Assistive alerting devices are designed to react to alarm situations and are used to let a deaf or hard of hearing person know that some condition is occurring (such as smoke alarm, door bell or baby crying).
Amplified ring, flashing Light, vibration alert for phone
The ability to hear a telephone ring will depend on a number of factors such as the severity of the hearing loss, the frequency of the telephone ring and the distance from the telephone to the person. If the individual does not respond to the sound of the typical telephone ring, there are telephone ringers available which have adjustable volume, pitch, and ring patterns. Very often, a lower pitch ring can make it easier to hear. If the hearing loss is severe, there are devices that will cause a light to flash, a body worn unit to vibrate, or a bed-shaker to vibrate when sleeping. Most amplified telephones have options for volume, pitch and pattern as well as a small flashing light to indicate the phone ringing.
Phone alerting devices are available for TTY (or TDD), Voice Carry Over (VCO) and Video Phone. Some telephone alerting devises are part of a complete alerting system and are usually wireless making installation easy.
Doorbell, knock and intercom
If the doorbell, a knock on the door or intercom cannot be easily heard, there are a number of options that are available.
There are many wireless extra loud doorbells that are currently on the market. The doorbell is installed outside the door of the house or apartment and the receiver (bell) is plugged in to an electrical outlet located inside the home. Additional receivers can be added as required.
Another unit that is available will cause a remote receiver to either make a sound, flash a strobe light or lamp when the doorbell is pushed. In addition, some units can be made to operate with the type of intercom system often found in apartments. When the intercom buzzer is pushed at the main door of an apartment building, the sensor inside the apartment will “hear” the sound and send a signal to receivers. Generally, these types of doorbells are part of a complete alerting system and are usually wireless making installation easy.
Another type of device is one that is attached to the inside of the door and will respond to someone knocking by flashing a light. This type of device is best used in a small apartment or hotel room.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
There are two options for smoke and carbon monoxide safety. Both options can be used as part of a complete alerting system and are usually wireless making installation easy.
The first would be to make existing traditional smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors accessible by installing a sound monitoring device mounted close to the detector(s). When the detector alarm goes off, the sound monitor “hears” the sound and then sends a signal to a receiver in order to signal a bed shaker or flash a strobe light or lamp.
The second option is to use specific smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. These detectors send a signal to a receiver in order to signal a bed shaker or flash a strobe light or lamp.
Alarm clock, timer and watch
There are many alarm clocks and timers available with adjustable volume and pitch, flashing light, or vibration.
There are both electrical powered and battery powered alarm clocks. Some alarms clocks are part of a complete alerting system. Generally, the electrically powered clocks are louder, a lamp can be plugged into them and tend to have stronger vibration. However, battery powered alarms can be useful when traveling.
There are small timers available that use sound, flashing light, or vibration as an alert. These are good for cooking or as a medication reminder.
There are several wrist watches available that use vibration as an alarm, on the hour alert, medication reminder or countdown timer.
Additional considerations in complete alerting systems
There are many complete alerting systems on the market today and it is important to understand how they operate.
There is usually a base unit that has its own outlets in which you can plug in a lamp and a bed shaker. The electrical outlet of this self-contained base unit would normally be dead but becomes live (turned on) when the alarm condition occurs. For example, a base unit that also doubles as an alarm clock has both an outlet for a lamp and an outlet for a bed shaker. The lamp that is plugged into the unit should remain on and is switched on and off by the use of a switch on the base unit, and not on the lamp itself. When the base unit is triggered by either receiving a signal from a transmitter such as a doorbell, baby cry signaler or simply by the use of an alarm for waking, the lamp will flash, bed shaker will shake, or the unit will emit a sound in a specific pattern according to the condition. On some systems the lights will flash, or can be adjusted to flash in different patterns so that you can easily tell the difference between one condition and another. While other systems show on their base unit, indicator lights that will let you know exactly what the condition is. If a lamp is used for alerting, it can be used for regular lighting as well and will flash regardless if the light appears on or off.
A few points of interests: some systems use their own special lamps or strobe lights, while others require the use of the individual’s own lamps.
Some units communicate with each other by using radio transmission, while others communicate with a remote device by sending a signal over the existing electrical wiring .When using alerting devises, each transmitter and receiver should be made by the same manufacturer to ensure compatibility.