Goto Section: 20.18 | 20.20 | Table of Contents

FCC 20.19
Revised as of July 30, 2021
Goto Year:2020 | 2022
  §  20.19   Hearing aid-compatible mobile handsets.

   Link to an amendment published at  86 FR 23627 , May 4, 2021.

   (a) Definitions. For purposes of this section:

   2007 ANSI standard refers to the technical standard for hearing aid
   compatibility applicable to frequencies between 800 MHz and 3 GHz as
   set forth in ANSI C63.19-2007.

   2011 ANSI standard refers to the technical standard for hearing aid
   compatibility applicable to frequencies between 698 MHz and 6 GHz as
   set forth in ANSI C63.19-2011.

   2019 ANSI standard refers to the technical standard for hearing aid
   compatibility applicable to frequencies between 614 MHz and 6 GHz as
   set forth in ANSI C63.19-2019.

   ANSI standard refers to the 2007, 2011, and 2019 ANSI standards as a
   group.

   Any version of the ANSI standard previous to the 2019 ANSI standard
   refers to the 2007 and 2011 ANSI standards.

   Digital mobile service refers to a terrestrial mobile service that
   enables two-way real-time voice communications among members of the
   public or a substantial portion of the public, including both
   interconnected and non-interconnected voice over internet protocol
   (VoIP) services, to the extent that such service is provided over
   frequencies specified in the 2007 ANSI standard, 2011 ANSI standard or
   the 2019 ANSI standard.

   Handset refers to a device used in delivery of digital mobile service
   in the United States that contains a built-in speaker and is typically
   held to the ear in any of its ordinary uses.

   Manufacturer refers to a manufacturer of handsets that are used in
   delivery of digital mobile service, as defined in this section, in the
   United States.

   Model refers to a wireless handset device that a manufacturer has
   designated as a distinct device model, consistent with its own
   marketing practices. However, if a manufacturer assigns different model
   device designations solely to distinguish units sold to different
   carriers, or to signify other distinctions that do not relate to either
   form, features, or capabilities, such designations shall not count as
   distinct models for purposes of this section.

   Service provider refers to a provider of digital mobile service, as
   defined in this section, in the United States.

   Tier I carrier refers to a CMRS provider that offers such service
   nationwide.

   Volume control requirements refers to the technical standard
   established by ANSI/TIA-5050-2018.

   (b) Hearing aid compatibility; technical standards—(1) Handset
   compatibility on or after June 5, 2023. In order to satisfy a
   manufacturer or service provider's obligations under paragraphs (c) and
   (d) of this section, a handset submitted for equipment certification or
   for a permissive change relating to hearing aid compatibility on or
   after June 5, 2023 must meet the 2019 ANSI standard.

   (2) Handset compatibility before June 5, 2023. In order to satisfy a
   manufacturer or service provider's obligations under paragraphs (c) and
   (d) of this section, a handset submitted for equipment certification or
   for a permissive change relating to hearing aid compatibility before
   June 5, 2023 must meet either:

   (i) At a minimum, the M3 and T3 ratings associated with the 2011 ANSI
   standard; or

   (ii) The 2019 ANSI standard.

   (3) Handsets operating over multiple frequency bands or air interfaces.
   (i) Beginning on June 5, 2023, a handset is hearing aid-compatible if
   it meets the 2019 ANSI standard for all frequency bands that are
   specified in the ANSI standard and all air interfaces over which it
   operates on those frequency bands, and the handset has been certified
   as compliant with the test requirements for the 2019 ANSI standard
   pursuant to § 2.1033(d) of this chapter.

   (ii) Before June 5, 2023, a handset that uses only the frequencies
   specified in the 2011 ANSI standard is hearing aid-compatible with
   regard to radio frequency interference and inductive coupling if it
   meets the 2011 ANSI standard for all frequency bands and air interfaces
   over which it operates, and the handset has been certified as compliant
   with the test requirements for the 2011 ANSI standard pursuant to
   § 2.1033(d) of this chapter. Before June 5, 2023, a handset that
   incorporates operations outside the frequencies specified in the 2011
   ANSI standard is hearing aid-compatible if the handset otherwise
   satisfies the requirements of this paragraph (b).

