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FCC Proposes That All Mobile Phones Be Hearing Aid Compatible

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken another step forward to ensure access to vital communications technology and services for those with hearing impairments or hearing loss.

In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) issue in mid-December, the FCC has proposed that 100% of all wireless handsets, including mobile phones and smartphones, be fully hearing-aid compatible (HAC) by mid-2027. Under the NPRM, handset manufacturers would have a 24-month transition period to achieve this goal. Nationwide service providers would have 30 months to reach 100% HAC, while non-nationwide service providers would have 42 months.

To help facilitate efforts to achieve this goal, the Commission is also seeking comments on broadening the scope of HAC-enabling technologies to include the use of Bluetooth connectivity options.

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The FCC says that its proposed rulemaking is based on recommendations from its Hearing Aid Compatibility Task Force, which consists of regulators, accessibility advocates, device manufacturers, and wireless service providers.

Read the text of the FCC’s NPRM on mandating 100% HAC for wireless handsets.

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