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Hearing Aids

Department for Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 14th March 2017.

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Photo of Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Shadow Spokesperson (Health), Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the potential risk of disruption and interference to Bluetooth hearing devices from overcrowding on the free ISM band.

Photo of Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Shadow Spokesperson (Health), Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to protect the use of Bluetooth technology in hearing devices from overcrowding of the ISM band 2.4GHz.

Photo of Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Shadow Spokesperson (Health), Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps are being considered to ensure a guard band of 20MHz as a buffer to protect the Bluetooth application in hearing devices.

Photo of Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

Ofcom is the independent spectrum regulator accountable to parliament for such matters. They inform me that the band is a licence exempt band which means it is free to use, without licence, but also that all users operate on the basis that they must not cause interference to others and that they can expect no additional protection themselves. However, we recognise that assisted listening devices are important and hence Ofcom have taken steps to undertake additional testing to determine if the band is likely to face any interference from adjacent bands. Results of this testing are due shortly. With regard to your question about overcrowding in the band, Ofcom has been moving to make additional spectrum available in other bands for Wi-Fi as soon as possible.

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