Apple Complains About FCC’s Proposed Hearing Aid Rules

Posted by at 12:45 pm on January 30, 2016

Apple LogoApple has filed comments with the FCC requesting the agency refrain from adopting new hearing aid rules.

In November, the agency issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would require all phones to be accessible to people who use hearing aids or have cochlear implants. Right now, phone makers only have to make a small selection of their handsets accessible to hearing-impaired persons. The FCC wants to see such people offered the same range of devices that are available to all consumers.

Apple complies with current rules with its own hearing aid platform called Made for iPhone (MFi), but believes the FCC’s new proposal goes too far.

“The FCC has not in the past, and should not now, require that manufacturers ubiquitously implement coupling technologies that can function with every hearing aid,” argued Apple. “To do so would undermine companies’ ability to attract consumers with hearing loss by differentiating their products in the marketplace, and would severely constrain innovation.”

Further, Apple believes its Made for iPhone program should be more than adequate for its handsets.

“Recognizing approaches such as the MFi hearing aid platform as compliant under the FCC’s HAC rules will accelerate adoption, increase scale, and reduce cost of new technologies that can improve accessibility compared with today’s HAC-compliant technologies.”

 supports voice calls, FaceTime, Siri, navigation, and multimedia. The FCC is still accepting comments on its proposal and has not said if or when any regulations might go into effect.

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