Organisation and finance
Finland has a public hearing health care system but private dispensers do also exist.

In the public system hearing aids are free of charge for any person who needs a hearing aid.

In the public hearing health care system the hearing-impaired person can be supplied with a number of pre-selected types of hearing aids. If a special type of hearing aid is required they must be bought from a private dispenser. Digital hearing aids, for instance, are not commonly dispensed in the public system.

If you buy hearing aids at a private hearing health clinic you cannot receive public subsidies.

Testing and treatment
Like most other Scandinavian countries, Finland has a system of public hearing health clinics or "centres" which are usually located at public general hospitals. When the family doctor or ENT-doctor suspects that his patient is hearing-impaired, the patient will be referred to a hearing centre where the actual fitting of the hearing aids is undertaken by a doctor or a hearing health care professional.

People can also go to a private hearing aid dispenser.

Waiting lists
In Finland people have to wait between a few months and up to two years to be fitted with hearing aids. In Finland the trend is as follows: The larger the hospital, the longer the waiting list. Hearing-impaired people who are young or who are in work have priority over for example elderly patients.

If people choose to go to a private dispenser there are practically no waiting lists involved when having hearing aids fitted.

Types of hearing aids
Modern digital hearing aids are not commonly dispensed in the public hearing health care system in Finland. An analogue hearing aid for use in a single ear is the most
commonly dispensed.

When people go to a private dispenser they can buy the hearing aids they prefer.

Batteries and service
Generally, batteries are free of charge for children under the age of 16 whereas all other patients must pay the full cost. However, some local authorities provide batteries for everybody. Service and maintenance is usually financed by the public authorities.

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