max smart homeA reader doubted our recent comment that the Max Smart Home smoke and security alarm was bad for your ears. He’s right. We were wrong; it’s not bad at all.

Joy somehow got the idea that the alarm had a 120 decibel level, almost as loud as a jack hammer. (Joy, report to detention immediately.) The Max Smart Home has only an 85 decibel level, no louder than an ordinary smoke alarm. So how come the hard of hearing can hear it? It uses a different frequency.

Starting last year, all hotels, college dorms, retirement facilities, and apartments buildings were required by law to install the lower frequency smoke alarms. According to the Fire Protection Research Foundation, 44 percent of those who are hard of hearing sleep right through the typical smoke alarm. So do children. But a lower frequency sound is much more effective, waking up 92 percent of the hard of hearing and 92 percent of children.

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