When you’re looking for an alarms for deaf and hard of hearing is usually when your sleeping pattern and schedule is out of whack, like after the holidays. The events and trips disrupts my regular sleeping pattern and the REM sleep cycles seems to be going off course.
As someone with a hearing loss, and who doesn’t want to have anymore nightmares about waking up in sweats late for an important event, I went on to research about clock alarms that can help us end our sleep anxieties and nightmares from becoming a reality.
Buying new products is always a risk especially if you don’t know where to start. I’m going to help you, especially if you are someone with a hearing loss, someone who’s a deep sleeper, someone who has a partner that is a light sleeper, or someone who’s just struggling to wake up consistently.
This post will tell you what you need to know to make sure you select the best alarm clock for your needs that will let you sleep well and wake up on time.
General clock alarms
Some alarm clocks were not explicitly designed for the deaf and hard of hearing, but they are sufficient because they work to substitute sounding alarms for other sensory cues. Sounding alarms can be a disturbance to others sleeping around you who may be a light sleeper. Alarms that vibrate will allow other people to continue to rest without interruption.
Every smartphone has an alarm feature that can be great for people who want to wake up, but if you are concerned about the harmful effect of radioactive waves emitting into your body, which could possibly lead to cancer (although it hasn’t been scientifically proven) or bed fires, this might not be your best option.
Wearables with alarm clocks are typically a wristwatch. These watches or wearables often function more than an alarm clock: they are designed to match your lifestyle and easily transportable. Health conscious people tend to gravitate to brands like Fitbit or MI band. People who are active in the outdoors would like Garmins.
Many of our smartphone companies like Apple and Samsung are into wearables as well. One thing to note is that many of these wearables can connect to your smartphone and use wireless connecting to communicate between the two devices. This gives you the option to put your phone away from the bed and focus on receiving notifications that are important to you at night.
- Has multi-purpose usage: be notified about essential calls at night, track your sleep or measure your physical performances
- Allows you to put your smartphone away from the bed if you’re worried about radioactive waves or the screen lights affecting your sleep.
- They are expensive
- May not be suitable for deep sleepers
- If your device is not charged, it won’t operate
Watches are usually good if you are a light/ moderate sleeper, but you should look at two other wearables that are perfect for heavy sleepers.
Shake N Wake Wrist Watch is a great option. However, it doesn’t have the function of digital watch, and yet, the opportunity to pair with your smartphone isn’t available. This is an excellent affordable option if you are on a budget.
- Great for deep sleepers
- Price is reasonable if you are not looking to spend much
- Uses battery – no complaint about how long the battery lasts
- Doesn’t pair with a smartwatch
- The band may slip off while sleeping
- The band is big and bulky and may be uncomfortable while sleeping
Pavlok helps you to perform better habits. One of the better habits is to wake up on time. Their wristband can vibrate or zap you to wake up, and it will know what you are doing from your body movements.
- Great for deep sleepers
- Can help you wake up on a schedule
- The original price high if you are using it for one thing
- The product is designed to ensure that you succeed at waking up on time without the need for the watch later – an investment for a short period may not be worth it to you
Sometimes shakers or vibrations don’t work well to wake people up. In that case, they may prefer a flashing light as another option. There are two products that you can hack to make an alarm clock with lights. One person had suggested using a timer that can plug to a lamp. These small devices are programmed to turn on the lamp when the timer goes off.
Another more advanced option is the LIFX or natural lighting designed to help regulate your sleep. Philips or other dawn simulator lamps help people with seasonal affective disorder. These are smart lighting systems that you can operate from an app.
- Suitable for those who are on a budget (except for Philips/dawn simulators)
- Allow you to choose the color of the light that works best for you
- You’ll gain health benefits from having natural lights to wake you up
- This can wake others in the room
- No shaker included
Clock alarms for deaf and hard of hearing
Product designed and marketed specifically for people with hearing loss is no considerable difference in functionality than for hearing individuals. The most substantial difference can be seen through increases in the sensory features. The shakers or vibrations features of the alarm clocks are stronger, the flashing light features are brighter, and the audio features are much louder.
Wearable clock alarms
We’ll highlight the few wearables that exist for people with a hearing loss.
Serene InstaLink is one of the few devices that provides a modern, wearable solution for people with a hearing loss.
- Has a flashing light alert option
- Pairs with a smartphone
- Receive alerts for social media as well as telephone
- Rechargeable battery that will last a week
- Battery indicator to let you know of a low battery
- Doesn’t have added functionality like Apple watches or Fitbit
- Pairs with a few applications on your mobile phone
- The band doesn’t operate like other smartwatches.
Ditto is one another product designed for the deaf and hard of hearing. They created a wristband with a small wireless device that acts as a shaker. The wireless device can be either attached to the band or work as a clip.
- Not only a wristband but can interchange between a band or clip to your clothing
- The product is small and lightweight
- The strength of the shaker is similar to that of a smartphone
- The battery size is unique and not easily found
- Opening the battery portion is not easy
- The clip to the band is not easy to figure out
- Links to many apps that may not be familiar to you
- Android app is not available at the time of writing
Most bedside products include an audio alarm. Some can be controlled others not. Remember, if you are living in an apartment building or sharing a room with other people, the loud alarm sound could be a cause for complaints. Choose the alarms with a shaker and flashing alert or those that allow you to turn the audio notification off.
