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Finding a Cell Phone that You Can Use IFHOH Congress Vancouver, BC July 2008 Brenda Battat M.A.

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Presentation on theme: "Finding a Cell Phone that You Can Use IFHOH Congress Vancouver, BC July 2008 Brenda Battat M.A."— Presentation transcript:

1 Finding a Cell Phone that You Can Use IFHOH Congress Vancouver, BC July 2008 Brenda Battat M.A.

2 Background  European hearing aid users warned us of the interference problem  Cell phones were exempt from the Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988 that covers landline phones

3 The Need for Legislation  Market forces do not drive access to telecommunications for people with disabilities  Access to telecommunications for people with hearing loss has always come from Congressional action

4 HAC Act 1988 Landline telephones manufactured after August 16, 1989 (Cordless 1991) - must be hearing aid compatible

5 What is HAC?  A phone is HAC if it provides an internal means to be used with hearing aids equipped with a telecoil  FCC’s technical standard for HAC is codified at 47 C.R.R. Sec

6 Volume Control Requirement  All telephones, including cordless, must include VC after November 1, 1998  12dB of gain min., up to 18dB gain max  18dB gain may be exceeded if automatic reset

7 Underlying Principles in Advocating for Accessible Cell Phones  Universal design – accessibility built in and does not require accessories  HAC built in at the design stage and does not require retro fitting  Consumer choice: features, styles and prices  Accessibility should not cost more

8 Consumer Advocacy  HLAA petitioned the FCC to remove the exemption, June 1995  Digital Wireless/Hearing Aid Compatibility Summit Jan 3-4, 1996  HLAA and other consumer organizations filed second petition with FCC in 2000

9 FCC Action  New FCC ruling for cell phones partially lifted exemption July 10, 2003  Requires certain cell phones to be HAC over the next few years To view the rule go to: ttachmatch/FCC A6.txt

10 Standards  2007 ANSI C63.19  Measurement of interference for phones and immunity level for hearing aids

11 Look for Labels Phones  M rating (M3 or M4). Potential for interference on microphone setting  T rating (T3 or T4). Telecoil coupling capability. Look for ratings on call out cards, packaging, product inserts and company websites  C63.19 ANSI measurement standard

12 Look for Labels Hearing Aids How well is your hearing aid protected from interference cause by mobile phones? Rating for immunity level. Must be at least M2 Ask audiologist and/or look in product insert Add ratings for phone and hearing aid together (5 or more is best). The higher the total the more likely the cell phone will not cause interference with your hearing aid

13 Form Factor of Phone  Flip versus Candy bar  Screen size and back lighting  Casing material

14 Air Interface In United States – four Tier 1 carriers  CDMA (Sprint/Nextel, Verizon)  GSM, WiMax (AT&T, T-Mobile)

15 Try Before you Buy  Test in the carrier store for interference and volume control  Find out the length of the trial period for a test run at home  Know the conditions of the return policy

16 Web Links for More Information hac_wireless.html

17 Joint Industry/Consumer Consensus Agreement RF interference reduction – handsets must have ratings of M3 or higher:  Manufacturers: At least 1/3 of all phones  Tier 1 Carriers: Before Feb 15, 2009……….8 handsets Beginning Feb 15, 2009……9 handsets Beginning Feb 15, 2010……10 handsets

18 Joint Industry/Consumer Consensus Agreement Inductive coupling – handsets must have ratings of T3 or higher Manufacturers: 20% for each air interface Feb 15, % for each air interface Feb 15, /3 for each air interface Feb 15, 2011 Tier 1 Carriers: Before February 15, handsets February 15, handsets February 15, handsets February 15, handsets

19 Multi mode/band Handsets  To be considered HAC, a handset operating over several frequency bands must be HAC in each frequency band and air interface over which it operates for which there are established standards.  The record will remain open for the next 3 months for consumers and industry to develop general principles of a consensus plan on the extent to which phones that have multiple bands or air interfaces for which no standards exist should be counted as HAC, if they are HAC in bands and interfaces for which HAC standards do exist. The record will stay open an additional 3 months after this initial period (for a total of 6 months), for the submission of detailed proposals to implement this consensus plan.

20 De Minimis Exception  The FCC’s de minimis exception exempts providers and manufacturers that offer 2 or fewer digital wireless handset models from the HAC rules.  Consumers raised concerns about application of this exception to lucrative companies such as Apple (that produce only one or two handsets with mass appeal – i.e., the iPhone), the FCC declined to impose any limitations on the de minimis exception at this time.

21 Product Refresh  Manufacturers offering 4 or more handset models must ensure that at least ½ of their M3-rated handsets be new models that are introduced in that calendar year. This “refresh” requirement is needed to ensure that service providers offer consumers a selection of HAC models that include those with the latest features.

22 Consumer Choice  Service providers must offer customers a range of HAC models with different levels of operating capabilities, features, frequency bands, and prices. The purpose of this rule is to ensure that hearing aid users have a variety of handsets from which they can make their selections.


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