Baby Monitors for Deaf Parents

Baby monitors for deaf & hard of hearing parents

Last updated August 2018

My search for baby monitors kickstarted this website! I wanted a nice monitor that ALSO had some vibration feature for me for when I didn’t have my hearing aid in. It was a frustrating search, and at one point, I may have resigned myself to wearing my hearing aid ALL THE TIME which I explained to others would be like wearing your glasses to bed at night. Weird and not comfortable. My husband hears normally, so I wanted video, audio, and vibration.

List is now divided by traditional hardware-only monitors and smart baby monitors.


“TRADITIONAL” BABY MONITORS

Amplicomms V130 Watch and Care (discontinued) and V160

Unfortunately, the V130 (the one I use) has been discontinued by Amplicomms, as of Fall 2017. I am closely watching to see if there will be another model produced with an option to plug the vibration pad in. If you are able to find one secondhand, it is in my opinion, the best traditional monitor option for deaf parents with video, lights, sound, vibration, and optional plug-in vibration pad for your bed at night.

The Amplicomms V160 (via Connevans) was seemingly made to replace the V130, but without the vibration pad option, which was a necessity for me to sleep without my hearing aid at night. My understanding is that the parent unit still vibrates, but they’ve taken away the option for night sleeping with the plug-in pad. I’m not sure why the company made this move, as I feel they could have easily left the plug jack for the vibration pad in. As a company, they’re a bit difficult to contact… This is currently available through Connevans, which is where I ordered my V130. If American, shipping will be extra and you’ll need to buy some UK to US plug adaptors but it should work just fine.

Sonic Alert Baby Cry Signaler

If you’re totally deaf, you probably already have a good range of home products that integrate nicely when you need to consider baby equipment, but in the interest of making sure all the best information is in one spot, I’d like to feature this popular suite by Sonic Alert here:

Baby Cry Signaler: This needs the strobe attachment at the least to function properly, and also works well with the Sonic Boom system. Just plug this into an outlet.

Strobe receiver: When the Baby Cry Signaler picks up sound, the strobe light will flash. Note: also compatible with Sonic Alert’s telephone and doorbell notification hardware.

Sonic Boom Alarm Clock: Compatible with the baby signaler, this alarm functions by activating a STRONG under-mattress vibrator, and/or can flash a lamp you have plugged into it.

This is a great suite of products, because they are specifically MADE for the deaf/hard of hearing. I had the alarm clock in high school and part of college, and there’s nothing that’ll get you up more effectively than a near-earthquake from the vibration pad, and lamp flashing simultaneously if you so choose. Hell, a great purchase for a teenager that doesn’t even have hearing loss, probably. One small criticism might be that the alarm clock is literally the same as when I got it back in… the early 2000s? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but just know you’re not dealing with real cutting-edge technology.

Summer Infant Babble Band

This wearable band vibrates on your wrist, and has a parent unit with NO video screen. Before I found the monitor I bought (the Amplicomms V130–see above), I considering buying this AND a regular video monitor (or maybe that Phillips above) to use in conjunction with each other, so that I could wear the band during the times I had my hearing aid out (sleep, and when my hair is wet).

One of the big drawbacks, though, is that the battery life is only 8 hours maximum. I don’t think this would have lasted through the night for me. Also, I just couldn’t help but feel like if I wanted a video baby monitor, I deserved one, and I shouldn’t have to try to make my own a-la-carte system. That said, if you’re OK not having video, this is a great way to get vibration alerts, and bonus–hands-free!


SMART BABY MONITORS

I’m slowly coming around to the fact that the future for deaf parents is going to be pretty reliant on the smartphone, and its vibration alert settings. That said, here’s my current list of promising smartphone-friendly options for deaf and HoH parents. None of these are designed specifically for deaf parents, but would easily integrate with a deaf person’s smartphone.

I already slept with my phone under my pillow to act as my alarm, so for me, this would have been an easy adjustment. I put a poll on Twitter about this, and most deaf people currently DON’T use their phone under their pillow for alarms/alerts, so if you hate that idea, you may want to stick with a vibration pad or light flasher option.

Tip: On your smartphone, be sure to adjust your vibration settings to something that would be strong enough to wake you. For iPhone, you can even change the intensity and create your own custom vibration pattern for specific alerts.

Nanit

A powerful smart baby monitor that can even provide sleep tracking and analytics if you opt into their subscription model. (Never fear, the basics are still free). The initial price for the “suite” is premium, to be sure, but has the potential to be an amazing option for deaf parents, provided you feel comfortable with the vibration of your phone waking you.

If you know you’re a very heavy sleeper, you may want to rely on the traditional vibration pad offering (like the Sonic Alert suite). One huge thing is that this continues to work even without internet, and there’s an alert if power/connectivity is lost overnight. I’m hoping to get a promotional model or even borrow a friend’s for review at some point, but have yet to be able to try one myself.