   (4) Factual questions. All factual questions of whether a handset meets
   the technical standard(s) of this paragraph (b) shall be referred for
   resolution to the Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology, Federal
   Communications Commission, 45 L Street NE, Washington, DC 20554.

   (5) Certification. A handset certified under any version of the ANSI
   standard previous to the 2019 ANSI standard remains hearing
   aid-compatible for purposes of this section.

   (c) Phase-in of hearing aid-compatibility requirements. The following
   applies to each manufacturer and service provider that offers handsets
   used to deliver the services specified in paragraph (a) of this section
   and that does not fall within the de minimis exception set forth in
   paragraph (e) of this section.

   (1) Manufacturers—Number of hearing aid-compatible handset models
   offered. For each digital air interface for which it offers handsets in
   the United States or imported for use in the United States, each
   manufacturer must offer hearing aid compatible handsets as follows:

   (i) Beginning October 3, 2018, at least sixty-six (66) percent of those
   handset models (rounded down to the nearest whole number) must be
   hearing aid-compatible under paragraph (b) of this section.

   (ii) Beginning October 4, 2021, at least eighty-five (85) percent of
   those handset models (rounded down to the nearest whole number) must be
   hearing aid-compatible under paragraph (b) of this section.

   (2) Tier I carriers—Number of hearing aid-compatible handsets models
   offered. For each digital air interface for which it offers handsets to
   customers, each Tier I carrier must:

   (i) Beginning April 3, 2019, ensure that at least sixty-six (66)
   percent of the handset models it offers are hearing aid-compatible
   under paragraph (b) of this section, calculated based on the total
   number of unique handset models the carrier offers nationwide.

   (ii) Beginning April 4, 2022, ensure that at least eighty-five (85)
   percent of the handset models it offers are hearing aid-compatible
   under paragraph (b) of this section, calculated based on the total
   number of unique handset models the carrier offers nationwide.

   (3) Service providers other than Tier I carriers—Number of hearing
   aid-compatible handsets models offered. For each digital air interface
   for which it offers handsets to customers, each service provider other
   than a Tier I carrier must:

   (i) Beginning April 3, 2020, ensure that at least sixty-six (66)
   percent of the handset models it offers are hearing aid-compatible
   under paragraph (b) of this section, calculated based on the total
   number of unique handset models the carrier offers.

   (ii) Beginning April 3, 2023, ensure that at least eighty-five (85)
   percent of the handset models it offers are hearing aid-compatible
   under paragraph (b) of this section, calculated based on the total
   number of unique handset models the carrier offers.

   (4) In-store testing. All service providers must make available for
   consumers to test, in each retail store owned or operated by the
   service provider, all of its handset models that are hearing
   aid-compatible under paragraph (b) of this section.

   (d) [Reserved]

   (e) De minimis exception. (1)(i) Manufacturers or service providers
   that offer two or fewer handsets in an air interface in the United
   States are exempt from the requirements of this section in connection
   with that air interface, except with regard to the reporting and
   certification requirements in paragraph (i) of this section. Service
   providers that obtain handsets only from manufacturers that offer two
   or fewer handset models in an air interface in the United States are
   likewise exempt from the requirements of this section other than
   paragraph (i) of this section in connection with that air interface.

   (ii) Notwithstanding paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section, manufacturers
   that have had more than 750 employees for at least two years and
   service providers that have had more than 1500 employees for at least
   two years, and that have been offering handsets over an air interface
   for at least two years, that offer one or two handsets in that air
   interface in the United States must offer at least one handset model
   that is hearing aid-compatible under paragraph (b) of this section in
   that air interface. Service providers that obtain handsets only from
   manufacturers that offer one or two handset models in an air interface
   in the United States, and that have had more than 750 employees for at
   least two years and have offered handsets over that air interface for
   at least two years, are required to offer at least one handset model in
   that air interface that is hearing aid-compatible under paragraph (b)
   of this section. For purposes of this paragraph (e)(1)(ii), employees
   of a parent, subsidiary, or affiliate company under common ownership or
   control with a manufacturer or service provider are considered
   employees of the manufacturer or service provider. Manufacturers and
   service providers covered by this paragraph (e)(1)(ii) must also comply
   with all other requirements of this section.

