March 17, 2023

Alerts and Alarm Systems to Stay Safe with Hearing Loss

When removing your hearing devices at night, do you get a restful sleep or do you worry about a fire alarm that you might not hear?  

Alert systems for individuals with hearing loss use other techniques; such as flashing lights, vibrations, lower pitch sounds, and extremely loud sounds to let you know something is going on. Whether it be a baby crying, a sink left running, or a fire, these signalers or notification devices can be life-saving during an emergency. 

Most alert systems work by sending signals to receivers, which then produce a visual alert (often a flashing light) or a vibrating alert, which may be attached to a pager and can be placed in any room around the house. To help you relax during the night, some systems offer a bed-shaker function, which will vibrate under your pillow when there’s a smoke or fire alarm. They can also be used to wake you up like an alarm clock. 

Depending on the system, it may work with your existing alarms and doorbells so you may not need additional electrical wiring. As smartphone technology improves, many of these functions can be accessed via your cell phone. Below are a few examples of devices available on the market:  

Smartphone sound detection apps 

Newer versions of cell phones offer alerts from their “Accessibility” menus.

Smartphone’s Sound Recognition or Sound Notification settings can not only distinguish between alarm sounds for fires, smoke, and sirens, but it can also offer day-to-day household alerts, such as running water, appliances, glass breaking, doorbells, door knocks, people shouting or a baby crying. Notifications are displayed on the phone screen, along with a brief description of the sound detected. 


Smartwatches can work with your phone, so even if your phone is out of sight, you can still receive alerts. Today, there are smartwatch apps, such as SoundWatch®, specifically for people with hearing loss

Smoke alarms

Smoke alarm systems may use a strobe light function so you can see as well as hear the alarm, or a vibrating function that you can wear on your clothing or place under your pillow at night.


This will alert you when someone is at the door and may work with or without an existing doorbell system. If you have a doorbell camera, you can turn on vibrating cell phone notifications when the camera senses motion or someone rings the bell.

Weather alert

In areas where wild weather can be a problem, you can use a weather alert system. iPhones and Android phones have many options for weather alert apps, and depending on your local area, you may also be able to buy a weather alert radio that can emit a flashing light and/or vibration to warn you of upcoming hazardous conditions.


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