HLAA has long worked with industry and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the issue of Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) phones. When mobile technology moved from analog to digital in the 1990s, it created a huge barrier for people with hearing loss in that suddenly people with hearing loss who could use wireless handsets were faced with interference when they held the phone to their ear.
It wasn’t until 2003 that the FCC determined that the complete exemption from HAC for wireless handsets would have an adverse effect on individuals with hearing loss and that limiting the exemption was technologically feasible and in the public interest. For all that time, people with hearing loss waited for access to hearing aid compatible phones.
Over time, consumer groups such as HLAA and the wireless industry have worked together on HAC issues. We have all been part of working groups under the auspices of ATIS, we have held ad hoc meetings, and we have met with the FCC; and progress has been made. HLAA is happy to know that at least 82 percent of mobile phones on the market have an M3 or M4 rating and 66 percent of wireless handsets are rated T3 or T4.