USA Requiring Phones to Work with Hearing Aids

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To ensure that hearing aid users are provided with compatible mobile phones the USA's telecoms regulator the FCC has mandated that digital wireless phones which are manufactured or imported for use in the United States meet the requirements of the current ANSI C63.19 2006 standard.

The next upcoming deadline set by the FCC concerns the number of Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) handsets that manufacturers and network operators must make available to the public in the US. Accordingly, digital wireless service providers as well as manufacturers have to ensure that at least 50% of all handsets marketed meet the ANSI U3 or M3 (RF Emissions) hearing aid-compatibility requirements for each air interface offered.

The deadline to comply with these requirements is February 18, 2008.

Current FCC HAC requirements for tier 1 service providers state that they must offer four handsets or 25% of the total number of digital wireless handset models offered nationwide which have been tested for RF Emissions with a performance rating of at least ANSI U3 or M3. Additionally they must also provide five handsets or 25% of the total number of digital wireless handset models offered nationwide which have been tested for both RF Emissions and Telecoil Magnetic Coupling with a performance rating of at least ANSI U3T or M3T. Manufacturers of digital wireless devices must provide the same as tier 1 providers; however the required offering is a minimum of two mobiles.

"Although HAC is currently a requirement for wireless digital devices manufactured or imported into the US, we expect Europe and other regions to follow suit as the benefit to individuals with hearing impairment becomes apparent", says Jean-Louis Evans, Managing Director of TUV Product Service. To support manufacturers, network operators and regulators in fulfilling the requirements set out by the FCC, TUV Product Services provides HAC test services covering Radio Frequency (RF) emissions testing as well as telecoil / magnetic coupling testing using the Index SAR HACSAR Test System.

"The use and demand for digital wireless devices has increased dramatically over the past three years", notes Jean-Louis Evans.

It has been estimated that the number of mobile phone subscribers is now equivalent to a third of the world population of approximately 6.5 billion with a further increase to 3 billion by 2010. Consequently more hearing aid users will need to gain access to HAC devices. About one in ten of the world population has some degree of hearing loss. This number is also on the increase as a result of the noise levels to which people are exposed and the demographic aging."

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Tags: fcc  sar  radio frequency 

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