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After years of exposure to noisy work environments, thousands of New Zealanders have permanent hearing loss.

ACC law change campaign

We continue to advocate on behalf of people with noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

Hundreds of people with work-related hearing loss have contacted us because they have been denied hearing aids. Many simply cannot afford the aids, or would suffer serious hardship if they paid for them.

Continued pressure from the Foundation has resulted in ACC significantly increasing funds for hearing rehabilitation. 

Read more on noise-induced hearing loss

Donate to our campaign

Timeline

  • 1.

    May 2012: The Foundation takes a combined case on behalf of six claimants to the Human Rights Commission, alleging that the ACC law is discriminating against people on the basis of age and disability.

  • 2.

    August 2013: ACC invites the Foundation to a meeting to discuss a review of its regulations on part-payments for hearing loss claims.

  • 3.

    May 2014:  ACC announces policy changes. From July 1 2014, subsidies for a pair of hearing aids will increase, starting at $3157.90 and rising to a maximum of $4953.05 (up from $1403-$4830).

Law change still needed

Together with HIMADA (Hearing Instrument Manufacturers and Distributors Association) and the New Zealand Audiological Society, the Foundation is still working to remove the 6% hearing loss threshold, which is discriminatory. This will require a change to the ACC Act.

If part of your hearing loss is defined as age-related or from another cause, ACC will further reduce the amount offered. Many claimants are unable to afford the balance, and many go without.

Why does ACC breach the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities?

Our government has signed the convention and is required to implement it. The Foundation contends that the ACC Act changes are discriminatory and breach the convention. In particular:

•  the automatic age scale begins at 57 for men and 65 for women, even if they have no age-related hearing loss.
•  all NIHL claims must reach a 6% threshold before ACC provides rehabilitation.

 

 

 

Here is what you can do if your ACC claim has been denied:

1. Apply for ACC to review the decision. Click here  to go to the ACC review page.
You will need new information; such as an independent ENT (ear, nose and throat specialist) report and/or a report from an independent Occupational Medical Specialist. Click here to find one in your region

 

 

2. For help with your review, you may want to get an advocate to guide you and to speak to ACC on your behalf. 
Click here for a directory of advocates
Furthermore, The Citizens Advice Bureau may also be able to help you. 

 

 

3. If you believe the final ruling is still unjust, we recommend you contact the Human Rights Commission on freephone 0800 496 877, and lodge a complaint with the Health and Disability Commissioner via their website. 

 

 

4. Contact us with details of your claim and the outcome on 0800 867 446 or by email: 
[email protected]