The Best Security Systems for the Deaf
When it comes to home security, deaf and hearing-impaired people have special considerations
If you’re deaf or have suffered hearing loss, you may not hear an alarm if it goes off, which could seriously compromise your safety. To avoid this, you need a system with lights, mobile notifications, and cameras so that you can use your other senses to stay safe. After speaking with several certified audiologists, we’ve used their expertise to select the best security systems for anyone with hearing issues.
What to Look for in Security Systems for the Deaf
Comparison of the Best Security Systems for the Deaf
Ring Alarm Security Kit
|Remote control||Yes||Yes||Yes (with Plus plan)||Yes||Yes (with Interactive Plan)|
|Mobile notifications||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes (with Interactive Plan)|
|Installation type||Professional||DIY or professional||DIY||DIY or professional||DIY or professional|
|Professional monitoring required||Yes||No||Yes||No||No|
|Minimum cost of professional monitoring per month||$36.99||$10||$15||$20||$14.99|
|Read Review||ADT Review||Ring Alarm Security Kit Review||Cove Review||abode Review||SimpliSafe Review|
Summary of the Best Security Systems for the Deaf
Detailed List of the Best Security Systems for the Deaf
If you’ve heard of one security system, it’s probably ADT, and for good reason: ADT has been around for more than 140 years, but it still innovates when it comes to smart home security.
Rather than from a physical siren, you’ll find out about alerts through the ADT Pulse app, which sends mobile notifications. And even if you miss these notifications, all ADT systems come with 24/7 professional monitoring. In the event of a home invasion, the monitoring team can view footage from your cameras and contact 911 for you, saving you the trouble of having to communicate over the phone.
What We Liked
- Great mobile app
- All plans include 24/7 professional monitoring
- Professional installation
- Trusted company
What We Didn’t Like
- Monitoring is expensive
- Three-year contract
- Professional installation costs $99
- Limited smart home integration
ADT has multiple businesses under its brand. This includes Blue by ADT, which was preceded by ADT’s acquisition of LifeShield, and the traditional ADT systems; it’s the latter that we’re talking about here.
With ADT’s traditional systems, you’ll control everything remotely and receive notifications through the ADT Pulse app. No matter whether you have an iPhone or an Android device, the app works really well, and we agree with its 4.8 and 4.6 ratings, respectively. Just set your phone to vibrate and turn on notifications, and you’ll be kept up to date on what’s happening at home, without having to hear any alarms.
We recommend that you sign up for ADT’s Complete Package so that you can livestream footage and have cloud storage for recorded video. However, the Smart Package also provides remote control and notifications, so it could work if you don’t care as much about video. However, we don’t recommend going with the Secure Package, as you won’t receive notifications or have remote control, essentials for the hearing impaired.
Type of Feature Feature Secure Smart Complete Control Customizable alerts, schedules, and automation No Yes Yes Control Remote arming and disarming No Yes Yes Control Livestreaming No No Yes Control Record and save clips No No Yes Installation Professional installation Yes Yes Yes Monitoring 24/7 professional monitoring Yes Yes Yes Monitoring Environmental monitoring Yes Yes Yes Physical component Window decals Yes Yes Yes Physical component Yard signs Yes Yes Yes Physical component Digital panel Yes Yes Yes Physical component Entryway contact sensors Yes Yes Yes Physical component Keychain remote Yes Yes Yes Physical component Motion detector Yes Yes Yes Physical component Garage controller No Yes Yes Physical component Smart light bulb No Yes Yes Physical component Smart plugs No Yes Yes Physical component Smart thermostat No Yes Yes Physical component Doorbell camera No No Yes Physical component Indoor camera No No Yes Physical component Outdoor camera No No Yes
2. Ring Alarm - Best DIY Security System for the Deaf
Another popular option is Ring Alarm, an Amazon-owned security company that’s known for its affordability. Not only can you install your Ring security system by yourself for free, although professional installation is an option through OnTech and Clear Pro, but you’ll also get remote control, notifications, and smart home integration without having to pay a dime. All in all, you’ll enjoy Ring Alarm, one of the best security systems without monthly fees.
