FCC Releases Haring Aid Compatibility NPRM

The Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the Commission’s hearing aid compatibility (HAC) rules for wireline handsets.  The Commission proposes to take the following actions:  (1) incorporate into the rules a revised industry standard developed by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) that appears likely to improve the ability of people with hearing loss to select wireline telephones with sufficient volume control to meet their communication needs and provide greater regulatory certainty for the industry; and (2) apply the Commission’s wireline telephone volume control and other hearing aid compatibility requirements to handsets used with VoIP services.

In addition, the Commission proposes a rule and requests comments on setting a standard for volume control for wireless handsets to ensure more effective acoustic coupling between handsets and hearing aids or cochlear implants.  The Commission also proposed to require manufacturers to exclusively use the 2011 standard developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Accredited Standards Committee C63 (ASC C3) to certify future handsets as hearing aid compatible; and eliminate the power-down exception if manufacturers are required to test and rate handsets exclusively under the 2011 standard.

Finally, the Commission seeks comment on a process for enabling industry to use new or revised technical standards for assessing hearing aid compatibility compliance, prior to Commission approval of such standards.

Comments Due: 60 days after date of publication in the Federal Register
Reply Comments Due: 90 days after date of publication in the Federal Register

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