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Digital Wireless HAC Proceeding


To: Consumer Contact List
Karen Peltz Strauss, RERC-TA
Re: Wireless HAC Proceeding

Date: July 11,2003

On July 10, the FCC released a new order directing the wireless telephone industry to make certain of its digital wireless telephones accessible to people who use hearing aids. Although the Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988 had directed all wireline phones to be compatible with hearing aids (HAC) by 1989, the Act had created an exemption for wireless phones. The FCC had been directed to review that exemption periodically to determine whether it should be revoked. In 1995, a petition was filed with the FCC, asking for revocation of the wireless exemption. Again in 2000, the petition was brought to the FCCseeking coverage of these phones.

The FCC's new rulesset deadlines by which digital wireless phones must be compatible either acoustically (allowing the individual to use the microphone on the hearing aid) or inductively (allowing the individual to use the telecoil on the hearing aid). The URL for the press release on the new rules is listed below. The release is a bit confusing because its reference to "HAC-compliant" phones is not always to telecoil-compatible phones (This has been the common use of that term for the past several decades). Rather, the FCC has now created different requirements for digital phones that must have reduced RF emissions (i.e., to reduce interference for the phone user) and phones that must provide telecoil coupling. Because not all of the new requirements are clear at this point, I am refraining from providing a summary of the rules for now, but will do so when the actual rules are released. The attached press release does, however, provide a basic overview of some of what will be mandated.

Below is the URL for the order, including various statements made by the Commissioners, all 5 of whom voted in support of the order.

FCC ACTS TO PROMOTE ACCESSIBILITY OF DIGITAL WIRELESS PHONES TO INDIVIDUALS WITH HEARING DISABILITIES. The FCC adopted a Report and Order requiring wireless manufacturers and service providers to make digital wireless phones accessible to the more than 6 million individuals with hearing disabilities that use hearing aids. News Release. (Dkt No 01-309). News Media Contact: Chelsea Fallon at (202) 418-7991, email: cfallon@fcc.gov WTB. Contact Mindy Littell at (202) 418-0789, email: mlittell@fcc.gov or Greg Guice at (202) 418-0095, email: gguice@fcc.gov

<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-236430A1.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-236430A2.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-236430A3.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-236430A4.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-236430A5.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-236430A6.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-236430A1.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-236430A2.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-236430A3.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-236430A4.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-236430A5.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-236430A6.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-236430A1.txt>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-236430A2.txt>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-236430A3.txt>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-236430A4.txt>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-236430A5.txt>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-236430A6.txt>


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