What We Liked
- Low-cost 24/7 professional monitoring
- Easy-to-use mobile apps
- Neighbors app shows neighborhood crime
- DIY or professional installation
What We Didn’t Like
- History of hackings
- Most cameras lack person detection
- No facial recognition
- No cloud storage with the free plan
Wide Array of Smart Lighting
If you are a deaf or hearing-impaired person, auditory alarms may not be able to alert you. You may need other cues, like light. Out of all the security companies we’ve reported on, Ring has by far the greatest number of smart lighting options.
Some cameras, like the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery, have built-in spotlights that illuminate whenever they detect motion. Another advantage of spotlights is color night vision for your outdoor cameras, which you can experience on the Ring – Always Home app. Learn more in our Ring Spotlight Cam Battery review, or check out these Ring standalone lights:
- Pathway lighting and step lights: Direct these lights at your walkways and driveways, and they’ll turn on whenever they detect motion. Just as security cameras deter crime, so can smart lights.
- Floodlights and spotlights: Securing your home starts with the outside. Floodlights and spotlights can cast light on a larger area of your home, like a driveway or a porch. Of course, they’re motion activated, so they’ll turn on when they sense any motion, even from neighborhood squirrels.
- Smart light bulbs: Another way to prevent crime is to make it seem like you’re home when you’re not. You can program Ring’s smart light bulbs to turn on and off periodically throughout the day. If intruders think someone is home, they’re much less likely to choose your home to rob.
Sure, you can get your Ring security system professionally installed. However, we prefer DIY over professional home security system installation, so we installed our Ring Alarm five-piece alarm kit by ourselves. The process was simple:
- We plugged the base station into a power outlet.
- We connected the base station to our home Wi-Fi network through the Ring mobile app.
- We stuck the motion detector, keypad, contact sensor, and range extender on our walls, doors, and windows.
- We added each component to the app and named them based on their locations.
Later, we added different Ring cameras and Ring video doorbells, which are all easy to install, especially if they are wireless. Learn more in our review of Ring cameras and our review of Ring video doorbells.
3. Cove - Best Professionally Monitored Security System for the Deaf
Cove may not be as well known as ADT and Ring, but we think it’s a compelling option. In your busy life, you may not be able to respond to every text or notification you receive. That’s where 24/7 professional monitoring comes in.
If any alarms go off, you don’t have to respond to them; rather, the monitoring team will verify that an emergency is taking place and contact the proper authorities, whether it’s the police, the fire department, or even a local hospital. Cove takes things a step further, however, with its InstaText feature, which is ideal for those that are hard of hearing.
What We Liked
- Simple DIY installation
- Month-to-month contract
- InstaText feature included with both plans
- Cellular backup
What We Didn’t Like
- Buggy mobile app
- $25 per month for remote control
- No self-monitoring-only option
- With the Basic plan, the monthly rate might increase
InstaText is the reason why Cove is such a great option for those that are hard of hearing. If any of your alarms go off, you can communicate with the monitoring team over text, a feature we haven’t seen from any other security company. You can even add your entire family to a group text, keeping everyone apprised of your home’s security.
We like that Cove accommodates deaf people, as most people communicate with the monitoring team using their voices. Learn more about Cove’s subscription options.
24/7 Professional Monitoring
All of Cove’s systems come with 24/7 professional monitoring, letting you choose from the Basic plan or the Plus plan. While Cove doesn’t have the absolute lowest prices on the market for monitoring (that would be Ring, with its $10-per-month plan), Cove starts at only $15 a month. Considering that more established companies like ADT charge up to $60 a month for the same service, Cove is a relatively affordable home security option.
Feature Basic Plus 24-hour battery backup Yes Yes 24/7 professional monitoring Yes Yes Cellular backup Yes Yes Environmental monitoring Yes Yes Hourly automated system check Yes Yes InstaText Yes Yes LiveAssist Yes Yes Smash-and-grab protection Yes Yes TripleTouch communications Yes Yes Length of warranty on equipment 1 year Lifetime $5 per month equipment reward No Yes Alexa and Google Home integrations No Yes Lifetime monitoring rate-lock guarantee No Yes Remote control No Yes Cost per month $15.00 $25.00
We recommend choosing the Plus plan for remote control, but you’ll get InstaText and 24/7 professional monitoring with either plan.