- Pairs with other alerting devices like the fire alarm, doorbell and baby monitor
- Provide both flashing lights and vibration
- The sensitivity of the flash, vibration, and sound can be accommodated to suit your needs
- Bed shakers may be sold separately
- They are priced higher to accommodate other alerting devices
- Flashing lights may not be strong (Bellman and Symfon)
- They can stop operating after a year or so, but the company will support with replacement parts (Clarity)
- Krown product has been discontinued
Amplicom TCL Vibe Alarm Clock is both a wearable and a bedside option.
- Notifies if the battery is low
- Portable for travel
- The wearable gives you the option not to wake up your partner
- Difficult to set up
- No flashing alert option
- Minimum functionality, can’t perform other alerts that other bedside devices can do
- It’s a battery only device
- The band is not as secure
- Bed shaker is included
- Can connect with a telephone
- Backup battery included in the case of power outage
- Minimum functionality – can’t perform other alerts compare to other bedside devices
- The price is high for the little functionality that it provides
- The shaker may not be strong due to the vibration pattern
Sonic Alert | Sonic Bomb product line are highly liked among the deaf and hard of hearing community. They come with a shaker that is placed under the pillow, and the clock has strobe lights for flashing next to the bed.
- Portable for travels
- Comes with a bed shaker
- Good for heavy sleepers
- Multiple designs for all ages
- Some lines can pair with a smartphone
- Pricey (many say the investment is worth it)
- The shaker can be too strong for others (Suggested to put the shaker at the foot of the mattress)
- This requires electricity, and the long wires can be a distraction while sleeping
- Flashing alarm can wake up others
- Some product line doesn’t work longer than a year for many
- For some, the batteries component is faulty – won’t operate the device
- Includes a fire alarm, no other purchase required
- Wireless and no installation required
- Battery operated
- The audio alert is always on
- The light from the clock remains on all night and may disturb your sleep
- It’s costly for just an alarm clock.
If you want to go internationally and try other alerting devices that are made overseas, Lisa Alarm Clocks is a German brand that I came across in my research.
- Modern design, if the style is your preference
- Similar to many of the other devices like Bellman and Symfon, Clarity, and Krown.
Portable clock alarms for deaf and hard of hearing
Alarm clocks don’t need to be large bedside devices. These products are designed for travelers and people who prefer compact solutions that allow you to carry your alert with you or in your carry on.
- One of the most affordable solutions
- Many options: you can get a clock or just the shaker alone
- Pairs with your smartphone
- Great for deep sleepers
- The shaker won’t wake up your partner
- The app keeps crashing or freezing
- You may need to sync the product with the app regularly for the alarm to work
- Can only use as an alarm clock, no other features
- Battery last long
- Has an audio component but it can be turned off
- Has a snooze button
- Can work with your headphone, if you have low to moderate hearing loss
- Compact and light for travel
- The shaker isn’t as strong under the pillow, for heavy sleepers
- There’s a LED light that flashes continuously and can cause a distraction
- Battery operated – requires additional expenses to have the device running
- You can use the headphones similarly on your mobile phone
TravelTim vibrating alarm clock these are the pager-like designs that are small enough for you to carry and it has enough power to do the job of waking you up.
- Has an audio component but it can be turned off
- Can clip to your pillow
- Battery works for more than 6 months
- Has both flashing lights and it vibrates
- You can attach an external shaker in case the vibration is not strong enough
- Can clip to a pocket
- The buttons on the back of the alarm are small and difficult for configuration
- The flashing light may not be strong for some
- Battery operated and requires two types: AA and AAA
- Some people think the device is overpriced compared to Shake Awake
- Button in front that might turn the alarm off accidentally, if you press hard against it while you are sleeping
- Can’t see the switches in the dark
Shake Awake is very similar but has discontinued. In case you are buying it used or have found someone who wants to lend it to you, I will share still share the pros and cons.
- Perfect for heavy sleepers
- The company has discontinued the product – no further repairs
- The clip to pillow doesn’t stay put (some people prefer to hold in their hand)
- Vibration makes noises, and it could wake up others
DeafWake App was developed for the Deaf and hard of hearing in mind. The founder is also Deaf and built the app based on his own personal frustration.
- Allows you to use a camera light where other standard alarm applications don’t
- Screen flashes as well
- You can add multiple alerts for many appointments
- It’s a better option than the standard iOS Apple Alarm clock
- Can pair with your Apple Watch
- Flashing lights need to be facing up – on one side
- Vibration may not be strong for heavy sleepers
- Configuring the app is not self-explanatory nor does it explain how
- It uses a lot of battery
- It won’t work if your screen is locked
Where to buy
If you are looking to buy a clock alarm, it is difficult to buy the product directly from the company themselves except for products made for the masses. To buy hearing loss products, the best places to buy is online and have it delivered to your door. Harris Communications and Amazon are great options. However, many other non-profit organizations support the deaf and hard of hearing and sell assistive and adaptive technologies for the deaf. Also, hearing organizations sell these products as well. You can attend in person, or they may have the option through their online store
Now you have the information that you need to decide what is the best product for you based on your lifestyle and needs. You’re ready to go shopping without worrying about buying the wrong device for you. So, sleep well!