Hard of hearing smoke alarms

If you have a hearing impairment you may be eligible for a hard of hearing smoke alarm.

How many smoke alarms do you need?

The more smoke alarms you have the safer you will be, you should have at least one alarm on each floor.

However, if you have only one alarm and two floors, put it somewhere you and your family will be able to hear it when you are asleep. If you have a TV or other large electrical appliance such as a computer in any of the bedrooms, you should fit a smoke alarm there too.

Which smoke alarm?

There are a variety of models to choose from, depending on your needs and budget. This section lists the types of smoke alarm which are most commonly available.

Whichever model you choose, you should make sure that it meets British Standard 5446, Part 1 (BS 5446-1) and ideally also carries the British Standard Kitemark.

Ionisation alarms

  • These are the cheapest and most readily available and are very sensitive to flaming fires that burn fiercely such as chip-pan fires.
  • They will detect flaming fires before the smoke gets too thick.

Optical alarms

  • These are more expensive and more effective at detecting slow-burning fires such as smouldering foam-filled furniture or overheated wiring.
  • They are less likely to go off accidentally and so are best for ground-floor hallways and for homes on one level.

Which model?

Battery alarms with an emergency light

  • These come fitted with an emergency light which comes on when the alarm is triggered.
  • They are particularly suitable if someone in your house has hearing difficulties.

Interconnecting or linked alarms

  • Some alarms can be connected to each other so that when one senses smoke, all the alarms in the property sound.
  • They are useful for people with hearing difficulties.

Mains-powered alarm with strobe light and vibrating pad

  • These are designed for people who are deaf or have hearing difficulties.
  • If there’s a fire, the alarm alerts you with a flashing light and vibrating pad which is placed beneath your pillow.

If you have a hearing difficulty you may be able get a special smoke alarm from Oxfordshire County Councils Sensory Impairment Team.

We are happy to provide guidance on which alarm is best for your circumstances. If you would like assistance call our free phone our Community Safety number 08000 325999 or email community.safety@oxfordshire.gov.uk