optometrists and eye specialists are accredited vision assessors, so make sure to ask before you make an appointment. The assessor identifies what equipment is needed for you to be safe and independent at home and in the community, to work or study, or to look after someone who depends on you.

To apply for Ministry of Health funding the assessor sends an equipment application to Accessable (if you live in Auckland or Northland) or Enable New Zealand (if you live in the rest of New Zealand).

Types of equipment:
An assessor might recommend equipment such as mobility canes, screenreading software or magnifiers. High-cost equipment, such as sonar canes, to help with independent mobility will be considered if no other mobility resources meet your needs.

Subsidy for Glasses and Vision Tests (Spectacles Subsidy):
Children with vision problems, aged 15 years and under, who are in low income families may be able to get funding assistance for examinations, frames, lenses, eye patches and repairs. The most that can be paid is usually $287.50 (including GST) per year. The subsidy is available again after 12 months, if needed, for each child in your family who can get the subsidy. Your child will need to have an assessment by an optometrist or eye specialist who is registered as an assessor for this subsidy. The optometrist or ophthalmologist will fill out a form with your help, and send it with their bill to Enable New Zealand. You will need to pay any balance.

  • Check the Yellow Pages to choose a local optometrist.
  • The front section of your phone book has numbers for ophthalmologists.
  • When you make the appointment, check whether the optometrist or ophthalmologist can apply for the subsidy.
  • Check the cost of the vision test as this is included as part of the subsidy.
  • Hospital appointments - You may be able to get your child’s vision tested at your local hospital. The number for the hospital is in the front of your phone book.
There may be a waiting list for an appointment. If your child needs glasses you will still need to go to an optometrist or dispensing optician to get these. You cannot get glasses from the hospital.

An additional $51.11 (including GST) is available for children who need adult size frames.
You may be able to get this help to pay for glasses or repairs if your child’s vision is changing very quickly or if he or she has amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (squint). Talk to your local optometrist for more information about this extra funding. If at any time you have urgent concerns about your child’s vision or eyes, see your doctor, optometrist or go to your local hospital.

For more information, or to find an assessor, call Enable New Zealand on phone 0800 17 1981  

For more detailed information please view or download the PDF at the bottom of this page:
"Equipment for people who are blind or have reduced vision"

If you would like to view the Chinese, Maori, Cook Island, Hindi, Korean, Samoan or Tongan version, please click here


If you are a New Zealand resident living in New Zealand, and you have a permanent hearing loss or deafness which isn't covered by ACC or Veterans Affairs, you may be able to get equipment through the Ministry of Health. If you have both injury and non-injury related hearing loss you may be able to access funding for hearing aids from ACC and the Ministry of Health. This joint funding is administered by ACC.

Hearing aids:

You may be eligible for Ministry of Health funded hearing aid(s) if you have:
  • had severe long-term hearing loss since childhood
  • had onset of sudden and severe hearing loss during adulthood
  • a dual disability (such as deaf/blind or hearing loss and an intellectual disability).
You may also be eligible for Ministry of Health funded hearing aid(s) if you have a community services card, and the hearing aids are essential for you to:
  • work full-time (greater than 30 hours per week) or registered as seeking work
  • study at tertiary level or do vocational training leading to future employment (aged over 21 years)
  • do voluntary work (greater than 20 hours per week)
  • safely look after a dependent person full time.

Hearing aid subsidy:

If you need a hearing aid, but do not have a community services card or do not fit the criteria above, you may be able to get help with the cost of the hearing aid through a subsidy. An audiologist will be able to tell you more about this subsidy.

Hearing aids for children:

The Ministry of Health provides funding for hearing aids and FM (Frequency Modulation) systems for preschoolers, and hearing aids for children and young people aged 20 years and under who are studying at school or tertiary level. An audiologist in a District Health Board will be able to tell you more about this funding.

How can I get hearing aids?

If you want to get some funding assistance from the Ministry of Health towards the cost of hearing aid/s, you must have your assessment and recommendation for the hearing aid/s undertaken by an audiologist who is a member of the New Zealand Audiological Society. You can have your assessment with an audiologist working at a District Health Board or in private practice. If you visit a private audiologist you will have to pay for this assessment, and any fitting costs. The audiologist completes an assessment of your needs, and may recommend hearing aid(s) and/or other hearing or alerting equipment. If you need hearing aids for any of the reasons outlined above, the audiologist can make an application to Accessable or Enable New Zealand for funding assistance. You may need to pay towards the costs of the hearing aid(s).

Assistive hearing and alerting:

If you need equipment other than hearing aids to enable you to work or study or to help you live safely in your own home, you may be able to get help through the Ministry of Health. Assistive hearing and alerting equipment include items such as fax machines and visual or vibrating alerts (eg, smoke detectors or door bells). Standard amplified telephones and smoke alarms are not funded. Assessors for hearing or alerting equipment can be audiologists, hearing therapists or service coordinators from the Deaf Association and Royal NZ Foundation of the Blind.

Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand promotes Deaf awareness and the use of sign language, and provides a range of services to the community such as education programmes and interpreter services. They can work with you to help you get the equipment you need.
Phone/TTY - 09 828 3282
Fax - 09 828 3235

Hearing Therapy Services are funded by the Ministry of Health and provided free of charge. Hearing therapists can assess your hearing needs, provide information about hearing aids and other equipment, teach you how to improve communication and help you get the equipment you need.
Phone - 0800 008 011      
Fax - 04 499 5853


For more detailed information you can view or download the following PDFs at the bottom of this page:

"Are You Deaf or Do You Find it Difficult to Hear? " If you would like to view the Samoan, Cook Island or Tongan version, please click here
"Equipment for people who are blind or have reduced vision" If you would like to view the Samoan, Tongan or Cook Island version, please click here
"Equipment for People who are Deaf or Have Hearing Loss"
"Update – Changes to the way ACC funds hearing aids"
"Update – Eligibility Criteria for Hearing Aids"
Kate Johns,
Jun 30, 2013, 7:24 PM
Kate Johns,
Jun 30, 2013, 7:24 PM
Kate Johns,
Jun 30, 2013, 7:24 PM
Kate Johns,
Jun 30, 2013, 7:24 PM
Kate Johns,
Jun 30, 2013, 7:24 PM
Kate Johns,
Jun 30, 2013, 7:25 PM