October 2015 Technology and Disability Policy Highlights

Date of Publication: 
2015 October

In October, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to update Hearing Aid Compatibility Rules for wireline, wireless and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telecommunications equipment. Among other things, the proposed amendments address concerns and request stakeholder input on developing an industry standard for wireline handsets and their volume controls, and extending volume control standards to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) equipment and wireless handsets.  According to some, enabling volume control on wireless handset would improve call quality for not only users of hearing aids and cochlear implants, but also for people who are heard of hearing that do not use in ear or bone conduction hearing assistance technology.  The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) also released a document to address the needs and preferences of people with disabilities.  The FTA’s Circular FTA C 4710.1:  ADA Guidance, explains several aspects relating to the ADA and accessible public transportation and associated services. The guidance includes stipulations for the provision of accessible information on public transit to be made readily available to people with disabilities through written or electronic media. These formats may include large print, Braille, audiotape, and electronic files for text to speech technology.  Additionally, alternatives to audio communications should also be provided to individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

The month of October also brought a round of grant award announcements to further research being done on disability access.  The University of New Hampshire received a grant to continue improving knowledge about and access to disability employment data. With October being National Disability Employment Awareness Month, this award was especially timely.  At a Justice Department event United States Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch stated, “…our society is made fundamentally more just – and more equal – when we strive to broaden the circle of opportunity to include everyone with the will and the determination to work toward success.”

Finally, please share our 2015 Survey of User Needs (SUN) for Wireless Technologies.  The SUN is our survey of wireless technology use and usability by people with all types of disabilities.

To share the SUN, use the share buttons at this link:  http://www.wirelessrerc.gatech.edu/content/newsroom/wireless-rerc-launches-new-survey-user-needs


The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90RE5025-01-00). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this website do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.