How do Deaf People Use Alarm Clocks?

~ By Lee Jackson

Have you ever wondered how Deaf people wake up in the morning?  The most natural way is from the sun itself.  Leave curtains open to shine through windows to brighten up the room and Deaf people can sense the lighting in their sleep.  Some have their own internal clock that wakes them up.  But for those who don’t have internal alarm clocks, how do Deaf people use alarm clocks to wake up?

Alarm Clock Technology

Just kidding!  I don’t think anyone would want to wake up with tangled hair like this.  We do, however, use special types of technology to wake up.  As with fire alarms, we use the same type of device as an alarm clock.  Depending on each individual whether you’re a light or heavy sleeper, we all have preferences.  Options include a light flasher and a bed shaker called the Sonic Alert.

Sonic Alert

This is one of the common ways Deaf people use alarm clocks.  As you can see, the shaker is set under the mattress and shakes the bed. The person sleeping will be able to feel the vibration from the device.  Another option is the light flasher.  Any lamp can be plugged into the alarm clock and will flash when the alarm clock goes off.

Sonic Boom

Another popular brand for deep sleepers is called the Sonic Boom.

Even my son, who is hearing, uses this as well.  The Sonic Boom has a stronger shake and a louder alarm blasting that will wake you up and get out of bed.

iLuv SmartShaker

With the new technologies we have today, people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing are also able to use their smartphones as alarm clocks.  For those who have a Bluetooth, the Boom comes with a shaker that can be put under a pillow.  I would, however, recommend it to be placed between the mattress and the box springs so it will stay in place.  The shaker can easily be knocked off while asleep.  I have heard pros and cons about this type of alarm clock.  Some say that it does not shake as strong as the Sonic Alert or Boom do.  But others love it.

For those who don’t have Bluetooth, you may use your own phone’s vibrate setting.  Each phone, however, has different vibration strengths.

Android User

So for Android users under Settings and Accessibility, you have a choice of tones and may be able to include an LED strobe light.  Strobe lights on phones can vary.  A friend of mine uses a water bottle next to the phone so that, when the strobe light flashes, it makes the light flash brighter.

iPhone User

For iPhone users, Siri is finally accessible for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals.  If your iPhone is upgraded (iOS 11), then you may want to turn on the type option for Siri instead of the default voice setting.  Turn on “Press Home for Siri.”  Go to Accessibility and look for Siri and then turn on “type to Siri.”

For alarm clock use, some people leave their smartphones on top of their shoulder, stomach, or chest when they sleep. It depends on the individual how they are able to feel the vibration from their phones. With many reports lately, it is recommended not to leave your phone charging under your pillow as they can catch fire.  But if you do, be sure to set your phone on Airplane Mode to avoid being exposed to radiation.  One of the most common issues with smartphone use as an alarm clock is that it could be knocked off the bed by accident.

SmartwatchesDeaf People Use Alarm Clocks

There are also several smartwatches such as the Apple and Samsung watch or the Fitbit.

People may prefer this because it’s always with them, and it can sync with their phone.  Even people who can hear use smartwatches when they don’t want to wake up others.


Deaf people use alarm clocks just as people who can hear do.  But instead of making a sound, they rely on their sense of sight and touch.


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