FCC aims to make emergency alerts more accessible for the hard of hearing

On-screen warnings should be more helpful.

Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images

The US' Emergency Alert System often relies on audio to grab your attention, but what if you have hearing issues? The FCC hopes to fix that. The Commission has proposed rules that would make the alerts more accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing. Most notably, the move would require partners to use internet-based alerts when possible — this would offer "superior" visuals to the old version meant for over-the-air TV.

Another potential rule would demand clearer, more descriptive TV alerts. The FCC is also exploring ways to upgrade the legacy emergency alert system to display "more visual information" alongside the warning message.

Chairwoman Rosenworcel and all FCC commissioners support the three proposals. In that light, it's less a question of whether they'll move forward as how well they'll work. Ideally, you won't have to worry about missing useful information in an alert if you can't listen in. It's just not certain how the system will evolve, or how well online messaging will hold up in the event of crises that disrupt internet access.