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Home Telephone Hack needed for Hard of Hearing Answered

Hi there, My uncle has a fierce case of tinnitus, and sometimes he can't hear the telephone ringing. He can talk on the phone alright, the ringing just messes with the perceptions of sounds usually associated with home phones ringing. So, he has a few phones hooked up around the house so he can try and hear the phone when it rings. its just a bunch of barely-functioning rotaries. Have you ever seen that scene in bicentenial man where the clockmaker and his wife are talking in the kitchen when the hour comes and all the clocks start chiming. A cacophony of alarm. That is kind of like how it is at my uncle's when somone calls. I would like to set up a visual alarm system for when somone calls. So, he has a few fairly loud rotary phones laying around. I'm sure he wouldn't mind if I took one apart along with one of his lamps. I just need to know where to screw, unscrew, solder, and smile. Thanks!!


can be built as thing that fits in the pocket using the stuff from remote controlled car the phone circuit gives high voltage when it calls and i think its AC (by the feeling of electrocution from it) to build a circuit that controls stuff based on phone i'd try circut like this - 4 diode bridge without capacitor - resistor and zener diode or neon discharge lamp (of 60+ V breakdown voltage) in series - transistor connected with B and E parallel to the resistor (thru another resistor) and C and E to the controlled circuit

I take it you happen to be on the end of the line when a call came in... DC current feels kinda tingly whereas AC is kinda a sharp pain or is that the difference in voltage? I may be a fool but I'm no expert. Haha.

it feels alittle bit shaking so should be ac it does not feel like that in a flash capacitor

It is AC 20Hz at about 70 Volts (( and it's on long enough to smart but not long enough to be really lethal to some one in good health )) Other wise the phone line not in use is about 56 Volts DC and only a couple of volts when in use depending on the phones load number...

The ringer gets 90VAC at 20 Hz (in the U.S.). The normal circuit is 48VDC.

You can have lots of fun with the an old hand-cranked military field phone (the kind you see in M*A*S*H), if you get some idiotlieutenant to hold the spring clips while you "test the line" ;->

You can simply add a few neon indicator lights to any phone line just put them across the red and green wires, however this is not approved it does work and they only flash when there is an incoming call, but they are not super bright, but five or six can been seen, or if you put a few over the TV (( just get a dollar store phone cord and cut one end off and solder them to the red and green )) and you put them where he commonly looks (( if you want a picture just pm me and I'll take a few and send them to you )) However Uniden makes a phone for seniors / it features both a very very loud ringer, and it sports a few high output LED's that flash while it's ringing, it also has a lighted keypad with larger buttons and a larger display, and since he's hard of hearing it's hearing aid compatible and you can turn up the sound and there is a even a noise filter so you only hear voices and not music or other junk playing the background... (( I bought it from Walmart for $39.97 CDN, not to bad for a good cordless phone you can drop down the stairs and it still works great, I use it in the shop so you know when some ones calling while using the table saw, and it seems to take the dust and other abuse, and I can read the CID from about 20 feet away, and call out while wearing gloves to... )) And if you talk to your local health board / authority they may even be able to provide you with aids like this and I know some areas these can be provided at no cost, and they have vibrating units, strobes, and other aids....


9 years ago

I unfortunately don't have any useful ideas, but I remember watching Grosse Pointe Blank and he's talking on the phone in the hotel room and it had a blinking red light on the top. I wondered if it was for deaf people, then wondered why a deaf person would want a phone. Guess this is a genuine example.

I think those lights on hotel room phones meant that you had a message waiting or the lobby staff needed to talk to you. Deaf people have a teletype device that they hook up to telephones. It may be a simple one line display with a keyboard for which they communicate with other people with similar devices hooked up.

Can't say no-one's ever phoned me in a hotel. Oh yeah, I know about ye olde minicom system for the death. Now everyone can just use their mobile to text one another.

As caitlinsdad wrote, you can buy flashers which plug into the wall and to the phone. They're usually really intense xenon strobes. Radio Shack and most of the big consumer electronics places sell them in the telephone section. You should also check with your local phone company or state PUC (or your local Independent Living Center). This kind of assistive techology is often available for free to the Deaf and hard of hearing.

I don't know how to hack a phone but they do sell flasher units at a place like Radio Shack to plug into the wall jack for a visual signal. There may be something like a 90 volt jolt that comes through the regular phone lines to make it ring. You probably need a device to make that compatible to turn on a house lamp. Good luck.