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August 21, 2003

Digital wireless phones, hearing impaired

From: Capital News, NY - Aug 21, 2003

By: Capital News 9 web staff

George E. DeVilbiss, a hearing impaired cell phone user said, "I just feel so frustrated because I can't use the phone."

Devilbiss' frustration is shared by millions of Americans including 50-percent of men 65 and over and 35-percent of women 65 and over who depend on hearing aids and try to use a digital cell phone.

Digital wireless phones can cause interference to hearing aids and cochlear implants because of electromagnetic energy emitted by the phone's antenna, backlight or other components.

But the FCC's ruling requires digital wireless phone manufacturers and service providers to take steps to reduce the amount of interference emitted from the phones

FCC Commissioner Kathleen Q. Abernathy said, "You don't have to give up mobility just because you get a hearing aid. You can have both. It's not an 'either/or' choice."

Dana Mulvany of Self Help for Hard of Hearing People said, "It's really important for hard of hearing people to have the same access to wireless phones as other people do."

Toni Barrient, a hearing impaired cell phone user said, "I like to stay in touch, so I like to have that ability. I like it for emergencies when I'm driving because I drive alone a lot so, it's really important to me that I have a cell phone."

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