Audiologists assess and manage hearing and listening disorders, and help to rehabilitate people with hearing loss.

They test a person's hearing and measure the type and degree of any hearing loss.

Audiologists work closely with ear, nose, and throat specialists, paediatricians, Ministry of Education specialists and hearing screeners.

Eligibility criteria for hearing tests

Hearing tests are available for:

  • children and young people up to the age of 21 (provided they are full-time students)

  • adult Community Services Card holders

  • adults referred by a hospital specialist

People outside of this criteria will need to be assessed at a private clinic.

About hearing assessments

Hearing assessments may include:

  • auditory brainstem response

  • visual reinforcement audiometry

  • play audiometry

  • distortion product otoacoustic emissions

  • acoustic immittance testing

  • conventional audiometry

  • auditory processing disorder assessments

Eligibility criteria for hearing aids


The Ministry of Health provides free hearing aids and related services for children and young people (up to the age of 21 who are full-time students).

There is no significant wait list for children's hearing aids because hearing is essential to early speech, language and social development.


To be eligible for free hearing aids via the public service, adults must hold a current Community Services Card and either:

There may be a waiting list for adults and this can exceed two years unless there are significant safety concerns.

The referral process

Referrals are accepted from:

  • general practitioners (doctors)

  • ear, nose and throat specialists

  • paediatricians

  • Plunket nurses

  • speech and language therapists

  • newborn hearing screeners

  • vision and hearing screeners

Referrals are prioritised based on the information we receive.

If you are able to attend an appointment at short notice, please let us know so that we can reschedule the appointment.

Locations and contact details


Nelson Hospital
Outpatient Department
Level 2

Phone: (03) 546 1780

Email: [email protected]

Hours: Monday to Friday 8am-4.30pm (excluding public holidays)


Wairau Hospital
Outpatient Department

Phone: (03) 520 6366 

Email: [email protected]

Hours: Monday to Thursday 8am-4.30pm (excluding public holidays)