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iPhone: Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted hearing-aid compatibility (HAC) requirements for digital wireless phones. This article contains the HAC ratings for iPhone devices that are hearing-aid compatible under FCC rules and information about using iPhone with hearing aids.

The iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 are hearing-aid compatible under the FCC requirements for hearing-aid compatibility (HAC). HAC ratings for hearing-aid compatible iPhone devices are listed below. See Identifying iPhone models if you are unsure of your iPhone model.

Hearing-aid compatible (HAC) iPhone ratings

 

iPhone 5s

A1453

A1533

M3, T43

Yes

iPhone 5c

A1456

A1532

M3, T43

Yes

iPhone 5
(CDMA model)

A1429

M4, T43

Yes

iPhone 5
(GSM model)

A1428

M3, T43

Yes

iPhone 4s

A1387

Not applicable

Yes

iPhone 4
(CDMA model)

A1349

M4, T4

No

iPhone 4
(GSM model) with Hearing Aid Mode

A1332

3G network (850/1900 MHz): M4, T4

No

2G network (850 MHz): M3, T3

2G network (1900 MHz): M33, T3

  1. Based on testing conducted by an independent laboratory following the ANSI standard C63.19, "American National Standard for Methods of Measurement of Compatibility between Wireless Communications Devices and Hearing Aids."
  2. Requires iOS 6 or later and a Made for iPhone Hearing Aid. Please confirm support for your model iPhone with your heading aid manufacturer.
  3. With Hearing Aid mode activated (iOS 5 and later, see below for more information).

What the HAC ratings mean

The FCC hearing aid compatibility rules require that certain phones be tested and rated under the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) C63.19 hearing aid compatibility standards. The ANSI standard for hearing-aid compatibility contains two types of ratings:

  • M: For reduced radio-frequency interference to enable acoustic coupling with hearing aids that don’t operate in telecoil mode
  • T: For inductive coupling with hearing aids operating in telecoil mode

These ratings are given on a scale from one to four, where four is the most compatible. A phone is considered hearing-aid compatible under the FCC requirements if it is rated M3 or M4 for acoustic coupling and T3 or T4 for inductive coupling.

Hearing-aid compatibility ratings aren't a guarantee that a particular hearing aid works well with a particular phone. Some hearing aids may work well with phones that do not meet the FCC requirements for Hearing Aid Compatibility. To ensure that a particular hearing aid works well with a particular phone, use them together before purchasing.

Hearing-aid compatibility and newer wireless technologies

Each hearing-aid compatible iPhone has been tested and rated for use with hearing aids for some of the wireless technologies that it uses. However, there may be some newer wireless technologies used in this phone that have not been tested yet for use with hearing aids. It is important to try the different features of this phone thoroughly and in different locations, using your hearing aid or cochlear implant, to determine if you hear any interfering noise. Consult your service provider or the manufacturer of this phone for information on hearing-aid compatibility. If you have questions about return or exchange policies, consult your service provider or phone retailer.

Ensuring the best experience with a hearing aid

Cellular telephones contain radio transmitters that may interfere with hearing aid performance. To ensure that a particular hearing aid works well with a particular phone, use them together before making a purchase. If you already own an iPhone and a hearing aid, here are some tips to ensure that you have the best experience possible.

iPhone and hearing aids generally work best together in "M" or acoustic coupling mode. To use your hearing aid in this mode, make sure that your hearing aid is set to "M," or acoustic coupling mode, and position the iPhone receiver near the hearing aid’s built-in microphone (or microphones). In other words, hold your iPhone against your head as you would naturally hold the phone when making a telephone call. The hearing aid will receive audio from the iPhone through its built-in microphones. For the best results, try using the iPhone in different positions relative to your hearing aid—for example, placing the receiver slightly above the ear may result in better performance for hearing aids with microphones positioned behind the ear. If you have an iPhone 4 (GSM model), activate Hearing Aid Mode (see below).

If Acoustic Coupling does not produce a satisfactory result, try using your hearing aid in "T," or telecoil coupling mode. To use your hearing aid in this mode, make sure that your hearing aid is set to "T," or telecoil coupling mode (not all hearing aids have this mode). If you have an iPhone 5 or later, activate Hearing Aid Mode (see below).

Activating hearing aid mode

To activate Hearing Aid Mode on iPhone 4 (GSM model) with iOS 5 or later, go to Settings > General > Accessibility. Hearing Aid Mode on the iPhone 4 (GSM model) reduces the transmission power of the cellular radio in the GSM 1900 MHz band, which may result in decreased 2G cellular coverage.

To activate Hearing Aid mode on iPhone 5 or later, go to Settings > General > Accessibility. Hearing Aid mode on the iPhone 5 modifies the phone’s acoustic settings to improve compatibility with hearing aids set in "T" or telecoil mode.

Made for iPhone hearing aids

Apple is working with top manufacturers to introduce Made for iPhone hearing aids that will deliver a power-efficient, high-quality digital audio experience (Requires iPhone 4S or later and iOS 6 or later). Made for iPhone hearing aids should be available starting in 2013.

"Bridge" accessories for audio streaming

Some hearing-aid manufacturers offer special "bridge" hearing-aid accessories that receive audio through Bluetooth from the iPhone and retransmit that audio using proprietary wireless audio-streaming technologies built in to some hearing aids. Check with your audiologist or hearing-aid manufacturer for more information.

Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified: Sep 26, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Sep 26, 2013
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