Unless you’ve got a really good internal body clock or you’re a naturally early riser, then you’re likely to need some means of being rudely awakened in the morning. However, for those of us with hearing loss, there is of course an added complication – we often can’t hear the alarm going off!
Never fear. There are a few solutions available to us. The easiest, I guess, is to simply use a normal alarm clock (or your phone) and if its got a pretty loud ring, then that might work fine for you. I must admit, my iPhone is my first port of call if ever I need an early morning alarm. I simply put it by the side of the bed, use a loud ringtone (you need to try a few out and make sure you’re not using a “gentle breeze rustling the leaves” kind of ringtone) and then set it to its highest volume. Granted, it can sometimes be a bit touch and go as to whether or not I hear it as it does depend on which side I end up lying on before the alarm goes off. If I’m lying on my right side, then I don’t have chance at all of hearing it because I’m so deaf in my left ear. But if I happen to be lying on my left side with my right ear pointing upwards, I do stand a pretty good chance of being roused from my slumber. As you can imagine, it only works around 50% of the time, so I always have a fall back position!
If an alarm clock or phone isn’t going to work for you (and of course, for those with sleeping partners, it might not be the best solution to have an incredibly loud alarm going off each morning), then a vibrating pillow, clock or watch might be the best option.
I started with a vibrating clock several years ago that I used to set and put under my pillow each night. It was very effective but could be a little uncomfortable under the pillow. There’s also the possibility, depending on how much you wriggle in bed each night, that it can move around and actually fall out of bed. However, you can see from the photograph of the model I’ve got, that there’s a little clip to let you attach it to your pillow case, so that this doesn’t happen. If you’re buying one, you might want to ensure it has something similar. Nowadays, however, I think that a lot of alarm clocks have separate vibrating pads that can slip into your pillow case or under your pillow.
If you’re interested in buying one, I’ve done a review of three models of alarm clocks and Amazon has a really good selection here, some of which, like the Geemarc ‘Wake and Shake’ and the Sonic Alert series have really good reviews. They tend to have small vibrating pads to slip in your pillow or mattress and so are more comfortable to use. If anyone has any experience of them or have other makes they’d like to recommend, then please share the details below. Your experience can really help others to know which ones perform well, and which might be the ones to avoid.
Alternatively, you might think of getting a vibrating watch and again, I’ve done a review of some models here. They’re certainly smaller and more discrete and have the benefit of not falling out of your bed or waking your partner when they go off. They can also be used during the day for other types of reminders, for example to take medication or for appointments. There are loads of models available here but I can’t really recommend one over the other. Does anyone have any models they would recommend?
Finally, remember that fall-back position I mentioned? Whilst I have my iPhone by my bedside, I always have my Fitbit One, programmed with a vibrating alarm, firmly fastened to my wrist. Fitbits are basically fancy pedometers that measure activity levels during the day and track your sleep during the night. However, most of the models also have the option of a vibrating alarm and having used one for the past year, I found it works well for me. Its very easy to set the alarm through my PC or iPhone, its very discrete and it packs a good intermittent vibration to bring you round from your slumbers. They’re not cheap and you wouldn’t want to buy one just for its alarm. However, if you’re looking for a fitness tracker too, I would recommend the Fitbit for being so multifunctional. The full Fitbit range is here.
You might have noticed that I’ve only provided links to Amazon, and some of you might prefer not to buy there. If that’s the case, you can also buy vibrating clocks and watches from either Action on Hearing or Connevans. There may be a little less choice and the products can be a little bit more expensive, but on the other hand, the customer reviews are very good and written by and for people with hearing loss, so you may give them greater credence than those you read on Amazon.
Anyway, I hope this is of help to some of you, but like I said in my first blog, I think that the important thing is what we can learn from one another. We’ve all got so much experience we can draw upon as we manage our hearing loss from day to day. Please share yours with others and if you have any advice to offer or models to recommend, use the comments below. It would be great to hear from you.
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