Posted by: hlacentralma | July 2, 2012

Finding the Wireless Cell Phone or Mobile Device to Meet Your Needs, Part 1

By Cheryl Heppner, 6/26/2012

This informative workshop was moderated by Matthew Gerst, Esq., Counsel and
External Affairs for the CTIA.

Wireless By the Numbers
In his introduction Mr. Gerst shared these statistics:

– There are 150 wireless companies
– The companies have 331 million subscribers
– There are 630 unique devices to choose from
– Trillions of call minutes and text messages are being sent
– Seventy three percent of adult American cell phone users send or receive
text messages
– The first app store opened in 2008 and there are now 1.9 million apps
across 11 different platforms
– From 2010 to 2011 there was a 123% increase in wireless traffic
– The amount of traffic is projected to grow 16 times by 2016

Expanding Accessibility
CTIA (The Wireless Association) is participating in the Federal
Communications Commission’s Access and Innovation Initiative by leading the
effort to work on expanding its access website at http://www.accesswireless.org.
This website has a searchable database to find and compare phones for access
features. It has links to major app stores and a site specifically for
seniors. Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) videos developed in a partnership
with HLAA and Gallaudet University can be found there.

Hearing Aid Compatibility Overview
In 2011 almost 450 individual wireless phone handsets were hearing aid
compatible. Of those, 150 were for GSM phones. On June 20, Samsung Galaxy
was released with a rating of M-4. The GSM air interface which is widely
used in Europe is the one most challenging to achieve hearing aid
compatibility.

HAC Rules and Standards
Harold Salters of T-Mobile gave a quick overview of the HAC rules and
standards. Telecoil ratings range from T1 to T4. The higher the rating is,
the less interference and higher immunity the phone has. The Federal
Communications Commission requires service providers to offer a range of HAC
models with different levels of operating capacity, features, frequency
bands, and M and T ratings. M ratings refer to how the phone works in a
hearing aid’s microphone mode and T refers to how a phone works in the
hearing aid’s telecoil mode. The minimum requirements are M3 and T3.

Steps in Selecting a HAC Cell Phone
Mr. Salters provided these tips:

– Talk with your audiologist to see if your hearing aid is capable of
mobile phone use.
– If possible, find out what the immunity rating is for your hearing aid.
– Research different wireless service plans and check coverage maps
online
– Research handset models
– Research HAC ratings on manufacturer and service provider websites
– Go to a store to try out the phone before you buy it
– Check the ratings on the box and “call out” or feature cards on the
shelf, not the device itself
– Read the contract and check what it says about the return policy,
specifically on HAC issues

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