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FCC Proposes Rules for Hearing Aid Compatibility with Wireless Phones

04.09.2012 – The FCC issued a Third Report and Order (R&O) “In the Matter of Amendment of the Commission’s Rules Governing Hearing Aid-Compatible Mobile Handsets” [WT Docket No. 07-250] revising the Commission’s rules on hearing aid compatibility (HAC) technical standards. The R&O adds the new 2011 American National Standards Institute (ANSI) technical standards to the existing 2007 ANSI standards to evaluate hearing aid compatibility with wireless devices, helping to ensure that consumers have access to wireless communication services without having to experience interference from radio frequencies or other technical sources.  Included in the new 2011 ANSI technical standards are expanded operating frequency ranges for wireless devices covered from the 2007 standard, which included 800 MHz – 950 MHz and 1.6 GHz, to the new 2011 standard, which includes 2.5 GHz to 2.5 GHz to 698 MHz – 6GHz, and direct methods of measuring radio frequency interference from wireless devices.  In addition to the new standards, the R&O adopts a 12 month transition period in which multi-band and multi-mode handsets can be certified as hearing aid compatible by the 2007 ANSI standards, after which these handsets must meet 2011 ANSI standards. Finally, the rules adopt a 24-27 month transition period for manufacturers and service providers to “apply the Commission’s existing deployment benchmarks to handset operations over” the additional frequencies covered by 2011 ANSI standards.  The new rules reflect technological advances made since the previous adoption of the 2007 ANSI standards, such as new 4G phones which utilize the 700 MHz band, and allow for compatibility greater number of HAC compliance wireless handsets. [Source: FCC]

 Additional Information:

Third Report and Order

[ http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2012/db0409/DA-12-550A1.pdf]

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The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies is sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under grant number 90RE5007-01-00. The opinions contained in this website are those of the Wireless RERC and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or NIDILRR.