0 and 40 Part 1: Hearing the alarm clock without hearing

0 and 40 Part 1: Hearing the alarm clock without hearing

This is the first part of a series dealing with my hearing impairment. “0 and 40” refers to my residual hearing, 0% on the left, 40% on the right ear.

I have been called “stupid” (not true) and “deaf” (not completely, thanks) by people with normal hearing. I think, many facts about living with impaired hearing are not as well-known as they should be. Poor hearing often is associated with old age, that’s not the whole truth either. 

It’s important to keep in mind that there is not ONE, but MANY ways to deal with deafness. Everybody has to find his/her own. 

In my case, the hearing of high frequencies is drastically impaired. That affects comprehension of speech and noticing high sounds as ringing telephones, doorbells or alarm clocks.

When I was a child, my parents tried every kind of alarm clock. Everybody would be wide awake, except me. So for the next years I was dependent on somebody waking me in the morning. Then we found out accidentally, that music (music contains more deep frequencies than the beeping sound of a normal alarm clock) from a radio alarm clock would wake me. I was so thrilled, because that meant a piece more of independence!

That worked well until a few years ago my hearing worsened (that can happen in your mid forties). I do not respond well to light alarm clocks, so I had to look for something that works with shocks. And it had to be portable, in case I don’t sleep in my bed. 

Our first try was a dual radio alarm clock with an alarm shock bracelet. Both alarms could be set to beeping, beeping and activating the bracelet, or just activating the bracelet. The bracelet had three settings. It worked well for me, and my husband still uses this alarm clock in beeping mode. But there was one problem: The bracelet had no charging indicator, so I couldn’t be sure if there was enough power left to wake me in the morning. That led to unnecessary charging and/or worrying if the bracelet would go of in the morning. 

For me, a cheap smartwatch works best. It’s silent vibration-based alarm clock is strong enough to wake me, and it has a charging indicator. This is not for everyone, i.e. when light impulses work better or no smartphone is around. But I was pleasantly surprised how many alternatives to the classic alarm clock can be found.