Getting up and off to work

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?

FullSizeRenderFinally, 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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9 thoughts on “Getting up and off to work”

  1. I’ve used the Vibralite Mini for the last 2 years and can’t recommend it highly enough. The vibration is enough to wake me up and there’s a facility to set up to 12 alarms/reminders. It has the benefit that it’s only the wearer who gets woken up and it also looks quite sporty and cool to wear all the time.

  2. I’ve used a variety of devices over the years with varying degrees of success. For many years I used a Silentalarm system which was quite complicated and very expensive but could be used to alert you to all sorts of things from the doorbell to the smoke alarm as well as waking you in the morning. However, the vibrating pad for the system was quite large and could be uncomfortable to lie on.. I also for a while used the type of clock you have pictured Tracey, but found that if my head wasn’t directly over it I simply slept through the vibration. For the past several years, longer than I can remember to be honest, I have used a vibrating watch like Christine. Mine is called a Vibralite 3. Christine’s is probably a much newer model. The problem with the Fitbit as an alarm is that you need a compatible phone. My Fitbit won’t “talk” to my phone at all as it’s an older model iPhone.

    1. Thanks Hilary. So that’s two positive votes for the vibralites! I might have to try one of those myself.

      I probably should have also said that the Fitbit needs an iPhone 5 to work with. I’m not sure about its compatibility with android phones. Perhaps other readers might know?

  3. Only very strong vibrations would ever wake me & then not instantly, so my choice (for alarms and alerts of all kinds) is not technology alone but my hearing dog for deaf people – my third one is infallible and if he didn’t wake me, my ‘retired’ one would. But not everyone wants a dog!

  4. Hi Tracey I am not sure if I am 100% correct here but I know through Connevans and AOHL some products you can buy and if you are deaf , do not have to pay VAT so they might be more cost effective than through Amazon ?

    1. Hi Shona, that’s a really good point. Yes you could potentially save money by using AoHL and Connevans. For some products it is possible to register for a VAT exemption and there is guidance on how to do this on both of their websites.

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