FCC Votes to Improve Hearing Aid Compatibility With Wireless Devices
Aug 5, 2016 — The Federal Communications Commission unanimously approved a rule on Thursday implementing new requirements for hearing aid compatibility with wireless service providers and manufacturers of wireless devices. The goal is that all wireless devices will be compatible with hearing aids by 2024.
Providers and manufacturers will now be required to make 66 percent of their handset models compatible with hearing aid devices within two years. By 2021, 85 percent of companies’ handset models will be required to comply.
“We talk a lot about technological evolution and the advancement of technology, and those kinds of advancements and evolution are given guidance when we say that as a matter of policy, accessibility should be a forethought not an afterthought,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said at the agency’s monthly open meeting.
Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said the rule “promises to deliver even more options and accessible devices to millions of Americans who deserve just as much choice as everyone else when it comes to wireless handsets.”
The new rules came through collaboration with the wireless industry, which applauded the vote in a statement. “The wireless industry and the people who are deaf or hard of hearing have a long-standing history of working together so that America’s world-class wireless products and services are accessible to all, including those who use hearing aids or cochlear implants,” the Competitive Carriers Association, CTIA, the Hearing Loss Association of America, the National Association of the Deaf, the Telecommunications for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing, and the Telecommunications Industry Association said in a joint statement.
“We are pleased that today’s order on hearing aid compatibility adopts our joint proposal, which is yet another example of collaboration to achieve a shared goal,” the groups added.
Source: Morning Consult
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