Using Your Phone With a Hearing Aid Device
A number of mobile phones offered for sale or provided in conjunction with our services have been tested for hearing aid device compatibility. When some wireless phones are used with certain hearing devices (including hearing aids and cochlear implants), users may detect a noise that can interfere with the effectiveness of the hearing device.
Some hearing devices are more immune than others to this interference noise, and phones also vary in the amount of interference noise they may generate. ANSI standard C63.19 was developed to provide a standardized means of measuring both wireless phone and hearing devices to determine usability rating categories for both.
Ratings have been developed for mobile phones to assist hearing device users in finding phones that may be compatible with their hearing device. Not all phones have been rated for compatibility with hearing devices. These ratings are not guarantees. Results will vary depending on the user’s hearing device, individual type, and degree of hearing loss. If a hearing device is particularly vulnerable to interference noise, even a phone with a higher rating may still cause unacceptable noise levels in the hearing device. Trying out the phone with your hearing device is the best way to evaluate it for your personal needs.
Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) Rating
The FCC has created a rating system for cellular phones regarding their HAC-related performance. This rating helps consumers with hearing disabilities to find phones that will work well with their hearing aid devices. The HAC rating and measurement procedure are described in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) C63.19:2007.
ANSI C63.19 contains two rating standards: an “M” rating from 1 to 4 for hearing aids operating in microphone mode and a “T” rating from 1 to 4 for hearing aids operating in telecoil mode.
M-Ratings: Phones rated M3 or M4 meet FCC requirements for hearing aid compatibility and are likely to generate less interference to hearing devices than unrated phones. (M4 is the better/higher of the two ratings.)
T-Ratings: Phones 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 phones. (T4 is the better/higher of the two ratings. Note that not all hearing devices have telecoils in them.)
A combination of M-rating and T-rating defines the final HAC rating and is a deciding factor in selecting cellular phones for people with hearing problems. A HAC compliant phone could be rated:
Hearing aid devices may also be measured for immunity to interference noise from wireless phones and should have ratings similar to phones. Ask your hearing healthcare professional for the rating of your hearing aid. Add the rating of your hearing aid and your phone to determine probable usability:
- Any combined rating equal to or greater than six offers excellent use.
- Any combined rating equal to five is considered normal use.
- Any combined rating equal to four is considered usable.
Thus, if you pair an M3 hearing aid with an M3 phone, you will have a combined rating of six for “excellent use.” T ratings can be combined in the same manner.
Our Hearing Aid Compatible Phones
Some people who use hearing aid devices may have trouble when using a wireless phone. The wireless industry and consumer groups representing the hard of hearing have been working for years to study this matter and develop standards and solutions to reduce the likelihood of such difficulties. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission has set forth requirements for wireless carriers and wireless device manufacturers. Much progress has been made and there are now a large number of hearing aid compatible (HAC) devices available.
There are two different ratings to consider when picking a hearing aid compatible device:
M-Ratings: reduced hearing aid device interference
Some people with a hearing aid device experience a buzzing or whining noise when using a wireless phone. This noise is caused when the electronics within the hearing aid device pick up and demodulate radio frequency (RF) and/or electromagnetic interference (EMI) emitted by the phone.
Hearing devices may also be measured for immunity to this type of interference. Your hearing device manufacturer or hearing health professional can help you find results for your hearing device. The more immune your hearing aid is, the less likely you are to experience interference from mobile phones and other sources of RF/EMI such as computer monitors and fluorescent lighting.
T-Ratings and compatibility with hearing aids with telecoils
A telecoil is a small device built into some hearing aids for use with the telephone as well as assistive listening devices. Not all hearing aids have telecoils.
Try before you buy
These ratings assist hearing device users to find phones that are compatible with their hearing devices. The ratings are not guaranteed for suitability and individual results may vary significantly depending on the individual’s hearing loss and the immunity characteristics of the used hearing device, i.e. its resistance to interference. The best way to evaluate the suitability of a phone is to try it with the intended hearing aid device. We recommend you try several hearing-aid compatible phones to determine which phones will work best with your hearing aid device. Should you experience interference or find your phone’s quality of service to be unsatisfactory, promptly contact Customer Service to arrange the exchange of your phone for a more suitable model.
Additional information regarding hearing aid compatibility
Videos from accesswireless.org: Choosing a cell phone that works for you
This five-part video series was put together by the Wireless Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (Wireless RERC) and CTIA - The Wireless Association® to help consumers choose a hearing aid compatible wireless device that meets their needs. Each video breaks down the information customers need into easy to understand segments.
This table lists the hearing aid compatibility ratings for currently available TruConnect phones.
Because user experiences are varied and highly individualized, TruConnect recommends customers try several hearing aid compatible phones to determine which phone will work best for them.
This list was last updated December 15, 2015.
|BLU Dash JR||No||N/A||N/A|
|BLU Jenny II||No||N/A||N/A|
|HTC EVO 4G||Yes||T3||M3|
|Kyocera Hydro Vibe||Yes||T3||M4|