The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has expanded the scope of its hearing aid compatibility (HAC) requirements to include new and future wireless communications services and advanced handset devices.
The expanded HAC requirements were issued in Fourth Report and Order released by the Commission in November 2015. According to the Report, HAC requirements will now be applicable to IP-based communications services such as Wi-Fi Calling and Voice-Over-LTE. This action expands required HAC application beyond wired handsets and wireless handsets operating on traditional cellular phone networks.
In addition, under the revised rules, future wireless communications technologies will be subject to the same HAC requirements. The FCC says that this approach is necessary and advisable as a way of encouraging manufacturers to consider and address HAC issues at the earliest stages of the new product development process. In taking this action, the FCC hopes to provide an established HAC regulatory framework for future products, and ensure that consumers with hearing loss or impairment are able to take advantage of new communications technologies as soon as they are produced.