The Netherlands

Organisation and finance
The Netherlands offer public help to almost everybody who requires hearing aids. There is an automatic minimum subsidy of approx. 500 euro. Every five years users have the right to a new hearing aid and a new minimum subsidy. If the user waits for six years the grant increases to 600 euro and after seven years it rises to approx. 700 euro.

Only patients having a hearing loss exceeding 35 dB in the better ear at 1000 Hz, 2000 Hz and 4000 Hz are eligible for public help. The system is administered by the Dutch Ministry of Health, but the payments are made by social insurance companies, working for the state authorities.

Testing and treatment
Patients in The Netherlands should see an ENT specialist or visit an audiological centre for testing and diagnosing. The hearing aid itself will be fitted and customised by an authorised private dispenser who is also in charge of instruction and counselling in the use of the hearing aid.

Patients with special needs can have other expenses, for example for courses, paid for by the public authorities.

Other equipment, such as induction loops and special telephones are subsidised for up to 75 per cent of the costs.

Waiting lists
Waiting lists vary, depending upon the hospital/audiological centre involved. The waiting period, however, is usually 2-3 months.

Types of hearing aids
Dutch patients with hearing impairment have the freedom of choice between analogue, digital technology and BTE, ITE and ITC types.

Batteries and service
Batteries are paid for by the user. Hearing aids once purchased can be tested by the user for 4-6 weeks, during which it is possible to return them and try another type.

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