A Buzzing, Flashing Phone Ringer For The Elderly

For a lonely person, elderly or otherwise, the sound of a ringing phone can be music to the ears, unless of course it’s another spam call. But what good is a phone when you can’t hear it well enough to answer?

[Giovanni Aggiustatutto] was tasked with building an additional ringer for a set of cordless landline phones belonging to an elderly friend. Rather than try to intercept the signal, [Giovanni] chose to simply mic up the phone base that’s connected to the phone port on the router and send a signal over Wi-Fi to a second box which has a loud piezo buzzer and a handful of LEDs.

At the heart of this build is a pair of ESP8266 Wemos D1 minis and an Arduino sound sensor module inside a pair of really nice-looking 3D printed boxen that may or may not have been inspired by an IKEA air quality sensor. On the receiving side, a green LED indicates the system is working, and the red LEDs flash as soon as a call comes in.

All the code, schematics, and STL files are available for this build, and between the Instructable and the build video after the break, you should have no trouble replicating it for the hard-of-hearing in your life.

8 thoughts on “A Buzzing, Flashing Phone Ringer For The Elderly

    1. A simple FFT would likely be enough to detect both the phone and the doorbell and distinguish between them and it would run on the ESP and could be pretty much anywhere in hearing range of the two devices.

    2. Eh, a friend of mine has a system based on natural intelligence – a hearing dog.

      Does take 2 years to train, but it’s portable and it’ll come and find you to tell you the phone/doorbell/fire alarm is ringing. Running costs might be comparable depending on how many AWS instances you need for the cloud-based solution… :P

      Definitely gives better cuddles though.

  1. I did something similar for a deaf family member. Hooked into the ISP provided SIP-based DECT phone base to see if the phone was ringing and then flash all the lights in the house through Philips Hue. Rigged it up to the front doorbell too, so they know when to go collect a package without it being stolen.

    Scares the crap out of visitors when the whole house starts flashing. Good fun.

    1. That’s what I use, a hardwired mechanical bell, four D cell batteries and a solar panel from a cheap pond pump. A few diodes and different sized capacitors provide different ringing styles, garden gate, door bell, post box, telephone. Plus a latching led that indicates a missed call.
      There’s too much big brother in the world already, without adding another wifi connected microphone to it.

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