by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.

A lady wrote:

I thought if anyone had an idea for this problem it would be you. My husband who is hard of hearing receives calls during the night from work on his cell phone which does not ring loud enough to wake him up. Any ideas on any alert systems that work for cell phone? He uses a Sonic Alert alarm clock that will work with receivers, but everything I have seen only works with corded phones.

I think you are right—up until now, all alerting systems worked with landline phones and not with cell phones. However, there is more than one way to skin the cat, so to speak.

I can think of four ways to accomplish this.

1. You could take on the task of listening for the cell phone ringing and poke him to wake him up (assuming you can hear the phone ringing yourself). I don’t recommend this as a regular “duty”, but it could work in a pinch. It is not a good idea to have a spouse act as the “ears” for the hard of hearing partner. This can build resentment in the hearing spouse and doesn’t teach the hard of hearing person to be responsible for his own hearing loss, nor how to use effective hearing loss coping strategies and assistive devices.

2. If he has call forwarding on his cell phone—before he goes to bed, he could set it to call forward to your landline phone and then hook the landline phone into his alerting system if he has such a system.

For example, with Silent Call’s Lamplighter, you could plug in your landline phone. Then he would be woken up when either phone rings since any cell phone calls would be automatically forwarded to the landline phone.

One thing I like about the Lamplighter is that you can plug your bed table lamp into it as well. When the phone rings, the bed table light will blink on and off in addition to the bed shaker vibrating the fillings out of your teeth! Having a flashing light is a good idea for when you are already up, but are still in the bedroom and thus wouldn’t feel the bed shaking,

3. He could use a sound module transmitter such as those used for baby’s crying. Put the phone right beside the sound module transmitter and when the cell phone rings, the sound of the phone ringing should set it off. The sound module would then transmit an alerting signal to the base station, which in turn would set off the alarm, flashing lights and bed shaker—enough to waken the dead one way or another.

To do this, you could use the Silent Call Lamplighter system I mentioned above, for example. All you’d need in addition to the Lamplighter is the Sound Monitor module. You can see these Silent Call system products here.

4. I’ve saved the surprise for last. Serene Innovations just released the exact gizmo your husband is looking for. It’s the RF-110 Super Loud Cell/Phone Ring Alerter. The blurb says, “You’ll never miss a telephone call again, day or night! This ringer has both audible and visual alerts that are activated when there is an incoming phone call on your landline telephone or your cell phone.” If that is not enough, you can plug in an optional bed shaker for nighttime alerts. Includes AC adapter.

Get the RF-110 Super Loud Cell/Phone Ring Alerter here. You can get the optional bed shaker to plug in to this unit from there as well.