FCC Publishes Hearing-Aid Compatibility Report and Order in the Federal Register

Updated: Dec 21, 2018

On November 15, 2018, in the November Open Meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) adopted the Hearing Aid-Compatibility (“HAC”) Report and Order (“Order”) in the Revisions to Reporting Requirements Governing Hearing Aid-Compatible Mobile Handsets proceeding (FCC 18-167; WT Docket No. 17-228). The Order adopts additional service providers’ website requirements, replaces outdated requirements with a streamlined annual certification, and establishes a transition process for the new requirements, following the September 2017 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

Minor changes made from the previously circulated draft item include:

  • In addition to the 3 requirements below for website disclosure requirements, the Order now requires all providers operating publicly available sites to provide the following information as well:
    1. A link to the current FCC web page containing information about the wireless hearing aid compatibility rules and service providers’ obligations; and
    2. A “date stamp” on any web site page containing the above referenced information that indicates when the page was last updated.
  • Service providers must have a “knowledgeable executive” submit a certification each year by January 15, rather than an “officer”, thereby adopting one of the two proposals in the Joint Letter that the Commission originally declined to adopt.
  • The adopted Order changes the waiver period for the requirement that service providers file the hearing aid status report currently due January 15, 2019. Rather than waiving the requirement on the condition that the first annual certification be filed within 30 days of publication, the waiver will now last from public release of the Order until its effective date, when this reporting requirement will be deleted from the rules.
  • In addition to the requirement to post and retain the prescribed handset model information on the website, providers must also either post information on handsets previously offered starting January 1, 2018, or provide a link to the Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative (“GARI”) website with previously offered handset information.

On December 7, 2018, the Commission published the November 2018 Report and Order in the Federal Register therefore establishing the following effective date of January 7, 2019.

Although the Order itself is effective, compliance with the majority of the revised requirements is not yet required, as the amended §§ 20.19(e), (h), and (i) are still subject to OMB approval.

As a reminder, service providers are not required to file their annual Form 655 report by January 15, 2019 pursuant to the removal of this requirement by the Order.

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