FCC Toughens HAC Requirements

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken steps to increase consumer access to wireless phones and devices that are compatible with hearing aids.

In a Report and Order issued in early August, the Commission amended its current hearing aid compatibility (HAC) requirements applicable to manufacturers of digital wireless handsets and wireless service providers. The changes set new benchmarks for the percentage of HAC-compliant models that manufacturers make available to consumers, mandating that 66 percent of offered handset models be HAC compliant within two years, increasing to 85 percent within five years.

Service providers will be granted “additional compliance time” beyond the two and five year benchmarks established for manufacturers. In addition, more limited compliance obligations will be applicable to entities offering only four or five handset models.

The FCC says that this change resulted from a collaborative effort involving manufacturers, wireless service providers and consumer groups, and that its action will help to support continued progress to achieving its goal of 100 percent compliance with HAC requirements within eight years.

Read the complete text of the Commission’s Report and Order on HAC requirements.

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