Decades of technological development have not guaranteed compatibility between cellphones and hearing aids. Federal regulations have attempted to reduce the variability in interoperability between these two types of devices by requiring cellphone handset manufacturers and wireless service providers to offer a certain percentage of their devices with sufficiently reduced electromagnetic radiation (meeting American National Standards Institute’s M3 and T3 ratings for acoustic and inductive coupling) so that they may be operable with hearing aids. These hearing aid compatibility (HAC) regulations also require labeling on packaging and information on the websites of wireless vendors to help hearing aid users identify compatible phones. This paper presents findings from a national survey research project conducted in 2013 by the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies (Wireless RERC) to understand the current experiences of users of hearing aids and cochlear implants with regard to compatibility of their mobile wireless phones with their hearing technology. Data are analyzed for all respondents who use hearing aid or cochlear implant technology, as well as by age and type of aids (behind-ear, in-ear, bone-anchored, cochlear implant).
Hearing Aid Compatibility of Cellphones: Results from a National Survey
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