Hearing Aid Compatibility: A Success for the Accessibility Community

The wireless industry has worked hard to serve the accessibility community, and we are proud of the strides we have made. As we announced last week at the show, we have updated our AccessWireless.org to help people with disabilities find the right wireless devices and service plans. Thanks to the MMF’s GARI system, the website will reflect the continually innovative new wireless technologies that our members create.

In our recent comments to the FCC on Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC), we recommended several steps the FCC should take as it reviews its HAC requirements. To ensure that wireless HAC rules continue to be effective and fair, the FCC should:

  • Continue to monitor the implementation and enforcement of HAC handset benchmarks and reporting rules;
  • Quickly incorporate new technical HAC standards into its rules; and
  • Reach out to hearing aid manufacturers and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine the best way of incorporating the manufacturers into the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) C63.19 rating and disclosure framework.

The wireless HAC rules the FCC has enacted have been effective because the Commission has consistently accounted for technical feasibility and marketability concerns and has taken a consensus-based approach to HAC implantation. That includes benchmarks, technical standards and consumer disclosure language. We urge the Commission to continue let the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 guide their approach to new technologies and to accessibility policy in general.

CTIA and our members remain committed to ongoing dialogue and collaboration with standards bodies and other organizations to resolve technical and other HAC issues as they arise. With a consensus-driven approach, regulation is not necessary.

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