Alerting Systems

  • Alerting systems notify deaf and hard of hearing people of everyday events such as when a baby cries, when a telephone rings, or when a doorbell rings. These systems alert the user with extra loud alarms, flashing lights, and vibrating signals.

    There are a large number of vendors for these types of products. Some of the vendors focus mainly on the needs of the deaf and hard of hearing communities and these specialized vendors are usually able to provide detailed information on selecting the appropriate products. These specialized vendors include:

    Large national retailers often carry some of the same products but they are typically not able to provide much advice and support to deaf and hard of hearing customers.

    Emergency Preparedness

    Accessible Emergency Information Emergency information topics are available in different formats for deaf, blind and deaf-blind populations. Topics can be viewed in ASL in a video format, and in Braille and large print text.

    Deaf Link provides information about emergency alert systems and broadcasts, such as the Accessible Hazard Alert System (AHAS) and the Shelter Link program.

    The Emergency Email & Wireless Network Individuals can sign up to receive an email, cell phone, or pager notifications regarding severe weather alerts, health alerts and other emergency information based on the county where they live.

    Smoke Alarms

    The National Fire Protection Administration provides an overview of smoke alarms that can provide audible, visual, and tactile alerts for the deaf and hard of hearing. The 211 Texas website has a list of agencies and programs that provide free smoke detectors to people who qualify.

    Doorbell and Telephone Signalers

    Most doorbell and telephone signalers generally use a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter is located near the source (e.g., doorbell) and the receiver is located where the alert is needed (e.g. the bedroom). Many of the systems allow for multiple receivers for one transmitter so that the alert can appear in several rooms at the same time. The receiver is usually connected to a lamp or vibrating bed shaker.

    In general, all the components of the alerting system should be selected from the same model/brand for compatibility. However, there are some systems, such as X-10 technology, that are used in home security systems that allow any X-10 devices to be added to the system.

    Alarm Clocks

    There are small, portable travel alarm clocks and also nightstand alarm clocks that are designed for permanent installation. These alarm clocks can connect to either flashing lights, vibrating bed shakers, or both.

    Baby Cry Systems

    Inner Parents provides a guide for selecting a baby cry system.

    Hotel Assistive Equipment Kits

    The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) has an article that addresses the assistive equipment kits that hotels are required to provide.

    Service Dogs

    Texas Hearing & Service Dogs is a Texas based organization that trains dogs for deaf and hard of hearing people.

    Assistance Dogs International, Inc. is a national coalition of not-for-profit organizations that train and place Assistance Dogs (another name for Service Dogs).

    How to afford a Service Dog