Question No. 296
To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the average waiting time for approval of subsidies under the Seniors Mobility and Enabling fund for hearing aids from time of application; (b) how much do hearing aids typically cost without subsidies; and (c) as Singaporeans live longer lives, whether there are plans to extend the subsidy beyond the first device.
Dr Tan Wu Meng
MP for Jurong GRC
To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the median age of a first-time recipient of a subsidised hearing aid; and (b) what is the median,10th percentile, and 90th percentile operational lifespan of a subsidised hearing aid device.
1 The Seniors’ Mobility & Enabling Fund (SMF) supports seniors as they age by providing eligible Singaporeans aged 60 years and above with means-tested subsidies to offset the cost of home healthcare items and assistive devices. The median age of seniors receiving hearing aids under the SMF is 77.
2 SMF applications are processed immediately. Once an application is submitted with all the required information, the application would typically be approved within a day if the applicant meets all the eligibility criteria.
3 A standard hearing aid costs around $3,000 to $3,200 before subsidies. The device can typically last for 3 to 5 years. However, the actual lifespan differs depending on factors such as how well the device is maintained.
4 Currently, SMF subsidies support seniors with the purchase of their first device only. Nonetheless, we recognise that there may be circumstances where seniors may need a replacement device. In such cases, the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) will approve a replacement on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the senior’s circumstances.
5 My Ministry will continue to review the SMF parameters, in view of the changing and growing needs of our seniors.