Comment Date: February 26, 2024

Reply Comment Date: March 11, 2024

On December 13, 2023, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that tentatively concludes that a 100% hearing aid compatibility (HAC) requirement for wireless handset models offered or imported for use in the United States is “achievable.”  On January 26, 2024, the NPRM was published in the Federal Register and the comment due dates were established.

The NPRM seeks comment on:

  • Adopting a broader definition of HAC that would include the use of Bluetooth connectivity technology between wireless handset models and hearing aids.
  • Requiring all wireless handset models to meet an acoustic coupling requirement and either a telecoil or a Bluetooth coupling requirement.  Specifically, the NPRM proposes that at least 85% of all wireless handset models would have to meet acoustic and telecoil coupling requirements and at least 15% of all wireless handset models would have to meet acoustic and Bluetooth coupling requirements.
  • Whether to incorporate a specific non-proprietary Bluetooth connectivity technology into the HAC rules or to allow market conditions to decide which Bluetooth connectivity technology is used for coupling wireless handsets to hearing aids.
  • Whether the Commission should include volume control as part of its 100% HAC requirement.
  • Exploring ways to reach the 100% compatibility benchmark, including proposing a 24-month transition period for wireless handset manufacturers; a 30-month transition period for nationwide service providers; and a 42-month transition period for non-nationwide service providers, and whether to continue to allow previously HAC-certified wireless handset models to be grandfathered in order to meet the 100% benchmark or only allow wireless handset models certified under the latest HAC certification standards to be utilized to meet the 100% HAC requirement.
  • A number of implementation issues related to the 100% HAC proposal and updates to the HAC rules, including: (1) requirements for HAC settings in wireless handset models; (2) revised labeling and disclosure rules; (3) revised website, record retention, and reporting requirements; (4) the posting of company contact information for consumers with questions about a company’s HAC handset models; and (5) whether the HAC rule section should be renamed to better reflect what the section covers.

Interested parties may file comments by accessing the Electronic Comment Filing System at https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings.  All filings must reference WT Docket No. 23-388.   People with disabilities who need assistance to file comments online may request assistance by email to FCC504@fcc.gov

Link to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:

https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-proposes-100-mobile-phones-be-hearing-aid-compatible-0  

For general information about the FCC’s hearing aid compatibility rules for wireless handset models, visit https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/hearing-aid-compatibility-wireline-and-wireless-telephones.  For specific information about the 100% Wireless Handset Model Hearing Aid Compatibility NPRM, contact Eli Johnson of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, at Eli.Johnson@fcc.gov.  Individuals who use videophones and are fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) may call the FCC’s ASL Consumer Support Line at (844) 432-2275 (videophone).

 

 

Updated:
Friday, January 26, 2024