Our sister organisation in Europe (EHIMA) is urging governments to protect the bandwidth frequency used by hearing devices.  BIHIMA supports an open letter, written by our associates at EHIMA, which shows that the quality of life of EU citizens who rely on hearing technology could be jeopardised by multinational companies who seek to encroach on the bandwidth used by their devices.

Hearing technology relies on Bluetooth technology. For a person with hearing difficulties to take part in public life (meetings at work, going to the cinema or a concert, even catching a train) they need to be able to connect their hearing device to the transmitters in situ. This technology works within the free ISM band (2.4 GHz); however, either side of this bandwidth, are the 2.3 GHz and the 2.5 GHz bands, and these are currently being aggressively targeted by multinational companies for use in smartphone and tablets. This will result in the band in which hearing devices operate becoming the squeezed middle, and this carries a heavy risk of interference.

The interference from smartphones and tablets may disturb and even block the Bluetooth applications used in hearing devices, considerably disrupting the lives of millions of people.  A particular challenge is that small hearing devices have limited means of protection against such interference, because effective filters cannot be used due to size and power supply constraints.

In response to this critical situation, EHIMA has written to the relevant regulatory bodies and politicians on behalf of people who rely on hearing technology, requesting that the 2.4 GHz bandwidth is reserved and protected – specifically that emitting levels of smartphone technology which use adjacent bands are kept low, and that a large guard band of 20 MHz is preserved as a buffer.

BIHIMA and EHIMA is calling on governments and authorities to protect the rights and quality of life of its citizens with hearing difficulties, rather than giving into pressure from multinational companies, which would see public airwaves auctioned off, making them the exclusive property of big businesses.

For more information visit  http://www.hear-it.org/120-million-europeans-risk-poorer-quality-life