   (2) Manufacturers or service providers that offer three handset models
   in an air interface must offer at least one handset model that is
   hearing aid-compatible under paragraph (b) of this section in that air
   interface. Service providers that obtain handsets only from
   manufacturers that offer three handset models in an air interface in
   the United States are required to offer at least one handset model in
   that air interface that is hearing aid-compatible under paragraph (b)
   of this section.

   (3) Manufacturers that offer four or five handset models in an air
   interface must offer at least two handset models that are hearing
   aid-compatible under paragraph (b) of this section in that air
   interface. Tier I carriers who offer four handset models in an air
   interface must offer at least two handsets that are hearing
   aid-compatible under paragraph (b) of this section in that air
   interface and Tier I carriers who offer five handset models in an air
   interface must offer at least three handsets that are hearing
   aid-compatible under paragraph (b) of this section in that air
   interface. Service providers, other than Tier I carriers, who offer
   four handset models in an air interface must offer at least two handset
   models that are hearing aid-compatible under paragraph (b) of this
   section in that air interface and service providers, other than Tier I
   carriers, who offer five handset models in an air interface must offer
   at least three handsets that are hearing aid-compatible under paragraph
   (b) of this section in that air interface.

   (f) Labeling and disclosure requirements—(1) Labeling requirements—(i)
   Inductive coupling and RF interference reduction. Manufacturers and
   service providers shall ensure that handsets that are hearing
   aid-compatible, as defined in paragraph (b) of this section, clearly
   display the rating, as defined in paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) of this
   section, on the packaging material of the handset. In the event that a
   hearing aid-compatible handset achieves different radio interference or
   inductive coupling ratings over different air interfaces or different
   frequency bands, the RF interference reduction and inductive coupling
   capability ratings displayed shall be the lowest rating assigned to
   that handset for any air interface or frequency band. An explanation of
   the ANSI C63.19 rating system must also be included in the device's
   user's manual or as an insert in the packaging material for the
   handset.

   (ii) [Reserved]

   (2) Disclosure requirements relating to handsets treated as hearing
   aid-compatible over fewer than all their operations.

   (i) Each manufacturer and service provider shall ensure that, wherever
   it provides hearing aid compatibility ratings for a handset that is
   considered hearing aid-compatible under paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this
   section only with respect to those frequency bands and air interfaces
   for which technical standards are stated in ANSI C63.19-2007 and that
   has not been tested for hearing aid compatibility under ANSI
   C63.19-2011, or any handset that operates over frequencies outside of
   the 698 MHz to 6 GHz bands, it discloses to consumers, by clear and
   effective means (e.g., inclusion of call-out cards or other media,
   revisions to packaging materials, supplying of information on Web
   sites), that the handset has not been rated for hearing aid
   compatibility with respect to some of its operation(s). This disclosure
   shall include the following language:

   This phone has been tested and rated for use with hearing aids for some
   of the wireless technologies that it uses. However, there may be some
   newer wireless technologies used in this phone that have not been
   tested yet for use with hearing aids. It is important to try the
   different features of this phone thoroughly and in different locations,
   using your hearing aid or cochlear implant, to determine if you hear
   any interfering noise. Consult your service provider or the
   manufacturer of this phone for information on hearing aid
   compatibility. If you have questions about return or exchange policies,
   consult your service provider or phone retailer.

   (ii) However, service providers are not required to include this
   language in the packaging material for handsets that incorporate a
   Wi-Fi air interface and that were obtained by the service provider
   before March 8, 2011, provided that the service provider otherwise
   discloses by clear and effective means that the handset has not been
   rated for hearing aid compatibility with respect to Wi-Fi operation.