4. abode - Best Smart Home Security System for the Deaf
Well, with abode, you can have third-party Internet of Things devices trigger one another. For example, when we armed our abode security system and left the house, we had our Kwikset smart locks secure our doors and our smart lights turn on away mode, making it seem like we were home. Abode has the largest number of smart home integrations of nearly any security system we’ve tested, so if you’ve already set up a smart home, you’ll love adding it to the mix.
What We Liked
- DIY or professional installation
- Self-monitoring, 24/7 professional monitoring, or on-demand monitoring
- Daily, monthly, or yearly contract
- Integrations with Nest, Philips Hue, ecobee, LIFX, Kwikset, Yale, etc.
What We Didn’t Like
- iOS app could be improved
- Professional monitoring costs $20 per month
- The free plan doesn’t include home automation
- The free plan doesn’t include person detection
Smart Home Integrations
As a security startup, abode brings a lot of innovation to the table when it comes to smart platform integrations.1 When we tested the abode Essentials Starter Kit and the abode iota, we set up integrations with the following items:
- Nest cameras, which you can learn more about in our Nest cameras review
Philips Hue smart lighting
LIFX smart lighting
Yale smart locks
Kwikset smart locks
First Alert smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms
We programmed our thermostat to turn on the air conditioning whenever we disarmed our abode system, meaning we were home. We don’t want to be too hot for even a second. And since we’re so tired by the end of the day, we also had our bedroom lights turn on at the same time and dim by bedtime. Finally, because the doors locked automatically whenever we armed our system, we never had to worry about robbers entering our home through an unlocked door.
FYI: If there are any hearing people in your household, they’ll appreciate being able to command abode with Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri.
On-Demand Professional Monitoring
If you’re going to be home for a long period of time, say, during a global pandemic, then you may not want to pay for 24/7 professional monitoring. After all, burglars prefer to break in when no one is home, typically in the early morning or afternoon, so if you’re home all day, self-monitoring might be sufficient.2 But what about securing your home while on vacation?
Abode is the only company we’ve seen that offers professional monitoring on demand, meaning that you can sign up for as little as one day. Of course, you’ll get a discount if you sign up for a month or a year, but we love the flexibility of the abode’s pricing.
Feature Free Standard Pro 24/7 professional monitoring No No Yes Cellular backup No No Yes Cloud storage (in days) N/A 7 30 Exclusive deals/discounts No No Yes Free shipping within the continental U.S. No No Yes Home automation No Yes Yes Homeowners’ insurance discounts No No Yes Panic alarms in-app No Yes Yes Person detection No Yes Yes Premium customer support No Yes Yes Timeline of events in days N/A 7 30 Daily cost N/A $0.20 $0.66 Monthly cost N/A $6 $20 Yearly cost N/A $60 $100
With any plan, you’ll get livestreaming, notifications, and smart platform integrations, unlike companies like SimpliSafe, which charge extra for the latter two. Compare abode and SimpliSafe in more detail.
5. SimpliSafe - Best Security System for the Deaf With an App
Since you can’t hear sirens or speak to the monitoring team over the phone, your mobile app is your lifeline when it comes to your home’s security. It’s where you find out when alarms go off, see your baby cry remotely, and arm your system from anywhere.
Fortunately, SimpliSafe has a strong mobile app for both iOS and Android devices. We always knew what was going on at home, as long as we had an internet connection. We recommend signing up for the Interactive Monitoring Plan to fully take advantage of what the app has to offer.
What We Liked
- Great app for iOS and Android
- Monthly contract
- Affordable professional monitoring
- Easy DIY installation or professional installation through HelloTech
What We Didn’t Like
- SimpliCam lacks person detection
- Free plan does not include smart platform integration
- Standard Monitoring Plan does not have remote control
- Standard Monitoring Plan does not include notifications
Although SimpliSafe offers third-party professional installation starting at $79, we opted to install the system ourselves, including the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro. The final verdict? No regrets.
