As we reported last August, the FCC had adopted new rules governing hearing aid compliant handsets. Those rules – most of which became effective back on October 8 – closed some loopholes that had allowed manufacturers like Apple to sell iPhones without having to comply with certain regulatory chores applicable to the sale of broader lines of handsets. But one element of the new rules did not take effect back in October: specifically Section 20.19(f), which requires manufacturers to disclose to consumers if handsets operate over air interfaces or frequencies for which no technical standards have been established. Since the disclosure requirements of that section (and related revisions to FCC Form 655, the Hearing Aid Compatibility Status Reporting Form) needed prior approval from our friends at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), those particular aspects of the new rules have been in a holding pattern for several months. But OMB finally gave the FCC’s changes the old thumbs up (on December 7), a fact which the FCC has now duly published in the Federal Register . As a result, Section 20.19(f) has become effective on December 14, 2010.
Handset sellers take note.