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HMRC internal manual

VAT Health

Hearing aid dispensers: How the profession operates

Most hearing aids are dispensed free to NHS patients. The dispensing forms part of the statutory provision of healthcare by the NHS and is therefore a non-business activity. All NHS matters are dealt with by the NHS Compliance Team within Local Compliance, and so this sub-section of the guidance deals only with hearing aid dispensing carried out by private operators.

The dispensing of hearing aids is strictly regulated. It is a criminal offence for anyone to dispense hearing aids unless they are registered with the Health Professional Council or a trainee under the supervision of a registered dispenser. Hearing aid dispensers need to have some medical knowledge as hearing impairment may be due to some condition which will not respond to a hearing aid and which should be medically referred.