Hearing Aid Immunity Levels: Useful information to have when shopping for a mobile phone. The hearing aid industry will now rate the immunity level of their hearing aids and put the information in the product manual that is included with each hearing aid purchase. Hearing Industries Association, the trade association for hearing aid manufacturers, said that all of their members have agreed to include the language in their manuals. HIA membership produces approximately 90% of hearing aid purchased in the US.
The FCC provides information about hearing aid compatibly on their website. They say:
Hearing aids operate in one of two modes – acoustic coupling or telecoil coupling. Hearing aids operating in acoustic coupling mode receive and amplify all sounds surrounding the user; both desired sounds, such as a telephone’s audio signal, as well as unwanted ambient noise. Hearing aids operating in telecoil coupling mode avoid unwanted ambient noise by turning off the microphone and receiving only signals from magnetic fields generated by telecoil-compatible telephones … .
A telecoil is a small, tightly-wrapped piece of wire inside the hearing aid that, when activated, picks up the voice signal from the electromagnetic field that leaks from compatible telephones. While the microphone on a hearing aid picks up all sounds, the telecoil will only pick up an electromagnetic signal from the telephone. Thus, users of telecoil-equipped hearing aids are able to communicate effectively over the telephone without feedback and without the amplification of unwanted background noise … .
Many people report feedback (or squealing) when they place the handset of the telephone next to their hearing aid. When placed correctly, telecoils can eliminate this feedback because the hearing aid microphone is turned off and the hearing aid only amplifies the signal coming through the telecoil. Some hearing-aid users may need to place the ear-piece slightly behind the ear rather than directly over the ear to obtain the clearest signal.
A telephone that is hearing aid compatible has an internal feature that allows the use of telephone compatible hearing aids. Thus, telephones can be used effectively by persons with hearing aids.
Washington, DC - The Hearing Loss Association is delighted to announce it has reached a consensus agreement with the wireless industry on increasing the accessibility of wireless telephones over the next few years. Read the news release [View PDF]
June 23, 2006, Washington – The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) recently announced its support of revisions to an American National Standard supporting hearing aid compatibility (HAC) requirements in wireless communications devices, following recommendations filed by the ATIS HAC Incubator in March and May of this year. [Read more]