FCC Releases Amendment to Hearing Aid Compatibility Rules

May 29, 2012 in Technology
FCC Releases Amendment to Hearing Aid Compatibility Rules

On April 9, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission released a Third Report and Order amending its rules governing hearing aid-compatible mobile handsets.  In the order, the FCC adopted a new technical standard, the 2011 ANSI Standard.  The FCC noted that this new standard benefits both manufacturers, service providers, and consumers.  There will be a transition period of 12 months.
The Report and Order states:
“We hereby adopt the 2011 ANSI Standard, as proposed, as an applicable technical standard for evaluating the hearing aid compatibility of wireless phones.  The commenters unanimously support this proposal.  
“Codification of the 2011 ANSI Standard serves the public interest by applying the Commission’s hearing aid compatibility rules to operations over additional frequency bands and air interface technologies.  The new testing methodologies in the 2011 ANSI Standard will also greatly improve the measurement of potential hearing aid interference.  We find that adopting this new technical standard will not raise any major compliance issues or impose materially greater obligations with respect to newly covered frequency bands and air interfaces than those already imposed under the Commission’s rules. We also find no evidence that adopting the 2011 ANSI Standard will impose significant costs on manufacturers or service providers.”
It is heartening that these new rules were agreed upon by all parties – the industry, manufacturers, and consumers.  Among the consumer organizations commenting on the proposed rules were: Hearing Loss Association of America, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Telecommunications Access, Association of Late-Deafened Adults, National Association of the Deaf, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network, and Hands & Voices.
If you have a lot of time on your hands, you can read the full 31-page document at http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2012/db0409/DA-12-550A1.pdf
Need help in choosing a cell phone? Watch this 5- part video series of Hearing Aid Compatibility Videos: