REMINDER: Hearing Aid Compatibility Certifications Due October 3, 2019

Filing Window Opens September 3, 2019

Wireless service providers (including de minimis wireless service providers) must file their annual Hearing Aid Compatibility Certifications with the FCC for the 2018 reporting period by October 3, 2019.  The filing window will open September 3, 2019 and will contain a link to the new FCC Form 855 and instructions at: https://www.fcc.gov/filing-hearing-aid-compatibility-reports-and-certifications.

This new certification replaces the FCC Form 655 annual report.  By the applicable filing deadline, each wireless service provider must certify whether it has been in full compliance with the FCC’s hearing aid compatibility requirements throughout the prior calendar year.  If a service provider was not in full compliance with the hearing aid compatibility requirements throughout the relevant reporting period, the service provider must provide an explanation of the non-compliance.

Each certification must include the following information:

(1) Name of the signing executive and their contact information;

(2) Company(ies) covered by the certification;

(3) FCC Registration Number (FRN);

(4) Website address of the pages containing the required handset model

information (for non-de minimis service providers); and

(5) 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.

In addition, by September 3, 2019, wireless service providers (other than de minimis providers) must comply with two new hearing aid compatibility requirements (under Section 20.19(h) of the Commission’s rules) regarding website posting regarding information on their handsets’ hearing aid compatibility capabilities and record retention of the hearing aid compatibility handsets they no longer offer:

WEBSITE POSTING REQUIREMENT:

(1) A list of all hearing aid-compatible models currently offered, the

ratings of those models, and an explanation of the rating system.

(2) A statement specifying, 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.

(3) A list of all non-hearing aid-compatible handset 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 the following link to the current

FCC web page containing information about the wireless hearing aid

compatibility and service providers’ obligations:

https://www.fcc.gov/hearing-aid-compatibility-wireless-telephones.

(4) A link to the Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative web site

(http://gari.info/) which has information regarding hearing aid-

compatible and non-hearing aid-compatible handset models or,

alternatively, a clearly marked list of hearing aid-compatible handset

models that have been offered in the past 24 months but are no longer

offered by that provider.

Handset lists must include model name/number and FCC ID number of each hearing aid compatible and non-hearing aid compatible handsets currently offered.  Websites must be updated within 30 days of any relevant changes.  Website pages must contain a “date-stamp” of when the website was last updated.

RECORD RETENTION REQUIREMENT:

(1) 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 and was last offered in January 2018 or later).

(2) 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.

(3)  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 and was last offered

January 2018 or later).

If you have any questions or need assistance with the Hearing Aid Compatibility Certification filing, please contact Greg Whiteaker at greg@hermanwhiteaker.com, Colleen von Hollen at cvonhollen@hermanwhiteaker.com or Hilary Hoyle at hhoyle@hermanwhiteaker.com.