In a unanimous vote November 15, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Report and Order that will give consumers and the Commission better access to information about the availability of hearing aid compatible (HAC) wireless handsets.
The Report and Order eliminated the annual wireless HAC reporting requirements (Form 655) for service providers. It has no effect on the requirement for the wireless manufacturers to continue to file their annual HAC reports. The Report and Order also enhanced the requirements for wireless service providers to put HAC information on their websites and also added an annual service provider certification about compliance with all wireless HAC rules.
This development represents the hard work of the FCC staff as well as HLAA’s work with industry members. It is a case where compromise truly benefits everyone involved. Service providers will no longer have to file time-consuming reports with the FCC and consumers now will have access to date-stamped, accurate, timely and complete information about HAC models on the service providers’ websites. Consumers will also be able to find a link to the FCC website on the service providers’ websites, which allows them to know what the rules are and complain to the FCC if they believe the provider is out of compliance with those rules.
HLAA applauds the work of the FCC staff as well as industry members who worked hard to frame a compromise that works for service providers and consumers alike.
Specifically, the Report and Order:
- Requires service providers to post more up-to-date and accessible information about hearing aid compatible wireless handsets on their websites.
- Requires all service providers to annually certify whether they are in compliance with FCC hearing aid-compatibility rules.
- Eliminates a method of providing information that is currently less effective and burdensome by ending the requirement that service providers file FCC Form 655 annually, while maintaining that requirement for handset manufacturers.
- Ensures that consumers have access to the Commission’s rules by providing a link to the FCC from the service provider’s websites.