Hearing Aid Compatibility

GTA strives to provide persons who are hearing impaired with access to the most compatible wireless devices. Keep reading to learn more about GTA hearing aid compatible devices, and the options available for the hearing impaired. Feel free to contact us for any assistance.

About Hearing Aid Compatibility

Persons using hearing aids can experience interference when using a wireless device that is held to the ear. To address that issue, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), pursuant to the Hearing Aid Compatibility Act, adopted rules requiring wireless device manufacturers and wireless providers to offer a minimum number of devices (with speakers and ordinarily held to the ear) that are compatible with hearing aids. GTA Wireless offers many wireless devices that meet the FCC’s hearing aid compatibility requirements.

Get info on what makes a wireless device hearing aid compatible and lists of current and recent hearing aid compatible devices offered by GTA. For additional information about hearing aid compatibility with wireless devices, see the FCC Guide or the Wireless Association’ accessibility guide

HAC Ratings & Compatible GTA Wireless Devices

The devices listed below have been tested and rated for Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) under the 2011 ANSI Standard (with M and T Ratings) or the 2019 ANSI Standard.

Hearing Aid Compatible Devices

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HAC Ratings

Wireless handsets demonstrate hearing aid compatibility by complying with technical standards from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which are periodically updated to account for new frequencies and technologies. The hearing aid compatible wireless devices offered by GTA meet either the 2011 ANSI Standard or the 2019 ANSI Standard.

  • 2011 ANSI Standard. The 2011 ANSI Standard uses an M/T rating system to categorize a device’s ability to operate near a hearing aid without causing interference. The “M” part of the rating indicates the device’s ability to reduce interference to hearing aids operating in acoustic coupling mode. The “T” rating indicates the device’s ability to reduce interference to hearing aids operating in inductive coupling mode, in other words, with a telecoil. (Not all hearing aids have telecoils.) A device’s M and T ratings can run from 1 through 4. The higher the number, the less likely the device will cause interference when used near a hearing aid. A device that is hearing aid compatible under the 2011 ANSI Standard is rated M3 and T3 or better.
  • 2019 ANSI Standard. Devices that meet the 2019 ANSI Standard for hearing aid compatibility do not have M or T ratings. They are simply labelled as “Hearing Aid Compatible” or “HAC,” which now means that they will operate at the equivalent of the M3/T3 rating or better. Devices that meet the 2019 ANSI Standard also include volume control capabilities that allow for sound levels sufficient for operation with and without a hearing aid.

Hearing aids may also be measured for immunity to interference from wireless devices. Your hearing aid manufacturer or hearing health professional can help you find results for your hearing aid. The more immune your hearing aid, the less likely you are to experience interference noise from a wireless device.

Hearing and speech accessibility

Many wireless phones include features to make typing and video calling easier, like:

  • Large screens
  • Email
  • Text messaging
  • Video calling and chat
  • Visual Voicemail
  • Web browsing
  • Full QWERTY keyboards
  • Predictive text or autocomplete
  • Bluetooth® keyboard connections

If you're hearing impaired, try these resources to help find the right wireless phone:

Looking for info on other accessible wireless devices and apps? Try the multilingual Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative (GARI)

Tip: Want to make sure there isn’t noise interference with a device? Use your hearing aid or cochlear implant to try different phone features in different locations. Ask us or the phone manufacturer for info about a phone’s hearing-aid compatibility. We can also answer your questions about return or exchange policies.

More accessibility info

Try these resources to find more accessibility info:

Hearing Aid Compatibility FAQs

Why do I get interference on my hearing aid from my wireless handset?

The digital electronics revolution has greatly improved wireless communications. However, when used together, digital cell phone signals and hearing aids may unintentionally create interference or a buzzing sound for the hearing aid wearer, making it difficult or impossible to hear the telephone conversation.

Today, wireless handset manufacturers and service providers offer many wireless handsets that are Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC), which are less likely to generate interference when used with hearing aids. If you have a hearing aid or cochlear implant, you should look for a wireless handset with this feature, and try the handset with your hearing device before you buy it.

What is a telecoil?

Some hearing aids use a small device called a telecoil (or T-coil) made for telephones and assistive listening devices. The telecoil picks up magnetic fields generated by telephones or other assistive devices and converts these fields into sound. Telecoils let you turn up the volume of a hearing aid without creating feedback or “whistling,” and can reduce background noise.

In order to function correctly, the telecoil setting must be enabled, either by switching a hearing aid to the “T” position or pushing a button to select it.

What are hearing aid compatible (HAC) wireless handsets?

The wireless industry rates wireless handsets to show their compatibility with various hearing devices. Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) ratings are listed as “M” or “T” to show how the wireless handset will work with the hearing aid in microphone mode (M) and in telecoil mode (T). Wireless handsets rated “M3”, “M4”, “T3” or “T4” meet Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requirements, and are likely to generate less interference with hearing devices than those that aren’t rated as highly. A higher number means a higher rating.

Since 2003, the FCC has required that a specific number or percentage of digital wireless telephones be accessible to people who use hearing aids. The Commission requires wireless handset manufacturers and service providers to reduce interference. Today, wireless manufacturers and service providers offer a wide range of wireless handsets with a variety of features and prices to meet the needs of hearing aid wearers.

Check out the FCC’s information on Disability Rights Office and Wireless Bureau for information about hearing aid compatibility for wireless handsets.

Do hearing aid compatible (HAC) wireless handsets look any different from other wireless handsets?

No. The features are built in to wireless handsets. Wireless manufacturers and service providers offer a wide range of HAC wireless handsets.

Are hearing aid compatible (HAC) wireless handsets more expensive than wireless handsets without HAC features?

No. The total range of features and functions of a wireless handset will impact the price, but a wireless handset’s HAC rating will not. Service provider owned and operated stores will offer a range of phones with varying features and prices that can meet your needs and budget.

Do the FCC hearing aid compatible (HAC) regulations guarantee that I will be able to use a wireless handset with my hearing aid(s)?

While there is no guarantee, wireless handsets with a HAC rating should improve usability for hearing aid users. Hearing loss, hearing aids and cochlear implants are highly individualized, so try a wireless handset with your hearing aid and/or cochlear implant before you buy. If you typically use your wireless handset with a telecoil on your hearing aid or cochlear implant, be sure to use the telecoil feature while testing the handset.

How do I know if my hearing aid(s) will work with my wireless handset?

First and foremost, you should try before you buy. If you typically use your wireless handset with a telecoil on your hearing aid or cochlear implant, be sure to use the telecoil feature while testing the handset.

Many hearing aids contain Radio Frequency (RF) immune circuitry and/or a telecoil. This means they are designed to work with wireless handsets with lower RF emissions and magnetic coupling ability. While your hearing healthcare professional can tell you if your hearing aid is immune to RF interference, you may need to contact or visit the website for the manufacturer of your hearing aid to determine its immunity rating. Your hearing healthcare professional can also tell you if your hearing aid contains a telecoil.

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