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Alerting Devices for people with hearing loss

You’re in the right place if you’d like general information about alerting devices. If you’re looking for information about a specific device or where you can buy one, please visit the Alerting Devices portion of our Resource Directory.

Modern technology has provided a multitude of alerting devices for people with hearing loss. Standard alerting devices normally rely on sound to alert a person. But sound is of little value to a hard of hearing, late deafened, or oral deaf person. Alerting devices for people with hearing loss generally rely on either visual signals or vibration.

There are all kinds of devices available for people with hearing loss. Virtually any type of audio alert is available in a format suitable for people with hearing loss. This includes baby monitors, fire alarms, alarm clocks, telephone (TTY) signalers, and doorbells.

Smoke Alarms are fundamental to a feeling of well-being, because they awake us in case of fire.

One of the big concerns of people with hearing loss is being notified in the event of an emergency or natural disaster. We often hear about people with hearing loss who were totally unaware of a tornado warning or notification of other event. Fortunately there are some emergency radios available that address this need.

Another safety issue concerns the notification of the presence of emergency vehicles when on the road. Many hearing people no longer hear the sirens of these vehicles – windows up, sound system blasting), so it should be no surprise that people with hearing loss often don’t hear them. There are some automobile alerting systems that address this need.

If you would like additional information on alerting devices, or would like to purchase one, see either:

bulletshopping for alerting devices for people with hearing loss
bulletgeneral stores for people with hearing loss

March 2003 – How do people with hearing loss wake up in the morning? Many of them can’t hear a standard alarm clock. There are a great variety of devices that address that problem. Here’s Curtis Dickerson’s articles on Alarm Clocks for People with Hearing Loss.

Wake-up Devices by Curtis Dickinson

March 2003

Editor: Need a good wake-up device? Wondering what kind you should get? Or even what the various types are? Here’s Curtis with answers to those questions! He knows a lot about these devices, because he uses and sells them. You may contact him at hearmeco@telegram.infi.net or visit his website at http://hearing-loss-help-co.com.

Which is best for being awakened from a sound sleep during an emergency or just a regular wake-up alert: Vibrations, Incandescent Flashing lamps, Strobe (Photo-electric) lights, or sound?

It really depends on the individual. Some swear by vibrations. The more powerful vibrating devices are typically called bed shakers. The smaller ones are called pillow shakers-for the obvious reason. And then there are the wrist-shakers. Guess what that is called? A vibrating wristwatch. Smile. Some swear by a flashing lamp. This means a regular lamp bulb or incandescent bulb. Others say only a strobe will work. A strobe light produces a high degree of intensity. Also in the running for wake-up alerts are those that produce sound. Some of these types allow different settings for volume and tone. Of course, these are for the hard of hearing consumer-not those who are deaf. A good bed shaker vibrator will fit between the box spring and mattress and shake the bed. A flashing lamp can be seen through your eyelids and so can a strobe light. A strobe light is much brighter, almost like a burning bright white light, though no guarantee to be more effective when in a sound sleeps. Some say no amount of flashing light works for them; both types of light can be ineffective if your face is covered.

A good audible alerting device will have separate volume and audible controls. You won’t know which you prefer unless you try. Truth is, all will work the first few times after they are installed because the alert is new and you awaken through surprise, (as if it were an emergency alert). Therefore it can be assumed if the same alert wakens you every day, at the same time, it becomes less of an emergency, does it not? Then it becomes easy enough to ignore the signal. Lifestyles come into play here, too. If you pass out from a night of drinking, a screeching alarm may wake everyone in the neighborhood but you. Not a good way to start the morning, eh?

VIBRATION ALERT: There are some bed shakers (vibrators) that alert you by a continuous single-phase vibration. This means it produces a steady vibration until you either shut it off or it turns itself off. Another type of vibrator alerts you by emitting a pulse-style vibration. This is an on/off, on/off, and on/off type of alert. It releases a burst of vibration. Then stops, and then vibrates again. This, too, continues until it is shut off either by you or the alarm.

STROBE LIGHT ALERT: These are special lights producing a quick sharp white flash, such as in a flash camera, but it’s a continuous flash and much brighter than a lamp.

LAMP LIGHT ALERT: Basically you just plug the lamp of your choice into the device. The more expensive lamp flashing devices allow you to use the lamp in a normal fashion. This means that the lamp will flash when the alert is activated, regardless if the lamp is on or off. (As in using it for reading). The less expensive alerting devices will not allow this. In other words, if you turn on the lamp to read, and then forget to put it back into the flash position, it will not flash. If you purchase this type, be sure to tape the on/off switch or cover it some other way. This will act as insurance that the light will remain in the on/flash position and also act as a warning to visitors that it must not be changed.

AUDIBLE ALERT: These emit a sound that also can be of a constant type, or on/off, on/off, on/off. The better ones allow separate sound controls such as volume and tone. Some have quite a good range of effect. Others allow for a radio station to pop on. And some have the love-to-hate snooze. (Why do people use a snooze rather than set the alarm for the snooze time? That makes as much sense to me as setting a clock 10 minutes fast.)

COMBINATION ALERTS: These alerts offer sound, vibration and light flash to go off all at once to awaken you. I suppose this is good if you want to scare the pets or have the bodies in graves turning over!

MANUFACTURERS: The following are some of the manufacturers of these devices. Contact these people and they will inform you where to purchase their product:

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