After plugging in the base station, we created a PIN on SimpliSafe’s (excellent) app. From there, the app took us through the setup process, and since most of the components are wireless, the installation was as easy as putting stickers on the walls. Then, we used the app to test and name our devices.
An hour later, we were back on the couch, catching up on premium television.
Pro Tip: With SimpliSafe plans, you’ll need to sign up for the Interactive Monitoring Plan if you want professional monitoring, remote control, and smart platform integration.
Packages for All Homes
Our package, the discontinued Summerfort system, contained a base station; a keypad; a SimpliCam (learn more in our SimpliCam review); a panic button; key fobs; an auxiliary siren for hearing members of a home; and entry, motion, and glass-breakage sensors. Later, we added a doorbell camera; learn more about it in our SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro analysis.
Here are the packages currently available:
Feature The Foundation The Essentials The Hearth The Knox The Haven Base station 1 1 1 1 1 Keypad 1 1 1 1 1 Key fob 0 0 1 1 1 Entry sensor 1 3 3 6 4 Motion sensor 1 1 1 2 2 Panic button 0 0 0 0 1 SimpliCam 1 1 0 0 1 Smoke detector 0 0 1 1 1 Temperature sensor 0 0 0 0 1 105-decibel siren 0 0 1 1 1 Water sensor 0 0 0 0 1 Price $160 $181 $224 $269 $293
When it comes to home security systems for the deaf, we spoke to audiologist Dr. Kasey Craig3 about what to look for and how to test systems. She told us that there are security systems made specifically for deaf people, as well as products compatible with general security systems, like bed shakers and cell phone docks with lights. What’s the advantage of a deaf person using a more general security system rather than one designed specifically for deaf people?
“In reality, a lot of deaf people are living with hearing people, so they want to…integrate [deaf-specific] devices into their normal system[s],” Dr. Craig said. For compatible products, she recommends an online shop called Oaktree Products.4 In this article, we focused on general home security systems compatible with deaf-specific devices, assuming that many deaf people live with hearing people. However, some products may require adapters to be compatible.
We also spoke with deaf educator Kelly Short.5 After consulting with multiple audiologists, she told us that deaf and hearing-impaired people should look for home security systems with the following features:
- Notifications: From text and email notifications to blinking or flashing lights to bed shakers to vibrations, Short recommends systems with multiple points of communication.
- Indoor Cameras: “People who are deaf [or hard of hearing] may use inside cameras more than the average user so they can see what is going on throughout the home,” Short continued.
- Livestreaming: Not only should the user be able to livestream the footage from their own system, but there should also be a “video call/security check drop-in” feature for friends and relatives.
- Customer support: Short recommends companies that understand their customers’ needs and thus have experience working with deaf or hard of hearing people.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of alarm does a deaf person use?
According to the website Healthy Hearing, deaf or hearing-impaired people can use alarms with the following:
- Visual signals like flashing lights
- Auditory signals that are particularly loud or use lower frequencies
- Vibrotactile signals, such as a vibrating bed shaker, to wake people up
How do deaf people call 911?
Deaf people can call 911 by using Text-to-911, a line that they can reach on any mobile device. This is the quickest way for them to contact 911; otherwise, they will have to get emergency assistance by using a relay service or a TTY, a text telephone, which could delay the response, according to the National Association of the Deaf.
How do deaf people talk on the phone?
Deaf people can talk on the phone by using TTYs, which contain keyboards and display screens, or by using sign language interpreters.
What devices help the deaf?
Devices like TTYs help the deaf, as they allow deaf people to read spoken language and respond via keyboards. Also, devices that light up or vibrate can help deaf people respond to security sensors, alarm clocks, and fire alarms.
abode. (2021). Plays well with others. Works with abode.
KTVB. (2019). We asked 86 burglars how they broke into homes.
HealthSoul. (2021). Homepage.
Oaktree Products. (2021). Homepage.
Amazon. (2021). You Have a Student Who Is Deaf. Now What?: Tips and Strategies for Including a Student Who Is Deaf in Your Classroom.