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Assistive Listening Devices - Help for Hard of Hearing and Deaf People

Wake-Up Alarms, Vibrators, and More


Updated February 16, 2011

Assistive listening devices make it possible for hard of hearing and deaf people to carry out daily life functions. These devices usually use bright strobe lights or vibration to visually or physically communicate to hard of hearing and deaf people what they can not hear.

Door Signals

Door signals alert the hard of hearing or deaf person that someone is at the door. They work by picking up the sound of a knock on the door and transmitting it to a light signal. This light signal flashes brightly.

Phone Signals

Phone signals work the same way. A telephone and a lamp are connected to the telephone. When the phone rings, the alert is transmitted via either sound or flashing light.

Both telephone and door signals can work with remote receivers to distribute the alert throughout a home or building.

Alarm Clocks

Wake-up alarms help a deaf or hard of hearing person to wake up by either flashing a light, or by creating vibrations. An alarm can be connected to a lamp, or there can be an attached bed shaker.

Fire Alarms

Fire alarms for hard of hearing and deaf people use sound, light, or vibration to alert people to a fire or smoke. Fire alarms can be either hard wired or plugged in.


Hard of hearing people can use television listening devices to pick up the television sound signal and amplify it. Headsets allow the hard of hearing person to listen as loudly as they like without bothering others around them. Plus, the television listening device can also be used with other electronic devices such as computers.

Hearing Loops

Hard of hearing people can hear in churches, theaters, meeting rooms, and other places more clearly with the help of hearing loops. They are also known as induction loops. A place can install the loop, and the hard of hearing person's hearing aid can pick up the sound through a wireless T-coil receiver in the hearing aid or cochlear implant.

Sources for Assistive Listening Devices

These and other assistive listening devices are usually sold by product vendors specializing in deaf and hard of hearing products. About.com has reviewed some deaf and hard of hearing product vendors.

My Personal Experiences

I had tried flashing wake-up light alarms. Unfortunately, they did not work for me because not only am I a deep sleeper, I would just hide from the light under the blanket. What works for me is a strong vibrating alarm that does not let me go back to sleep. I have to get up to turn it off. It does turn off automatically after a period of time if no one turns it off.

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