FCC Adopts Rules to Update Hearing Aid Compatibility Requirements

For people with hearing loss, using a phone can often be a challenge, even if they have hearing aids. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recognizes these problems and is working on a solution. They require that mobile wireless services and the manufacturers that provide the phones must be compatible with cochlear implants and hearing aids. As of October 24, they’ve updated these rules to include technical details about compatibility with wireless and wired (landline) telephones.

The Hearing Aid Compatibility Act

Under the original act, the FCC must create rules that work to ensure that people with hearing loss will have access to phones manufactured in the United States, or those imported to be used in this country. The reasoning behind this ruling is so the millions of people with mild-to-severe hearing loss will have access to communication services and technologies that can be critical for their safety.

The order created a new standard for landline handsets to create a truer measurement of voice amplification. It also puts into place the requirement that all manufacturers make wired telephones with advanced communications services follow the act’s requirements. This order will include phones with VoIP, (Voice-Over-Internet Protocol) services. The act requires that all these phones be compliant within 24 months.

Future Requirements

The FCC recognizes that cell phones are becoming increasingly used as the only means of communication in many households. Because of this, the Order also states that all new cellphones advertising as being hearing aid compatible, have to include a volume control device that’s usable by customers with hearing loss. The ruling states that these phones must have this feature within 36 months.

Further, the Order reinforces the responsibility for all communication providers of their outreach obligations. Companies need to make sure they inform their customers of their available hearing aid compatible technology, using commonly observed means such as their advertising or websites.

Learn About New Technology

As a person with hearing loss, it can be challenging learning about the kind of technology that’s available to you. The wide range of phones, both wired and wireless, can make for a confusing choice when you’re trying to find one that works with your hearing aids. If you need help working through the maze of options, contact U.S. Hearing Solutions for a consultation.