What is the HAC and Rating System?
Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) for Wireless Devices
Hearing aids do not always function well with wireless handsets. Hearing aids operate by using a microphone to pick up sound waves, converting the sound waves into electrical signals to be amplified. Distortion or amplification of unwanted sound (noise) often occurs.
The FCC’s hearing aid compatibility requirements address hearing aids that operate in either of two modes – acoustic coupling (“M” rating) or inductive coupling (“T” rating). Hearing aids operating in acoustic coupling mode receive through a microphone and then amplify all sounds surrounding the user, including both desired sounds, such as a telephone’s audio signal, and unwanted ambient noise. Hearing aids operating in inductive coupling mode turn off the microphone to avoid amplifying unwanted ambient noise, instead using a telecoil to receive only audio signal-based magnetic fields generated by inductive coupling-capable telephones. The FCC’s “M” and “T” ratings indicate whether a handset can be expected to function well with a hearing aid and are generally marked clearly on the handset packaging. The “M” or “T” rating does not guarantee that the handset will function without distortion or noise, so West Central Wireless recommends that you test the handset before purchasing.
What are the levels of functionality for HAC compatible handsets and devices?
West Central Wireless offers HAC-compatible handsets and devices in all major price categories, including low-cost (“C” level) ($250). Costs generally correlate with the number of features, but, if though experience, West Central Wireless finds that a certain handset contains features that work well with hearing aids, such as volume control, it will be labeled accordingly with an “A” level for functionality. West Central Wireless’s sales staff is trained to assist all existing and prospective customers looking for a HAC-compliant device/handset. HAC-compatible handsets and devices vary in their inherent “levels of functionality,” but typically at least one HAC-compliant handset/device with features and services typical of its price category can be found that meets each customer’s price range.
Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative
Information updated as of 8/29/2019