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Using the Cellular Telephone as a Hearing Aid

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000011992D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Mar-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Mar-31
Document File: 2 page(s) / 26K

Publishing Venue

Motorola

Related People

Michael Bercovici: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

The Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988 (HAC Act) requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure that all "essential" telephones are hearing aid compatible. "Essential" phones are defined as "coin-operated telephones, telephones provided for emergency use, and other telephones frequently needed for use by persons using such hearing aids." These might include workplace telephones, telephones in confined settings (like hospitals and nursing homes), and telephones in hotel and motel rooms. Currently, many people who use hearing aids or who have cochlear implants have difficulty finding a digital wireless mobile telephone that functions effectively with those devices because of interference and compatibility problems. Requiring public mobile service devices to be made compatible with these devices would ensure that people with hearing disabilities would be able to enjoy the same access to wireless communications that other consumers do.

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Using the Cellular Telephone as a Hearing Aid

By

Michael Bercovici

Yaron Shemesh

Kahlon Haim

The Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988 (HAC Act) requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure that all "essential" telephones are hearing aid compatible. "Essential" phones are defined as "coin-operated telephones, telephones provided for emergency use, and other telephones frequently needed for use by persons using such hearing aids." These might include workplace telephones, telephones in confined settings (like hospitals and nursing homes), and telephones in hotel and motel rooms.

Currently, many people who use hearing aids or who have cochlear implants have difficulty finding a digital wireless mobile telephone that functions effectively with those devices because of interference and compatibility problems. Requiring public mobile service devices to be made compatible with these devices would ensure that people with hearing disabilities would be able to enjoy the same access to wireless communications that other consumers do.

A telephone that is hearing aid compatible allows the use of telephone-compatible hearing aids. To make a phone hearing aid compatible, a telecoil is inserted in the phone. The telecoil couples electro-magnetically with a similar telecoil in the hearing aid implementing an audio link.

When a digital wireless telephone comes near a hearing aid, interference often occurs, rendering the phone unusable to a person wearing a hearing aid. A buzzing or humming sound can result from the electromagnetic interference of the field around the phone’s antenna and the hearing aid, often making speech inaudible.

Some digital wireless telephones claim to be compatible with some hearing aids; but users seem to report various responses to sound clarity, making it difficult to determine which aids are compatible with which phones. In addition, different digital carriers use different digital transmission technologies (GSM, CDMA…), which may largely differ from each other in terms of frequency band and transmission power. The telephone technology, the carrier technology, and the nature of the hearing loss are the elements of the hearing aid “fitting equation” with a rather limited solutions space.

Analog wireless telephones do not cause such interference, but this technology is obsolete.

As a possible way to mitigate the problem, we have considered the use of the cellular ph...