Choosing Alerting Devices For The Deaf Or Hard Of Hearing

Alerting devices for the deaf are important products for the deaf, but they can also support the hard of hearing during the night. Most people with hearing loss do not always wear hearing aids or cochlear implants.

For some, their hearing loss is so profound that they cannot benefit from a hearing device. Others choose not to wear their hearing aids 24/7.

Many deaf and hard-of-hearing people often prefer not to wear their hearing aids, mainly indoors in their homes’ privacy. This is why alerting devices for hearing impaired are critical during these moments.

At the same time, the world is full of sound signals alerting us to all kinds of events. The baby cries because the baby is hungry, the doorbell rings from an unexpected guest, or the fire alarm in the condo building goes off at night.

It can be very challenging for a person who is deaf and hard of hearing to hear sounds and rely on or get the support they need from the hearing community.

Often, the hearing community does not include our needs. We don’t want life to stop us or our hearing issues to get in the way of life. That is why assistive technology for the deaf and hard of hearing, like deaf alert devices, has become an optimal solution. These devices don’t require us to do all the hearing or listening, and they can still protect us and alert us to the events surrounding us.

How do you find the best alerting devices for hard of hearing?

If you have tried searching for an alerting device, you may be challenged with finding what you need and a product that fits your budget.

You may also find few sellers in your country, and the selections may not be limited to your needs. So what do you do?

Many people have found success by speaking to other deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals for a recommendation, reading reviews on Amazon, checking online stores like the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association E-Store, or visiting their local hearing care shops.

However, you should know a few things before you buy an alerting device.

This post will tell you what you need to know to ensure you select alerting devices that successfully assist you in never missing an important sound.

Types of alerting devices

Fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide alarms – emergency alerting devices for the deaf

When a fire occurs inside a house or building and within the vicinity of a person, they have less than three minutes to escape the area before inhaling smoke. This is a fact that most people don’t know.

Smoke inhalation is the number one cause of death in a fire accident. Most fires occur at night when someone is most likely sleeping. You can’t rely on your sense of smell when you sleep because you may never wake up.

The market has two types of fire alarms: flashing lights and smoke alarms with strobe lights. They can also be combined with a vibrating device to alert a person with hearing loss.

Doorbell and doorknockers

These products are designed for the house.

The doorbell for the deaf and hard of hearing can replace an existing doorbell or be installed as a new one. Others provide notifications by placing a sensor underneath a mat.

When the guest gets close to the door, the sensor beneath the mat triggers a response. Some products hang on the doorknob inside the house. When the door vibrates due to the door knock, the doorknob sensor triggers.

Baby Monitors

Mothers or fathers of a newborn may find out that they are alone in caring for their child.

If the child is not in the same room, it won’t be easy to know if the child is calling for care. Baby cry alert devices allow mothers to receive alerts when their baby or children seek their parents’ attention.

Weather alerts

Some places experience extreme and sudden changes in weather patterns, like hurricanes or tornadoes. The government has set up an alert notification system for residents to take action.

Traditional alert systems are sound-based, and for the deaf and hard of hearing, they could be missing essential sounds. A deaf alert system is what is needed.

Phone ringing alerts

While cell phones have become widespread, they still have not replaced landlines for offices and homes.

See also  Vibrating Pagers for Deaf | Sensory Alert Gadgets

People who are deaf and hard of hearing may not hear the telephone ring and may find out that they often miss calls. The mobile phone alert for deaf will help inform you that there is a call.

Clock alarm alerts

It is easy to have someone wake you up to ensure you are not late for a morning appointment, school, or work.

However, if you don’t have the luxury of having that support or perhaps have different schedules, having an alarm clock can help. However, most traditional alarm clocks alert use sounds.

Some alarm clocks project extremely loud sounds, and waking everyone around you may not be useful. A vibrating alert can be helpful as well.

The brands that make alerting devices

A little more than a dozen companies sell alert devices. There are Sonic Alert, Bellman & Symfon, Silent Call, Vtech, Krown, Clarity, Serene Innovations, BRK, Gentex, Kidde, and Lifetone. These companies are also the major players in the alerting systems for the deaf market in North America.

Some have been on the market for decades, offering a range of products for the hearing loss market. Others have one or two product lines for the deaf and hard of hearing.

They can act as visual alert systems for deaf to help you see the alerts around you.

Please note that these are often alerting systems. They are not often a plug-and-play solution. You may require the purchase of multiple devices or hardwire with the help of an electrician, which I discuss in more detail later about the disadvantages.

In another article, I’ve detailed some popular brands and what they can provide for you.

Mobile apps that provide alerts are also trending. Some new players in the space are Leeo Smart (Discontinued) alert. Leeo Smart is a plug-in alert device for smoke and fire alarms. You can use the device with your mobile phone by downloading the app. Their app allows users to customize the colour of the flashing lights.

