The general image of the smoke detector is one which involves an audible warning system. Even when we are sleeping, our ability to hear remains as active as ever (anybody who has been woken in the night by the faintest of noises will attest to this!). This derives from our primeval instincts; like all animals we were most vulnerable when sleeping so developed the ability to remain audibly aware when we are asleep. This is all very well if you are able to hear perfectly, but for the deaf or hearing impaired, it is impossible for a smoke detector with an audible system to work effectively. This is where the Gentex smoke detectors come in.
Gentex smoke detectors are designed with the hard of hearing in mind. Instead of emitting a tone to be heard if there is a fire, they emit a high frequency pulsating light, or strobe light, to alert you to the danger. Whilst this may not seem to be any use when sleeping, the fact is that if you lose the efficiency of one of your senses then the others improve to compensate. When you are deaf, you have to rely much more on your sight which means that your eyes become more highly tuned to the surroundings. When we sleep, the darkness beneath our eyelids causes our pupils to dilate meaning more light can pass through. These two effects linked together means that the strobe light can be detected even when sleeping and act as a much more effective life saver than the audible smoke detectors could be.
The only issue with these smoke detectors is that they aren’t necessarily readily available in shops. Very few people know about them and a majority feel more secure with what they are accustomed to; namely the idea of there being a noise rather than a light to alert you to the fire. However, they can be found on the internet with a simple Google search and can be purchased online. Delivery times will vary but it will usually come within a week. The Gentex smoke detectors will set you back, on average, between £60 and £100 depending on whether they are battery or mains operated (the latter is generally cheaper). However, for someone who can’t rely on an audible smoke detector, it is a small price to pay to ensure that you are protected from the risk of fire.