The U.S. government is changing its definition of “auditory assistance device” ending the limits on the use of those devices reflecting the growth of language interpretation devices that can be used by anyone at any location.
On Oct. 5, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) posted a Federal Register notice—Definition of Part 15 Auditory Assistance Device—outlining a proposed rule that amends the definition of those devices.
Auditory assistance devices transmit audio signals via radio frequency waves, magnetic fields, or infrared light waves to specialized receivers used by listeners to enhance the reception of speech, the FCC says. The commission’s current definition of auditory assistance devices restrict the use of part 15 auditory assistance devices that operate in the 72.0-73.0 MHz, 74.6-74.8 MHz, and 75.2-76.0 MHz bands (72-76 MHz bands) to auditory assistance to a handicapped person or persons.
Such devices may be used for auricular training in an educational institution, for auditory assistance at places of public gatherings, such as a church, theater, or auditorium and to handicapped individuals, only, in other locations, the FCC says. The proposed amendment would permit part 15 auditory assistance devices that operate in the 72-76 MHz bands to be used by anyone at any location for simultaneous language interpretation.
By minimizing the disproportionate effects of background noise and reverberation on speech perception by people with hearing disabilities, auditory assistance devices improve the quality of the sound over that which would be received via a loudspeaker system, the FCC says.
The deadline for comments on the proposed change to the definition of auditory assistance devices is Nov. 4, 2011, with the deadline for reply comments set for Nov. 21, 2011.