Baby Monitors for Deaf Parents (Updated 2019)

Baby monitors for deaf & hard of hearing parents

Last updated June 2019

My frustrating 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 at night. 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

Note: if you buy a product from another country than your own, please double-check that your monitor frequency won’t interfere with emergency services! For example, many American baby monitors aren’t allowed in Germany for this reason.

Sarabec MONA (made in U.K. but should work in U.S.)

Disclaimer: I have not personally been able to try this! This is very similar in design and function to my Amplicomms V130 (discontinued in 2017). This is likely your best bet for a traditional VIDEO monitor as a deaf parent and maybe the ONLY one in the world right now.

It is U.K. manufactured so you will need to buy some plug adaptors if you are US-based, but Connevans does ship to countries outside the UK. If you have this, please reach out to me, as I’d love to hear some user feedback!

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. A great option is to consider buying this AND a regular video monitor (like this super popular Infant Optics monitor) to use in conjunction with each other, so that you could wear the band while you’re sleeping or during baby’s nap, and then be able to check on baby via video when you want to.

One of the big drawbacks, though, is that the battery life is only 8 hours maximum. Nowadays, I get about 7.5 hours sleep straight with a 2 year old, but those early newborn days it’s so much stop-and-start sleep that I imagine the battery would have died before getting up for the day. 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. Unfortunately, customizing the vibration pattern to one that is strong/extended is not allowed for third-party apps on the iPhone; I’m not sure about others. That said, here’s my current list of promising smartphone-friendly options for deaf and HoH parents, BUT the vibration may not be enough to wake you.

If you hate the idea of sleeping with your phone under your pillow, you may want to stick with a vibration pad or light flasher option.

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 the video quality and alerts are exceptional.

Nanit was kind enough to send me one of their monitors for trial and review last fall, specifically from the perspective of the deaf parent. As you know, I wear a hearing aid during the day, but I take it out to sleep and cannot hear my son crying. I have a traditional baby monitor with a plug-in vibration pad (sadly discontinued), so I was really excited to explore a smartphone-friendly option. Set up is particular, but they make it easy with templates and clear instructions.

Drawbacks: The baby cry alert tone/vibration is too short to wake a sleeping parent. My understanding is that right now, a third party app on my iPhone is restricted in their ability to have a custom/extended vibration alert. I wear a FitBit that I customized to port the alert buzz through to my wrist, but it’s a quick one–works great during the day (naptimes, etc) but not enough to wake me at night.

That said, it’s an amazing monitor that does a great job of picking up on crying and motion, and I loved being able to check in on my son sleeping even when the sitter was at the house and I was out running errands.

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.

Samsung Baby Cry Detector feature: I can’t imagine this being a permanent option, but to my knowledge, most Samsung phones have a baby cry and doorbell detector built in that would then alert ANOTHER smart device (such as their watch).

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

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24 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.

  11. Hi Emily,

    Thank you so much for this useful article. My Deaf brother got a new baby couple of days ago and asked me to find a best baby crying vibration alarm and send it to him overseas. After looking to your article, he loved “Summer infant babble band” however I have found bad reviews on it, and many people complained about the function of it and it is only last for couple of days. So, have you used it before? do you recommend it? What is the best option right for Deaf parents? Thank you

    1. Author

      Hi Alaa,

      If you’re in the US, the Summer Infant band could be a good fit in conjunction with another monitor (like a video monitor). I have not had the chance to try it myself but am hoping to in 2019. Sorry I’m not more help on it!! I recently updated this page so please read through and see if anything would be a better fit for your brother. Thanks!

  12. Hi, my husband is deaf and he has a Bellman & Symfon system at home, I know you can get the baby monitor to go with it but its £140, Is there any other monitors you know of that would work with this system? Do you know of anyone whos tried it?

  13. I wish I had found your blog before my daughter was born 12/31/18. I have the sonic alert system but the bed vibrator is way too strong for me and is annoying. I haven’t been using it while she’s in our room with us. I have been resorting to wearing one hearing aid at all times throughout the night so I can hear her when she wakes up. I’m sad it doesn’t work because I know I should wear my aids to bed but it’s what has worked so far. It’s hard to sleep through her babble as she falls asleep though so I’ve started the search again… I just wish the bed vibrator part was let so strong and was like my regular alarm clock I used before. Just a little discouraging but thankful I found you and this list.

  14. Ahh. Wish I had found your article earlier. The MONA looks super interesting. I’m severely hard of hearing, I’m fine while awake and wearing hearing aids, but can’t hear much at all without them.

    I was trying to find a baby monitor with a plug in vibrator but was unable to locate any. I wound up using the Sonic Alert paired with a Infant Optics video monitor (that has a visual light up system for sound which is nice, but not ideal if you are totally deaf b/c its not attention grabbing like a strobe– the monitor is great, otherwise, though.)

    The Sonic Alert is an extremely violent shake and i found the cry signaler to be very finicky when setting the thresholds. It’s also very noisy, which is a problem if the baby is sleeping in your room. Because it takes a little cry and then scares the baby while it jolts you out of bed. Wish it worked more like my Wake Assure Alarm clock with is both reliable and pleasant. Now, I only use the Sonic Alert if i’m sleeping without my wife.

  15. I am a foster mom, and soon our foster baby will be moving to live with bio family, and her main caregiver will be a relative with hearing loss. The department of health and welfare said that they may be able to provide this family with a baby monitor if I can find them some prices and it isn’t an outrageous cost. This relative said she prefers a light up one as opposed to a vibratey one due to diminished sensory nerve function. I cannot find the sonic alert one in stock anywhere, and products for the D/deaf are a new area for me, so I am struggling to find reliable sources. Do you have any recommendations for other light up options?

  16. Great article. I a severely hard of hearing and can’t believe that there are not more baby alarms that come with a vibrating wristband. The only way I can ensure that I don’t miss my baby crying is if I sleep with my aid in and monitor next to my head which just means I have rubbish sleep. This is a big gap!

    1. Author

      Sarah, I did the same thing while my son was still in the bassinet next to me and it was AWFUL! Any chance you’re in the UK? The Sarabec MONA looks promising. If not, then maybe the Sonic Alert vibration pad would be a good one to pair up with a traditional video system.

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