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CHAPTER 6: Environmental Aids and Strategies
for: the door, TV and radio, loop systems, telephone, the baby and alarm clocks. 

Plus: Hearing Dogs for Deaf People

 

This page covers:

Section A - Answering the door
A.a. Strategies with callers at the door
A.b. Environmental aids to help with the doorbell

Click on the links in the left hand column to see the other sections

A.a. Strategies with callers at the door

1. When I answer the door I always put the chain on before opening the door.

2. If you have an intercom find out how far the speaker's mouth should be from the microphone to give you clear speech. Then tell all future callers where to place their mouths. (There is no need to tell anybody that you are deaf because if you cannot hear it is always the fault of the machine!)

3. I live alone and I can't hear strangers on the doorstep. I am unwilling to tell people I am hard of hearing and so I don't answer the door unless I am expecting somebody.

4. I have the door on the chain so that I can see the person without letting them in fully.

5. I say "Not today thank you", which is just what hearing people say too.

6. Some people have had a CCTV (closed circuit TV) system fitted so that they can see the caller clearly before deciding whether to let them in. 

7. Some people have had a “peep-hole” fitted so they can see who it is at the door.

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A.b. Environmental aids to help with the doorbell

There are several different types of aid to help with the bell:
- Bells of different frequency and/or bells which are extra loud
- Flashing light doorbells (separate units such as table lamps)
- Flashing light doorbells (additional wall mounted lights)
- Flashing light doorbells (the house lights flash)
- Wireless door chimes (The unit can picked up and taken round the house and into the garden.)
- Vibrating systems (These consist of a pager which clips onto your belt or fits in a pocket.  The pager vibrates when the doorbell is rung.)                         

Issues to consider with aids to help with the doorbell:

  • Systems that dim or flash the house lights must be fitted by an electrician.


  • Do you want a wired or wireless system? 


  • A wired system will need the wires to run along the wall or skirting board, etc and you may need someone to wire it in for you.

    A wireless system may not work well if there are too many walls for the signal to pass through, or if the receiver is too far from the doorbell transmitter.

    Positioning a wireless bell push or door chime on or near metal structures, re-inforced PVC doors or door frames may reduce the transmission range.

  • Do you need a system that can alert you in just one room? (e.g. a plug-in flash system will flash in just one room.  You would have to take it and plug it into each room you go in to be alerted in other rooms.)


  • Will hearing people in the household still be able to hear the doorbell after you’ve installed the new equipment or had the doorbell wired into the house lights?


  • Do you need a bell for both the front and back doors?


  • Do you need a system that will alert you both during the day and during the night? (e.g. a system that amplifies the doorbell during the day when you wear your hearing aids may not be audible to you at night when not wearing your hearing aids.)


  • Do you need a system that will alert you to other household sounds as well?  (e.g. telephone, baby crying, smoke alarm)  If so, you may need to consider a multi-alert system.


If you feel you would benefit from any help about knowing when someone is at the door, your first port of call should be your local Social Services who should be able to tell you what is available in your area.  See the section on Obtaining Environmental Aids.

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