Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wireless handset hearing aid compatibility standard adopted

Hearing aid types (300dpi)

Hearing aid types (300dpi) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The FCC has formally adopted ANSI C63.19 2011 as an applicable technical standard for evaluating the hearing aid compatibility of wireless phones.

As specified in the Second Further Notice, the new rules permit the use of either ANSI C63.19 2007, or ANSI C63.19 2011  for the testing of new handset models. All existing grants issued under the 2007 standard, as well as any pre-2010 grants remain valid, thus, no existing handset models will require retesting or recertification for hearing aid compatibility.

A 12 month transition period has been adopted for testing of multi-band and multi-mode handsets that incorporate operations which are not covered under the 2007 ANSI Standard. The Report and Order recognizes that as the new rules become effective, some manufacturers will be in production cycles where it will be impractical to return to a testing cycle for upcoming multi-band or multi-mode handsets under the 2011 ANSI Standard. Specifically, during the transition period, and as an alternative to using the 2011 standard, manufacturers may certify handsets as hearing aid compatible if they meet all compatibility criteria under the 2007 ANSI standard for all operations covered by that standard, providing they meet the disclosure requirements set forth in the order. After the transition period, all new handsets that contain operations not covered by the 2007 version will need to comply with the 2011 ANSI standard.

The Report and Order makes it clear that evaluations performed partly under one version of the ANSI standard, and partly under another, is incompatible with existing rules, thus manufacturers must test exclusively with one of the applicable versions.


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