Cocoon Cam

Same concept, except the price is a lot more friendly and there’s even some breathing monitor function built into this as well, which is nice. Another really nice thing for deaf parents looking for the right thing is that you can try this risk-free for 100 nights, and if it’s not a good fit, return it! There are no subscription models unlike the Nanit, so this might be a good option for someone looking primarily for “wake me if the baby’s crying” video monitor functionality with the added security of being able to easily return it early on. If you want all the bells and whistles, you’re more likely to be swayed by the Nanit.

iBaby Monitor

The HD feed looks amazing, and it’s so cool how you can pan around to look at your little one. I will say, if your wifi goes out, so does your monitor, and it may be an extra drain on your phone battery. There’s a few different models. This one (with HD) does require a consistently high internet connection.

Baby Monitor 3G App

Baby Monitor 3G Website with links to app purchase

Not even a physical purchase! And it’s cheap—only $3-5 depending on what device you set it up on. But you do need to have a spare smart device like a phone, tablet,or a laptop continually acting as the camera for monitoring baby. Your main phone, acting as the parent unit, will vibrate upon alert. The interface is really cute, too, noting the last time baby made a noise. This is a good option to have in your pocket on a pinch, like if you’re traveling.


Other Baby Monitors

For the sake of giving you a few more options, here’s a list of other baby monitors that MIGHT work for American deaf and hard of hearing parents. Worthy of taking a look if you’re interested, but perhaps don’t match the features of the ones I’ve discussed above.

VTech DM221 Safe & Sound: This does NOT have video, it is an audio baby monitor with a vibration feature. Reviews are good, except it seems to have some range issues.

Phillips Avent DECT Baby Monitor: No video, but seemingly excellent audio quality with a parent unit vibration feature.

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16 Comments

  1. I wish I stumbled on a page like this six years ago, before I had my first baby. I’ve been using the sonic alert/baby cry all this time and it works well, since I’m a heavy sleeper. I just had my third baby three months ago. 🙂 Gotta love that powerful vibration going off at 3 a.m.! Lol

    1. Author

      Glad to hear what someone else is using! And yeah, there’s no sleeping through that thing LOL. Congrats on the new baby–mine is due any day now!

  2. very useful article thank you

  3. I need to find baby cry flashlight because my daughter is deaf she will have baby on august 13

  4. Does the baby cry signaler require the strobe receiver if you have the sonic boom alarm clock? I’m thinking I probably need the remote receiver if I don’t want the strobe light. Thanks for any input.

    1. Author

      Hi Colleen, nope, my understanding is you can just use this in tandem with the alarm clock if you don’t want the strobe as well. That said, there are some reviews on the Amazon page for the signaler that it can be a bit finicky managing to send the signal to the alarm clock, with some people reporting it worked in some rooms and not others. Thanks!

  5. I work at a homeless shelter in Longview WA. I have a client who is deaf and has 3 children with her (the youngest is a few weeks old). Can you please help me locate services to provide (hopefully for free) a flashing baby monitor for this mother. Thanks

  6. Author

    Hi Holly,

    What amazing work you’re doing! I am unaware of a specific free service for this purpose, and the only flashing baby monitor system I’m aware of is the Sonic Alert suite. It may be worth reaching out to them. Alternatively, if she has access to a relatively newer smartphone and a spare device, she can use the Baby Monitor 3G app if she thinks the phone vibration would wake her. Best of luck!

  7. Hello, Holly. I am writing from a Spanish technology company for the deaf, Visualfy, and I am a content editor in the company. I would like to ask you what is most important to you when choosing a baby monitor and some other questions to write my article. Do you think we could talk by mail? Your collaboration would be very helpful. Thank you very much. My email is lucia.rioja@visualfy.com

    1. Author

      Thanks Piers! I’ll look into it and likely add it in into the list.

  8. my daughter is deaf and she has new baby boy that he s hearing so need vib monitor for baby cry

  9. Hi Emily
    Thank you Thank you for posting this.
    I am 59 yrs old. When I had my daughter 32 yrs ago there was a free service for people with low income and either deaf or hoh. They gave me device it was like a box.. one went inside her crib ( she was month old) and the other box connect to my Bed nite stand light. What a blessing.
    Her father was no help ( alcoholic ). I left him when my daughter was 1 1/2 yr old.
    That device saved me.
    Now .. I have somewhere in my house, can’t find it.
    I babysit my daughter’s 1 yr old ( my granddaughter).
    I like to have a video and flashing light & vibrator . All three in one unit.. is there one out there?
    Thank you for your help

    1. Author

      Hi Candie,

      Right now, there is nothing that does all three. It’s very frustrating! So what I would recommend is buying a system like your old light flasher (maybe the Sonic Alert suite) and then buying a standard baby video monitor so that you can use them together and check on baby via video when you see the visual alert from the other system.

  10. I am deaf I have a 7 weeks old daughter I need one baby cry lights where can I find one please I need it

    1. Author

      Hi Sheena,

      I hope this list was able to help you some! Each product is linked, most of them can be found on Amazon. A good light system is the Sonic Alert suite if you’re in the US.

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