Knock, Knock. Who’s There?: Doorbell Modifications For The Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The old joke starts off, “Knock, knock.” “Who’s There?” But it’s no joke when someone is knocking at your door, and you can’t hear them. Fortunately, there are solutions. Several modifications can be used for the deaf or hard of hearing. Whether you want to replace your entire doorbell system, prefer an add-on device to magnify your current doorbell, or need something to signal manual knocking, there are plenty of options from which to choose.

Doorbell and Intercom Kits

The first consideration for those who need to adapt their door is to ask if you want to buy an entire system. If so, you may want to purchase a doorbell or intercom kit. If you already have a doorbell, this kit will replace your existing one. If you live in an apartment that has an intercom system, the kit will work with your current system.

A doorbell kit usually includes buttons, speakers, and sometimes a strobe light. Depending on the product, multiple speakers or buttons may be included. Multiple buttons allow you to wire more than one entrance. The extra speakers are for placing in other rooms in your house. Many kits have the option of choosing from different melodies or adjusting the volume.

Intercom kits are meant to be used with existing intercom systems. Typically, the system will be wired so that you receive a flashing light or some other visual indication that someone is pressing the intercom button. Some intercoms are equipped with cameras. If your intercom system does not, you might want to see if you can find an add-on that would allow you to activate a camera to see who is waiting.

Wireless Doorbell Systems

Not everyone wants to replace or modify their existing systems to that degree. If all you need is a little amplification, a wireless system is ideal. Wireless systems are usually installed near the existing doorbell chime. They are quick and easy to add to your home.

A wireless system must include a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter is the part you hang near the doorbell chime. The receiver is usually portable. When someone rings the doorbell, the transmitter sends a radio signal to the receiver. The receiver then alerts you. Receivers usually have adjustable volume and frequency. Sometimes they have a choice of sounds or tunes or even a strobe light feature. Receivers should also be portable, so you can carry them from room to room and never miss a visitor.

Doorbell systems can either come in simple, stand alone packages with a bundled transmitter and receiver, or they can be part of a more comprehensive alerting system that has doorbells as one of several signaling or transmitting alerting triggers.

Door Knock Signalers

But what about people who don’t have doorbells? Door knock signalers are the solution. If you do not have a doorbell, and have no plans of getting one, a door knock signaler is a good choice. Door knock signalers hang over the top of your door. This feature makes them easy to install. It also makes them very portable. You can take them with you on trips to hotels, overnight visits with friends, or even to college. Door knock signalers aren’t made just for entrances or exits. They can be hung on bathroom and bedroom doors as well.

The door knock signaler is all one piece. It does not include a receiver or portable device to carry with you to alerts. The signaler works by lighting up when someone knocks on the door. So you have to be close enough to the door to see the light. Adjustable features may include the sensitivity, or how light of a knock it will detect, and possibly the brightness or flash pattern of the light.

One of these three options should work for most people. If answering the door continues to be a difficult task, you may want to consider getting a service dog to help with alerts, or a more comprehensive alerting system that could include a portable vibrating receiver, a super bright strobe light, or a flashing alarm clock. But in the meantime, trying a couple of different electronic products will give you an idea of what type of door alert system works best for you.

Photo by Brennan Ehrhardt on Unsplash

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