With the growth of the wireless phone industry and cell phone transitioning from analog to digital, folks who use hearing aids must ensure they purchase phones that will work with their hearing aid device. Digital cell phone signals can interfere with the operation hearing aid devices.
As a result of signal interference, the Federal Communications Commission modified its hearing aid compatibility requirements for cell phone manufacturers. Before a phone can be considered hearing aid compatible (HAC) phone, the phone must achieve the required M and T rating.
What is M and T?
The “M” in the M3 rating stands for microphone mode. This measures how compatible with cell phone is with a hearing aid when it is in microphone mode.
The “T” in the T3 rating represents telecoil mode. Again, this measures how compatible the cell phone is with the hearing aid when it’s in telecoil mode.
Hearing Aid Compatibility $ating System
The FCC has set forth a minimum rating a phone must meet in order to be considered hearing aid compatible. The minimum rating is a rating of “3.” That means the phone must achieve an M3 or T3 rating or higher to be labeled hearing aid compatible. A cell phone with a rating of M4 or T4 is better than a rating of M3 or T3, but as long as the phone meets the minimum rating of a three, it is considered hearing aid compatible (such as the Jitterbug cell phone with its M4/T4 rating)
Cell phone manufacturers will display the hearing aid compatibility rating somewhere on the product packaging or in the cell phone manual. You may also see it somewhere near the display at the retail store. If you’re not sure of the rating, ask the customer service rep or, if purchasing online, contact the retailer.
Try It before You Buy It
There is no such thing as a one size fits all when it comes to cell phones and hearing aids. Because of this, it’s best to try the phone before you buy it. If you’re ordering a phone on online, do not order it unless you know for sure that you can return it if the phone is not compatible with your hearing aid device.
Testing Phones for Hearing Aid Compatibility
If you’re purchasing your phone in person at a retail outlet, there are ways to test the cell phone for compatibility before you leave the store. If you’re purchasing online, you’ll have to perform the test at home.
Take a few minutes to view the video Testing Your New Cell Phone. The video gives instructions on how to test the cell phone both in the store and at home.
For more information on hearing aid compatible wireless devices, visit Access Wireless.org.