In addition, the iLuv Smart shaker is a transportable shaker that connects to a mobile app to wake you up.

The features of alerting systems for the hearing impaired

At times, more than one product is needed to run a working assistive device. There is a transmitter, a receiver, and another complimentary device if you want a vibrating alert.

The transmitter interprets the sounds or events, and the receiver takes in the notification from the transmitter to alert the individuals.

The receivers are typically built with some type of sensor, such as a flashing lights to give a light alert for deaf. It can also have a high-volume sound feature or can have additional components for a vibrating alert. We will talk more about the complementary devices or shakers in detail later.

If you need more than one alert notification, such as for a fire alarm, doorbell, or alarm clock, you can purchase one receiver that accommodates all the required transmitters.

Remember, you can’t mix and match receivers from one brand with another. Each company has designed its product so that you use only its brand.

What sets a good alerting device apart from others?

Coverage Area

Depending on the living space where you plan to use the device, you may need more receivers to cover the areas you use the most.

The receiver lives in the area where you spend most of your time. When looking at a product, you want to know the square foot area the product can cover between the transmitter and receiver.

This guarantees all products will operate well. For example, you will require two Bellman & Symfon fire alarms, which act as a transmitter, on each floor of your home to ensure that you have the right coverage with one receiver. The Bellman & Symfon receiver can be located in your bedroom.

Obstructions

Wall obstructions can prevent your transmitters and receivers from communicating with each other.

Some products work best when no walls obstruct the views between the transmitter and receiver because the transmitter cannot send a signal through thick walls.

Flexibility with your lifestyle

You will probably choose one product over the other depending on your lifestyle. Are you looking for a mobile product that you can pack and go?

You may need to contact an electrician.

Some products will require the work of electricians to install, others are wireless, and some are battery-operated.

Some brands will not accommodate a change of location if you are in many rooms at a time.

See also  Visual Flashing Alarms Are Not Always Saving Us. This is Why.

You don’t want to receive alerts only when you are in one of the rooms. A product like Sonic Alert provides a mobile app to support you in receiving the alert, or Bellman and Symfon offer pagers to carry around. These are things you want to consider.

The cost of alert devices

The cost of purchasing alert devices is an investment. The cost is not as high as that of a hearing aid, but it is the next significant investment for an individual with a hearing device.

The table below highlights the average cost for a single alert. The more alert notifications you require, the more expensive it is.

(*) Prices are shown in US dollars

Expect to pay more than $400 US dollars for one alert notification for one floor of your home, condo, or apartment building. The more area you require, the more signalling systems will be needed and the more they will cost. Fire alarms are usually the most expensive purchase.

If you need to purchase more than one sound alert notification, purchasing the package to buy the whole system at once will be best. The prices are reduced in this case.

However, it is still expensive upfront, but at least you will have everything you need. If you purchase sound signals individually, you will be paying much more than if you bought a set.

The top and most expensive brands for alerting devices

The price range of products varies from one company to another. It has little to do with quality but more about functionality and flexibility.

Bellman & Symfon and Silent Calls tend to have a higher price than most of the other brands. Some companies offer a wide range of compatible products, and their prices tend to be higher. Stand-alone products tend to have a cheaper cost.

Other options to consider

Add-ons – Haptic & Visual Alert System for Deaf

How you receive an alert is just as important. A visual alert, like a flashing light, is the standard offering.

However, if you are mobile and not standing still at one location in your house or are not light-sensitive, you will benefit from a vibrating alert.

Vibrating alerts or shakers are additional purchases connecting to your receiver. Some are wireless pagers or circular shakers, and others are attached directly to the receiver.

Wearables

Some people prefer to receive alerts on their bodies. This alerting device allows you to go outside and gain awareness of many sounds beyond the standard hardware devices. 

Neosensory is one company that has launched a wearable band that allows you to feel the vibration of sounds.

Mobile Phone Alert for Deaf

As technology advances and particularly provides sound-only communications, new inventions will be required for alert notifications in the market. Consider apps that can act similarly.

Several new apps have come to the market that can alert you to sounds in your environment.

Lisnen

Our company, Lisnen, is another option for providing modern solutions. We’ve combined a transmitter and receiver into one app.

Furthermore, we provide a mobile solution that allows you to receive an alert using your smartphone anywhere.

You won’t have to deal with the challenges of owning an alert device, such as walls blocking the devices from working or purchasing multiple items to receive an alert around the house.

We aim to develop a solution that will function similarly if a human can hear it from anywhere. In addition, if you are travelling, you don’t have to carry another product besides your smartphone, which you probably do anyway.

An alerting device for deaf people could be similar to having a hearing dog. You want something reliable, supportive, and user-friendly.

Most importantly, when you live with hearing loss, you don’t want to take chances with missing important sounds. Take preventable actions to care for yourself and your loved ones.

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