TIA and Hearing Aid Compatibility

TIA and Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is responsible for adopting rules to ensure that consumers with hearing loss are able to access communications services without experiencing disabling radio frequency interference or other technical obstacles. These rules are set seperately for wireline and wireless equipment.

Among their numerous lines of business, TIA member companies design, produce, and deploy wired and wireless devices subject to the Commission's Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) requirements. TIA also develops standards to address HAC. TIA's Accessibility Working Group (AWG) and User Premises Equipment Division (UPED) coordinate activities related to the creation of TIA standards to test cordless phones for HAC (TIA-1083, TIA-4956, etc.) and TIA membership in other standard-setting efforts. TIA's AWG and UPED also regularly liaise with representatives of the disabilities advocacy groups, other industry groups, and government stakeholders. These important efforts have served to highlight the willingness of the cordless telephone industry to identify and resolve HAC issues.

TIA has long held that "safe harbor" technical standards are an effective tool to ensure consistency and transparency for entities seeking regulatory compliance, and we strongly support the use of voluntary, consensus-based and open industry standards be used to provide guarantees of compliance with regulations where possible, though not in lieu of more general performance objectives. The AWG and the UPED serve as a policy interface for TIA Engineering Committee TR-41's (User Premises Equipment) continuing efforts to address the problem of digital cordless telephones creating interference when magnetically coupled to hearing aids. In concert with representatives from Gallaudet University and others, TR-41.3 (Analog and Digital Wireline Terminals) has developed a measurement procedure for characterizing the undesired magnetic noise called "Conversational Gain" based on hearing aid users' experiences with various digital cordless telephones. We urge you to review a TIA August 2011-delivered presentation to the FCC on Conversational Gain if you would like further information.

TIA is also a member of ANSI-ANS C63.  C63 developes standards for wireless handset HAC and on testing for compliance with FCC HAC rules. TIA's goal as a participant in this process is to (1) represent industry consensus positions within this valueable multistakeholder process and (2) to ensure that unnecessary occurrences of duplication of standardization efforts in establishing testing procedures for cordless phone HAC compliance are avoided. We continue to closely monitor and engage on all legislative and regulatory issues that affect member companies' HAC compliance, and encourage you to contact us with any questions or concerns.

TIA HAC-Related Filings