   (iii) Each manufacturer and service provider shall ensure that,
   wherever it provides hearing aid compatibility ratings for a handset
   that is considered hearing aid-compatible under paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of
   this section only with respect to those frequency bands and air
   interfaces for which technical standards are stated in ANSI
   C63.19-2007, and that the manufacturer has tested and found not to meet
   hearing aid compatibility requirements under ANSI C63.19-2011 for
   operations over one or more air interfaces or frequency bands for which
   technical standards are not stated in ANSI C63.19-2007, it discloses to
   consumers, by clear and effective means (e.g., inclusion of call-out
   cards or other media, revisions to packaging materials, supplying of
   information on Web sites), that the handset does not meet the relevant
   rating or ratings with respect to such operation(s).

   (3) Disclosure requirement relating to handsets that allow the user to
   reduce the maximum power for GSM operation in the 1900 MHz band.
   Handsets offered to satisfy paragraph (e)(1)(iii) of this section shall
   be labeled as meeting an M3 rating. Each manufacturer and service
   provider shall ensure that, wherever this rating is displayed, it
   discloses to consumers, by clear and effective means (e.g., inclusion
   of call-out cards or other media, revisions to packaging materials,
   supplying of information on Web sites), that user activation of a
   special mode is necessary to meet the hearing aid compatibility
   standard. In addition, each manufacturer or service provider shall
   ensure that the device manual or a product insert explains how to
   activate the special mode and that doing so may result in a reduction
   of coverage.

   (g) Model designation requirements. Where a manufacturer has made
   physical changes to a handset that result in a change in the hearing
   aid compatibility rating under the 2011 ANSI standard or an earlier
   version of the standard, the altered handset must be given a model
   designation distinct from that of the handset prior to its alteration.

   (h) Website and record retention requirements. (1) Each manufacturer
   and service provider that operates a publicly-accessible website must
   make available on its website a list of all hearing aid-compatible
   models currently offered, the ratings of those models, and an
   explanation of the rating system. Each service provider must also
   specify on its website, based on the levels of functionality and rating
   that the service provider has defined, the level that each hearing
   aid-compatible model falls under, as well as an explanation of how the
   functionality of the handsets varies at the different levels. Each
   service provider must also include on its website: A list of all
   non-hearing aid-compatible models currently offered, including the
   level of functionality that each of those models falls under, an
   explanation of how the functionality of the handsets varies at the
   different levels as well as a link to the current FCC web page
   containing information about the wireless hearing aid compatibility
   rules and service providers' obligations. Each service provider must
   also include the marketing model name/number(s) and FCC ID number of
   each hearing aid-compatible and non-hearing aid-compatible model
   currently offered.

   (2) Service providers must maintain on their website either:

   (i) A link to a third-party website as designated by the Commission or
   Wireless Telecommunications Bureau with information regarding hearing
   aid-compatible and non-hearing aid-compatible handset models; or

   (ii) A clearly marked list of hearing aid-compatible handset models
   that are no longer offered if the calendar month/year that model was
   last offered is within 24 months of the current calendar month/year
   along with the information listed in paragraph (h)(1) of this section
   for each hearing aid-compatible handset.

   (3) If the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau determines that the
   third-party website has been eliminated or is not updated in a timely
   manner, it may select another website or require service providers to
   comply with paragraph (h)(2)(ii) of this section.

   (4) The information on the website must be updated within 30 days of
   any relevant changes, and any website pages containing information so
   updated must indicate the day on which the update occurred.

   (5) Service providers must maintain internal records including the
   ratings, if applicable, of all hearing aid-compatible and non-hearing
   aid-compatible models no longer offered (if the calendar month/year
   that model was last offered is within 24 months of the current calendar
   month/year); for models no longer offered (if the calendar month/year
   that model was last offered is within 24 months of the current calendar
   month/year), the calendar months and years each hearing aid-compatible
   and non-hearing aid-compatible model was first and last offered; and
   the marketing model name/number(s) and FCC ID number of each hearing
   aid-compatible and non-hearing aid-compatible model no longer offered
   (if the calendar month/year that model was last offered is within 24
   months of the current calendar month/year).

   (i) Reporting requirements—(1) Reporting and certification dates.
   Manufacturers shall submit reports on efforts toward compliance with
   the requirements of this section on an annual basis on July 15. Service
   providers shall submit certifications on their compliance with the
   requirements of this section by January 15 of each year. Information in
   each report and certification must be up-to-date as of the last day of
   the calendar month preceding the due date of each report and
   certification.

