REMINDER: Hearing Aid Compatibility Due January 15, 2021

Wireless service providers (including de minimis wireless service providers) must file their annual Hearing Aid Compatibility Certifications with the FCC for the 2020 reporting period by January 15, 2021 (by midnight ET). While it appears the FCC will be extending the HAC Certification deadline this year to February 1st, out of an abundance of caution, we suggest getting the certifications filed by January 15th. The filing window opened Monday, January 4, 2021. Here is a link to the FCC Form 855 certification and instructions.

By the 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.

As a reminder, as of September 3, 2019, wireless service providers (other than de
minimis providers) must have complied with, and must comply with two new hearing aid compatibility requirements (under Section 20.19(h) of the Commission’s rules), summarized below, regarding website posting and record retention:

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
(https://www.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 in January 2018 or later).

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