Thursday, July 11, 2013

Alerting Devices for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Leslie Caldwell , Speech Language Pathologist at the Kansas School for the Deaf is back on the blog to discuss some new things happening in the world of AT in the world of the  Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Those of us that work within the world of Deaf education realize that the range of assistive technology available is quite vast. However it is easy to overlook the fact that there are many parents of deaf and hard of hearing children and newly diagnosed adults with hearing loss who are completely unaware of the technology that is available to make their lives easier and safer.
Jeanette Dodds said it best. “For a person who cannot hear, common household gadgets that rely on sound are useless. Consider the many devices you encounter each day that communicate to you through a ring or a sound - alarm clocks, doorbells, smoke detectors, telephones and fax machines. And although not a device, babies also use sound (crying) to get an adult’s attention. People who are deaf need an alternative method for being awakened in the morning, realizing someone is at the door, being alerted to the possibility of a fire, knowing the phone (or TTY) needs to be answered, and being alerted to their baby’s crying.”
After a recent conversation with a parent of mine, I re-enforced that there is a need to share information about safety and alerting devices for those with a hearing loss. Alerting devices use flashing lights, sounds, and/or tactile vibrations to alert people with a hearing loss to a variety of environmental sounds. Some of these devices can even be quite intricate, syncing with pre-existing alarm systems and doorbells making additional wiring unnecessary.
Alerting Devices:
Baby Cry Signaler: Enables people to be alerted to baby sounds. It has an adjustable sensitivity dial to pick up the softest sound and send a signal.
Carbon Monoxide Detector: Detects carbon monoxide before it reaches dangerous levels. There are two kinds of detectors: hardwired and plug-in.

Doorbell or Window Signaler: Works with or without an existing doorbell system to let people know that someone is at the door.

Smoke Alarm Signaler: Alerts people who are deaf or hard of hearing that the smoke alarm has been activated. Some alarms have built in strobe lights.

Motion Signalers: Alerts people to motion within their home.
Telephone or Video Phone Signaler: One type of signaler plugs directly into the telephone line and electrical outlet. Another type can be attached to the side of the telephone to pick up the sound of the bell.
- When using a lamp that plugs into a signaler or transmitter, there are several types to choose from.
• Instant-On CFL (compact fluorescent lightbulbs): The key is the instant-on feature. They have a life span about 10x longer than incandescent bulbs, and use less energy.
• Halogen: Provides a warmer light than CFLs but can cost up to 2x more. As incandescent bulbs are phased out, halogen bulbs should drop in price.
• LED: Works well but can be quite expensive, averaging about $18/bulb or more.
• Incandescent: Can last up to 5 years or more. Stock up while they're still available.
Wake-up Alarm Signaler: Signalers vary from portable alarm clocks with built-in strobe lights to alarm clocks with a built-in outlet where a lamp or vibrating alert can be plugged in.
Weather Alert: Gives notice of upcoming storms or dangerous weather conditions. The Weather Alert Radio can be used alone or in conjunction with optional alerting accessories.
Here are a few companies that sell these types of devices and provide more detailed information:
Harris Communications:
Hear World Communications

No comments:

Post a Comment