   (2) Content of manufacturer reports. Reports filed by manufacturers
   must include:

   (i) Digital wireless handset models tested, since the most recent
   report, for compliance with the applicable hearing aid compatibility
   technical ratings;

   (ii) Compliant handset models offered to service providers since the
   most recent report, identifying each model by marketing model
   name/number(s) and FCC ID number;

   (iii) For each compliant model, the air interface(s) and frequency
   band(s) over which it operates, the hearing aid compatibility ratings
   for each frequency band and air interface under ANSI Standard C63.19,
   the ANSI Standard C63.19 version used, and the months in which the
   model was available to service providers since the most recent report;

   (iv) Non-compliant models offered to service providers since the most
   recent report, identifying each model by marketing model name/number(s)
   and FCC ID number;

   (v) For each non-compliant model, the air interface(s) over which it
   operates and the months in which the model was available to service
   providers since the most recent report;

   (vi) Total numbers of compliant and non-compliant models offered to
   service providers for each air interface as of the time of the report;

   (vii) Any instance, as of the date of the report or since the most
   recent report, in which multiple compliant or non-compliant devices
   were marketed under separate model name/numbers but constitute a single
   model for purposes of the hearing aid compatibility rules, identifying
   each device by marketing model name/number and FCC ID number;

   (viii) Status of product labeling;

   (ix) Outreach efforts; and

   (x) If the manufacturer maintains a public Web site, the Web site
   address of the page(s) containing the information regarding hearing
   aid-compatible handset models required by paragraph (h) of this
   section.

   Note to paragraph (i)(2): For reports due on January 15, 2009,
   information provided with respect to paragraphs (i)(2)(ii)
   through(i)(2)(v) and (i)(2)(vii) and (i)(2)(viii) need be provided only
   for the six-month period from July 1 to December 31, 2008.

   (3) Content of service provider certifications. Certifications filed by
   service providers must include:

   (i) The name of the signing executive and contact information;

   (ii) The company(ies) covered by the certification;

   (iii) The FCC Registration Number (FRN);

   (iv) If the service provider is subject to paragraph (h) of this
   section, the website address of the page(s) containing the required
   information regarding handset models;

   (v) The percentage of handsets offered that are hearing aid-compatible
   (providers will derive this percentage by determining the number of
   hearing aid-compatible handsets offered across all air interfaces
   during the year divided by the total number of handsets offered during
   the year); and

   (vi) The following language:

   I am a knowledgeable executive [of company x] regarding compliance with
   the Federal Communications Commission's wireless hearing aid
   compatibility requirements at a wireless service provider covered by
   those requirements.

   I certify that the provider was [(in full compliance/not in full
   compliance)] [choose one] at all times during the applicable time
   period with the Commission's wireless hearing aid compatibility
   deployment benchmarks and all other relevant wireless hearing aid
   compatibility requirements.

   The company represents and warrants, and I certify by this declaration
   under penalty of perjury pursuant to 47 CFR 1.16 that the above
   certification is consistent with 47 CFR 1.17, which requires truthful
   and accurate statements to the Commission. The company also
   acknowledges that false statements and misrepresentations to the
   Commission are punishable under Title 18 of the U.S. Code and may
   subject it to enforcement action pursuant to Sections 501 and 503 of
   the Act.

   (vii) If the company selected that it was not in full compliance, an
   explanation of which wireless hearing aid compatibility requirements it
   was not in compliance with, when the non-compliance began and (if
   applicable) ended with respect to each requirement.

   (4) Format. The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau is delegated
   authority to approve or prescribe formats and methods for submission of
   the reports and certifications required by this section. Any format
   that the Bureau may approve or prescribe shall be made available on the
   Bureau's website.

   (j) Enforcement. Enforcement of this section is hereby delegated to
   those states that adopt this section and provide for enforcement. The
   procedures followed by a state to enforce this section shall provide a
   30-day period after a complaint is filed, during which time state
   personnel shall attempt to resolve a dispute on an informal basis. If a
   state has not adopted or incorporated this section, or failed to act
   within six (6) months from the filing of a complaint with the state
   public utility commission, the Commission will accept such complaints.
   A written notification to the complainant that the state believes
   action is unwarranted is not a failure to act. The procedures set forth
   in part 68, subpart E of this chapter are to be followed.

