Smoke Detectors & Alarm Clocks: Can Clients Hear Them?

When we are providing hearing health to our clients, do we consider their hearing loss and the smoke detectors in their homes?

Did you know that the standard signal emitted by most commercially available residential smoke detectors falls between 3,000-4,000 Hz? Furthermore, the majority of residential fires occur between 11pm and 7am when most people are sleeping. According to Bruck & Thomas (2007), sleeping adults with a mild to moderate hearing loss respond to traditional smoke detectors about 50% of the time. Since hearing instruments are not typically worn during sleep, this creates a safety concern for our patients with hearing loss.

While there are a number of smoke detectors specifically marketed to the hearing-impaired population, one innovative product is the Lifetone HL Fire Alarm & Clock. This product was designed to work with existing smoke detectors already installed in the home. It is essentially a bedside fire alarm that also functions as an alarm clock. The product is equipped with a patented sensor that continually monitors sound. “When a smoke detector is activated, the Lifetone HL will detect the smoke detector’s signal and, in turn, generate a loud, 520Hz square wave signal at bedside that has shown to be effective in waking 95% of individuals with hearing loss. This product also comes packaged with a bed shaker.

Some offices use these products as raffle ticket prizes with office information and brochures in the box.  There are many opportunities for silent auctions in people’s communities and has been used successfully.  Do readers have other ideas?

Feature Images from Firefighting News and Oaktree Products