PCD is dedicated to meeting the needs of a diverse group of wireless users. We strive to develop innovative products that open the lines of mobile communications for everyone, including our customers with disabilities.
PCD believes that all of our customers should be able to enjoy the benefits of digital wireless technologies. We are committed to providing a selection of compatible devices for our customers who wear hearing aids.
What is hearing aid compatibility?
The Federal Communications Commission has implemented rules and a rating system designed to enable people who wear hearing aids to more effectively use these wireless telecommunications devices. The standard for compatibility of digital wireless phones with hearing aids is set forth in American National Standard Institute (ANSI) standard C63.19. There are two sets of ANSI standards with ratings from one to four (four being the best rating):
M Ratings – An “M” rating is for reduced interference, making it easier to hear conversations on the phone when using the hearing aid microphone. Wireless devices rated M3 or M4 meet FCC requirements and are likely to generate less interference to hearing devices than wireless devices that are not labeled. M4 is the better/higher of the two ratings.
T Ratings – A “T” rating enables the phone to be used with hearing aids operating in the telecoil mode, thus reducing unwanted background noise. Wireless devices rated T3 or T4 meet FCC requirements and are likely to be more usable with a hearing device’s telecoil (“T Switch” or “Telephone Switch”) than unrated wireless devices. T4 is the better/higher of the two ratings. (Note that not all hearing devices have telecoils in them.)
How will I know which wireless phones are hearing aid compatible?
The Hearing Aid Compatibility rating is displayed on the wireless phone box. A phone is considered Hearing Aid Compatible for acoustic coupling (microphone mode) if it has an “M3” or “M4” rating. A digital wireless phone is considered Hearing Aid Compatible for inductive coupling (telecoil mode) if it has a “T3” or “T4” rating.
How will I know if my hearing aid will work with a particular digital wireless phone?
You’ll want to try a number of wireless phones so that you can decide which works the best with your hearing aids. You may also want to talk with your hearing aid professional about the extent to which your hearing aids are immune to interference, if they have wireless phone shielding and whether your hearing aid has an HAC rating.
For more information about hearing aids and digital wireless phones:
- FCC Hearing Aid Compatibility and Volume Control
- Hearing Loss Association of America
- Gallaudet University, RERC