   (k) Delegation of rulemaking authority. (1) The Chief of the Wireless
   Telecommunications Bureau and the Chief of the Office of Engineering
   and Technology are delegated authority to issue, consistent with any
   applicable requirements of 5 U.S.C. 553, an order amending this section
   to the extent necessary to adopt technical standards for additional
   frequency bands and/or air interfaces upon the establishment of such
   standards by ANSI Accredited Standards Committee C63®, provided that
   the standards do not impose with respect to such frequency bands or air
   interfaces materially greater obligations than those imposed on other
   services subject to this section. Any new obligations on manufacturers
   and Tier I carriers pursuant to paragraphs (c) through (i) of this
   section as a result of such standards shall become effective no less
   than one year after release of the order adopting such standards and
   any new obligations on other service providers shall become effective
   no less than 15 months after the release of such order, except that any
   new obligations on manufacturers and service providers subject to
   paragraph (e)(1)(ii) of this section shall become effective no less
   than two years after the release of such order.

   (2) The Chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and the Chief
   of the Office of Engineering and Technology are delegated authority, by
   notice-and-comment rulemaking if required by statute or otherwise in
   the public interest, to issue an order amending this section to the
   extent necessary to approve any version of the technical standards for
   radio frequency interference, inductive coupling, or volume control
   adopted subsequently to the 2007 ANSI standard for use in determining
   whether a wireless handset meets the appropriate rating over frequency
   bands and air interfaces for which technical standards have previously
   been adopted either by the Commission or pursuant to paragraph (k)(1)
   of this section. This delegation is limited to the approval of changes
   to the technical standards that do not raise major compliance issues.
   Further, by such approvals, the Chiefs may only permit, and not
   require, the use of such subsequent versions of the technical standards
   to establish hearing aid compatibility.

   (l) Incorporation by reference. The standards required in this section
   are incorporated by reference into this section with the approval of
   the Director of the Federal Register under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR
   part 51. All approved material is available for inspection at the
   Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 45 L Street NE, Reference
   Information Center, Room 1.150, Washington, DC 20554, (202) 418-0270,
   and is available from the source indicated in this paragraph (l). It is
   also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records
   Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this
   material at NARA, email fedreg.legal@nara.gov or go to
   www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html.

   (1) IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA), 445 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, NJ
   08854-4141, (732) 981-0060, stds-info@ieee.org,
   https://standards.ieee.org/.

   (i) ANSI C63.19-2007, American National Standard Methods of Measurement
   of Compatibility Between Wireless Communication Devices and Hearing
   Aids, approved June 8, 2007.

   (ii) ANSI C63.19-2011, American National Standard Methods of
   Measurement of Compatibility Between Wireless Communication Devices and
   Hearing Aids, approved May 27, 2011.

   (iii) ANSI C63.19-2019, American National Standard Methods of
   Measurement of Compatibility Between Wireless Communication Devices and
   Hearing Aids, approved August 19, 2019.

   (2) Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), 1320 North
   Courthouse Road, Suite 200, Arlington, VA 22201, (703) 907-7700,
   global@ihs.com, https://global.ihs.com/csf__home.cfm?&csf=TIA.

   (i) ANSI/TIA-5050-2018, Telecommunications—Communications
   Products—Receive Volume Control Requirements for Wireless (Mobile)
   Devices, approved January 17, 2018.

   (ii) [Reserved]

   [ 73 FR 25587 , May 7, 2008, as amended at  75 FR 54522 , Sept. 8, 2010;  77 FR 41928 , July 17, 2012;  81 FR 183 , Jan. 5, 2016;  81 FR 60633 , Sept. 2,
   2016;  83 FR 8631 , Feb. 28, 2018;  83 FR 63105 , Dec. 7, 2018;  84 FR 37592 , Aug. 1, 2019;  85 FR 64406 , Oct. 13, 2020;  86 FR 23625 , May 4,
   2021]

   


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Goto Year: 2020 | 2022
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