Under the FCC's rules, providers of digital mobile wireless services and manufacturers of wireless handsets must file annual reports on their offering of handsets that are compatible with hearing aids. These reports contain information about the hearing aid compatibility status of each handset offered, functionalities of hearing aid-compatible handsets, labeling of hearing aid-compatible handsets, and the filing company's consumer outreach efforts.
Hearing Aid Compatibility Reports must be filed electronically on FCC Form 655. Reports for device manufacturers are due on
July 15 of each year and cover the period from the previous July 1 through June 30 (except for the July 15, 2009 report, which
covers January 1 through June 30, 2009). Service provider reports are due on January 15 and cover the previous January 1 through
December 31. When the 15th of the month falls on a weekend or holiday, the report is due on the next business day.
These reports contain information from device manufacturers and service providers about the hearing aid compatibility status of the handsets they offer, functionalities of hearing aid-compatible handsets, labeling of hearing aid-compatible handsets, and consumer outreach efforts. In addition to the companies’ filings, the links provide access to summary reports of key information from these filings prepared by the FCC.
Digital wireless phones are rated from M1 through M4, with M4 being the best rating, for their ability to reduce radio frequency (RF) interference with hearing aids operating in acoustic mode. Hearing aids are also rated from M1 through M4 for their immunity from RF interference. A sum of at least 5 between the phone rating and the hearing aid rating generally indicates that the telephone would provide normal use. Phones may also be rated from T1 through T4 for their ability to operate in inductive coupling mode with hearing aids that contain a telecoil (a tightly wrapped piece of wire that converts sounds into electromagnetic signals).
The FCC considers phones hearing aid-compatible for acoustic coupling if they are rated at least M3 and for inductive coupling if they are rated at least T3. Handset manufacturers and service providers are required to meet these thresholds for specified numbers or percentages of the handset models that they offer. The Hearing Aid Compatibility Reports contain information on the handsets that manufacturers and service providers offer to meet these requirements.
Two public demonstrations for electronic filing of the FCC Form 655 have been held. Click here for the public demonstration for device manufactures held on June 2, 2009. Click here for the December 8, 2009 demonstration for service providers.