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Audiologists recommend Low Frequency Smoke Detectors, 500 Hertz and lower, for those who have mild to moderate hearing loss.
They're just like regular smoke alarms but have bigger speakers and make a heavier buzzing sound at a much lower audio frequency. They're more effective for people with hearing loss.
Why are they needed?
The high frequency of typical smoke alarms makes them ineffective for millions, and many people aren't even aware of it. Smoke alarms often don't wake people from sleep – even when we assume they will. Experts say the problem is with frequency, since most hearing loss is high frequency loss. In short, typical smoke detectors are inadequate for about 10% of the population.
Low Frequency smoke alarms are effective
for hard of hearing people.
For those who wear hearing aids, regular smoke detectors can give a false sense of security even if they're audible during daytime testing. (High frequency is not effective at waking.) See findings from HLAA, “Millions at Risk ”.
In multiple tests in several countries, low frequency devices have proven profoundly effective for hearing impaired. See Bruck, et al “ Low Frequency vastly superior”. Lower frequency “carries more energy”.
is immediate need for low frequency alerting devices for all
hearing impaired populations according to Hearing Loss
Association of America, the National Fire Protection Agency, The
AARP, Dear Abby, and countless others
(See "Smoke alarm too mild to wake elderly from sleep" article).
Low frequency smoke detectors are more expensive because of the large speaker and powerful on-board amplifier required. The devices are not mass produced at this time, so cost overhead remains high.