How to Choose a Visual Security Alarm System for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

It’s one thing to have an alarm system that scares intruders, but it’s another if you still don’t know what’s happening around you when the alarm goes off.

Many security alarm systems are not accessible to people with hearing loss. If you can’t hear above 70 decibels, no audio alarm system will operate best for you.

People who are deaf or hard of hearing like us shouldn’t have to compromise their safety. If anybody needs security the most, it will be us. A perfect target for a robber is an individual who they know has hearing difficulties and is well aware of high-end and expensive equipment and tools in the home.

In this article, we’ll break down what you need to know, your security options, and what works and what doesn’t.

What to look for in a security alarm

Vibration alerts

There aren’t any security alarms with vibration sensors to alert the deaf. However, if you can find a device connecting to your smartphone or smartwatch, you can receive haptic feedback notifications.

Visual alerts

People with hearing loss can learn of events in the following ways:

  • Video security alarm
  • Flashing light alarm
  • Visual display alarm

These can be made using motion detection or just a camera using AI to indicate a moving object has been detected.

Ease of use

I noticed that often, security systems can be either self-monitoring or a monitoring service that includes trained security professionals looking after your home. 

Alarm monitoring services

Depending on your budget, you should explore a complete package with a security alarm system plus monthly services. These high-investment services will be taken care of if an alarm goes off or someone enters your property unintended. They will contact emergency services after attempting to contact you several times to check if there is a false alarm.

The biggest downside to alarm services

One downside to a service like this for people with hearing loss is if you do not respond to the security alarm company and they send the police to check on you, only to find out that you don’t hear and it was a false alarm, you may be given a fine. 

See also  The Exclusion of People with Hearing Loss from Public Warning Sirens

If you have a small budget, you might prefer to use a smart home security device that you can monitor independently. If the alarm goes off, you won’t have the service to look after you. You will be responsible for caring for your home, family, and yourself in an emergency. 

Avoid hardwiring rental properties

Managing your security yourself is good when you don’t have the luxury of hardwiring security systems in your home. In these cases, the devices that don’t require an electrician to set up may be ideal.

Examples of security alarms

We’ll share a few security alarm systems that you could use. That will give us the best sense of protection.  What I suggest here are examples and not necessarily product reviews.  

Broken glass detector

Legacy security alarms for the deaf and hard of hearing used a detector around the window to help identify if an intruder has tampered with glass or window.

Motion detection

There are two types of motion detectors. Some smart motion detectors alert you of movements using a complementary app available for the smartphone.

Other times, motion detectors can be used to turn on lights, especially during the dark. This can highlight the movements of people within the space.

Video Camera

Smart home systems with video cameras can offer another way to assist. The video camera is skilled at picking up movements to alert homeowners of people approaching their land. 

Notifications can come in the form of a text message or using an app on the smartphone. 

Smartphone apps

Apps such as Lisnen offer a way to use a microphone from your smartphone or other devices with a microphone to pick up audio noises, such as security alarms. These apps connect with vibration or visual display notification features from smart devices.

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Why some security alarm for the deaf won’t work

A few things make for a poor user experience, especially when you don’t account for the individuals with hearing loss.

They use audio-only

Traditionally, security alarms use audio alarms to scare off intruders and let someone in the house and the neighbors know there was an entry. However, for people who are deaf or hard of hearing without a hearing device, they will not be able to hear.

They assume everyone around their phone

We understand that using your mobile phone alone isn’t by your side. While you are in the shower or during your sleep or nap. Many of the smart home security alerts to your smartphone, and you might miss the notifications.

Preventative Safety Tip

Most professional burglars look to do the job when they don’t have to confront anyone. That could be while you are away from your home.

Understand that your social media account can be a good tip for information. Avoid posting and sharing images online that can indicate where you are at any moment and time. Change your camera setting to avoid adding GPS information to your online photo. 

Each picture should have a place to access a menu to verify if any local information has been captured. On an Android smartphone, for example, you can find this under “Details,” with three vertical dots selection, and then select ‘Edit.’

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