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Public Law 100-394, August 16, 1988 [TXT]

Hearing Aid Compatibility Act Of 1988

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PUBLIC LAW 100-394-AUG. 16, 1988 

HEARING AID COMPATIBILITY 
ACT OF 1988 

19-139 0 -88 (394) 

Aug. 16, 1988 
[H.R. 2213] 

Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988
Communications and telecommunications
47 USC 609 note.
47 USC 610 note. 

Public Law 100-394 
100th Congress 

An Act 

To require certain telephones to be hearing aid compatible. 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
UnitedStates of America in Congressassembled, 

That this Act may be cited as the "Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988". 

FINDINGS 

SEC. 2. The Congress finds that

(1) to the fullest extent made possible by technology and 
medical science, hearing-impaired persons should have equal 
access to the national telecommunications network; 
(2) present technology provides effective coupling of telephones 
to hearing aids used by some severely hearing-impaired 
persons for communicating by voice telephone;
(3) anticipated improvements in both telephone and hearingaid 
technologies promise greater access in the future; and 
(4) universal telephone service for hearing-impaired personswill 
lead to greater employment opportunities and increased 
productivity. 

HEARING AID COMPATIBIITY REQUIREMENTS 

SEC. 3. (a) Subsection (b) of section 710 of the Communications Act 
of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 610) is amended to read as follows: 
"(bX1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3), the Commission 
shall require that -


"(A) all essential telephones, and 

"(B) all telephones manufactured in the United States (other
than for export) more than one year after the date of enactment 
of the Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988 or imported for 
use in the United States more than one year after such date, 
provide internal means for effective use with hearing aids that are 
designed to be compatible with telephones which meet established 
technical standards for hearing aid compatibility.

"(2XA) The initial regulations prescribed by the Commission 
under paragraph (1)of this subsection after the date of enactment of 
the Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988 shall exempt from the 
requirements established pursuant to paragraph (1XB) of this 
subsection only

"(i) telephones used with public mobile services; 
"(ii) telephones used with private radio services; 
"(iii) cordless telephones; and 
"(iv) secure telephones.

"(B) The exemption provided by such regulations for cordless 
telephones shall not apply with respect to cordless telephones
manufactured or imported more than three years after the date of 
enactment of the Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988. 

"(C) The Commission shall periodically assess the appropriateness
of continuing in effect the exemptions provided by such regulations

for telephones used with public mobile services and telephones used 
with private radio services. The Commission shall revoke or otherwise 
limit any such exemption if the Commission determines that"
(i) such revocation or limitation is in the .public interest; 

-"(ii) continuation of the exemption without such revocation or 
limitation would have an adverse effect on hearing-impaired 
individuals; 

"(iii) compliance with the requirements of paragraph (1XB) is 
technologically feasible for the telephones to which the exemption 
applies; and 

"(iv) compliance with the requirements of paragraph (1XB)
would not increase costs to such an extent that the telephones 
to which the exemption applies could not be successfully marketed. 

"(3) The Commission may, upon the application of any interested Scane. and 
person, initiate a proceeding to waive the requirements of para-technology.
graph (1)(B) of this subsection with respect to new telephones, or 
telephones associated with a new technology or service. The 
Commission shall not grant such a waiver unless the Commission 
determines, on the basis of evidence in the record of such proceeding, 
that such telephones, or such technology or service, are in the 
public interest, and that (A) compliance with the requirements of 
paragraph (1)(B) is technologically infeasible, or (B) compliance with 
such requirements would increase the costs of the telephones, or of 
the technology or service, to such an extent that such telephones, 
technology, or service could not be successfully marketed. In 
anyproceeding under this paragraph to grant a waiver from the requirements 
of paragraph (1)(B), the Commission shall consider the effect 
on hearing-impaired individuals of granting the waiver. The 
Commission shall periodically review and determine the continuingneed 
for any waiver granted pursuant to this paragraph.

"(4) For purposes of this subsection

"(A) the term 'essential telephones' means only coin-operated
telephones, telephones provided for emergency use, and other 
telephones frequently needed for use by persons using such 
hearing aids; 

"(B) the term 'public mobile services' means air-to-ground
radiotelephone services, cellular radio telecommunications services, 
offshore radio, rural radio service, public land mobile 
telephone service, and other common carrier radio communication 
services covered by part 22 of title 47 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations;

'(C) the term 'private radio services' means private land 
mobile radio services and other communications services 
characterized by the Commission in its rules as private radio 
services, and 

"D) the term 'secure telephones' means telephones that are 
approved by the United States Government for the transmission 
of classified or sensitive voice communications.". 

(b) Section 710(f) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 
610(f)) is amended by striking out the second sentence and insertingin 
lieu thereof the following: 'The Commission shall complete rule-
making actions required to implement the amendments made by the 
Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988 within nine months after the 
date of enactment of such Act. Thereafter, the Commission shall 
periodically review the regulations established pursuant to this 
section.". 

Approved August 16, 1988. 

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY-HL.2218 . 8314): 

HOUSE REPORTS: No. 100-674 (Comm. on Energy and Commerce).
SENATE REPORTS: No. 100-391 accompanying S 814 (Comm. on Commerce, Sience 
and Transportation). 
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, VoL 184 (1988):
Jun 8, considered and passed House. 
July 1 considered and assed Senate, amended in lieu of S.314. 
July 28, House concurred in Senate amendment.

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