Hear, Hear PEI
According to Statistics Canada, 40% of adults aged 20 to 79 have at least slight hearing loss in one or both ears. With the cost of hearing aids averaging between $1,500 and $4,000 each, many Islanders who need hearing aids are unable to afford them.
The Hear, Hear PEI program is intended to improve the quality of life for adult Islanders with hearing loss. The program is currently administered by the PEI Senior Citizens’ Federation, a non-profit charitable organization serving Islanders since 1971, but was originally launched by Rose and Mike Barbour in 2017.
Hear, Hear PEI is an application based program that provides new or reconditioned hearing aids to eligible low income adults who have no other sources of funding with which to purchase hearing aids and are unable to obtain assistance elsewhere.
To qualify for this program, you must be a resident of Prince Edward Island and you must have a valid Prince Edward Island Health Card.
Before applying for assistance from the Hear, Hear PEI program, applicants must meet income eligibility requirements. The Hear, Hear PEI program uses Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) to determine income eligibility. Applicants must be at or below LICO income levels to qualify for the Hear, Hear PEI program. Income levels are based on the number of persons in a household.
2020 amounts for LICO Annual Household Income are: single person household $25,920, two person household $32,270, three person household $39,672, four person household $48,166. For more than four persons, add $6,984 for each additional person.
Applicants must verify their income eligibility by attaching the following two documents to the Hear, Hear PEI application: Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Notice of Assessment for 2019 AND 2019 T1 (General Income Tax Return). If you need assistance with this, contact Canada Revenue at 1-800-959-8281.
Hear, Hear PEI is for adults who do not qualify for hearing aid assistance under any other program.
If you have access to other benefits such as private insurance, APSEA assistance, VAC Health Benefits, PEI AccessAbility Support Program, NIHB Non-Insured Health Benefits or Worker’s Compensation you are not eligible to apply for this program. A list of other possible funding sources for hearing aids or devices are listed below. Please contact those programs that may apply and verify whether or not you are eligible. In some cases, we may ask you to provide documentation that you applied to another program and were denied.
Have a Hearing Test
If you meet the income eligibility criteria and do not qualify for assistance under any other program, your next step is to get a hearing test. A referral from your family physician, nurse practitioner, public health nurse, or speech language pathologist will insure the cost of the hearing test is covered under your provincial healthcare. A copy of a recent hearing test (less than twelve months old) has to accompany your application form, so this is an important step.
When you have your referral, you may contact any qualified hearing professional to obtain your hearing test. We recommend Steve Wong at PEI Hearing Consultants (our partner clinic) located in the Polyclinic Building, 199 Grafton Street, Suite 310 in Charlottetown, as he will be fitting you with your hearing aid if you are approved for this program. Their telephone number is 902-629-8834.
Number of Hearing Aids Available
While we wish we could provide all qualified applicants with hearing aids within a short time after receiving their completed application, it’s not always possible.
The number of hearing aids available for qualified applicants depends upon the number of used hearing aids donated to the program. Thus, it is important to keep in mind that submitting a completed application (with all supporting documentation) and meeting the program criteria does not guarantee you will receive a hearing aid within the year you apply.
Once applications are received and reviewed, applicants who are eligible will be placed on a list to receive a hearing aid. Hearing aids are distributed on a first come, first served basis. No exceptions.
If you are approved to receive a hearing aid, please note you will be responsible to pay a $100 nonrefundable administration fee due at the time you are fitted for your hearing aid. You are also responsible for the cost of custom ear molds, batteries, and any future hearing aid repair, adjustment or replacement fees.
The following sources may provide funding for hearing aids or devices:
GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS
Employer or school insurance plans may provide extended health benefits for policy holders and their dependents to cover some or all of the expenses related to the purchase of hearing aids or devices.
ATLANTIC PROVINCES SPECIAL EDUCATION AUTHORITY (APSEA)
Children up to and including 21 years old who require hearing aids can receive significant discounts on hearing devices through APSEA (902-424-8500). Their families can apply for assistance with funding through the Provincial Disability Support Program in coordination with the Provincial Audiologist (902-368-5807).
ACCESSABILITY SUPPORT PROGRAM
Individuals with a hearing loss of 50 dB or more can apply to this program for assistance. Applicants must have a recommendation from an audiologist. For adult applicants the level of funding from the program is based on income. For information call 902-877-0546.
FIRST NATIONS AND INUIT HEALTH BRANCH (FNIHB)
If you are eligible for FNIHB Non-Insured Health Benefits (status card), hearing aids and accessories is a covered benefit for you and your eligible dependents. For information call 1-866-963-7700.
VETERANS AFFAIRS CANADA (VAC)
Qualified veterans, former and current members of the Canadian Forces (CF), former and current members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), as well as their dependents, survivors, and some civilians, qualify for VAC health benefits, including hearing aids. For information call 1-866-522-2122.
If your hearing loss is related to a workplace injury, your hearing aids may be covered in full or part by the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of Prince Edward Island. The WCB provides workplace injury insurance for Island workers. For information call 902-368-5680.
Obtaining an Application
If you meet the eligibility criteria and would like to obtain an application to the Hear, Hear PEI program, contact the PEI Senior Citizens’ Federation at 902-368-9008. All information provided to the program by applicants is confidential.