Digital technology available in wireless devices today can mean an enhanced wireless experience, but some digital handset models can cause interference for hearing aid users.
To ensure that the deaf and hard of hearing can use digital wireless devices, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made updates to the Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) Act of 1988 to increase the number of HAC compliant wireless devices on the market. For more information, please visit the Hearing Aid Compatibility page on the FCC’s website.
HAC Rating System
The American National Standard Institute (ANSI) has developed hearing aid compatibility rating standards to provide assistance to hearing device users in finding the right digital wireless device to purchase. The standards provide a uniform method for measuring the radio frequency (RF) immunity and telecoil coupling strength of hearing aids, as well as the RF emissions and telecoil coupling strength of wireless devices. The measurements are converted to a microphone (M) rating and a telecoil (T) rating. Customers can use the ratings to predict the compatibility of a particular digital wireless handset and a hearing aid.
M-Ratings: Wireless devices rated M3 or M4 meet FCC requirements and are likely to generate less interference to hearing devices that utilize a microphone for picking up sounds from the handset’s speaker. M4 is the higher of the two ratings.
T-Ratings: Wireless devices rated T3 or T4 meet FCC requirements and are likely to be more usable with a hearing device’s telecoil than unrated wireless devices. T4 is the higher of the two ratings. The advantage of a telecoil is that it removes extraneous noise that would otherwise be picked up by a microphone.
Hearing Device Immunity
Hearing devices may also be measured for immunity to interference. Your hearing aid manufacturer or hearing health professional can help you find results for your hearing device. The more immune your hearing aid is, the less likely you are to experience interference noise from mobile phones.
HAC Compatible Wireless Handsets
TelAlaska Cellular carries the hearing aid compatible devices listed below. Updates to this list will be made when any changes occur to the models we carry. For more information about mobile accessibility, or to see which models have been discontinued, please visit www.gari.info.
Level of Functionality: A “feature” phone can be described as a talk and text phone with basic features. A “smartphone” is a full featured, data compatible device with touchscreen display.