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What is a Talking Clock?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 16, 2024
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A talking clock is a timekeeping device that uses sound to notify users of the current time. It may also be referred to as a speaking clock or auditory clock. Talking clocks have different designs depending on their intended use; some are designed as devices for the visually impaired, others are intended to help children learn to tell time, while others are simply designed like traditional clocks with the option to speak the time aloud. This is typically for alarm purposes.

One of the most common uses for a talking clock is for a timekeeping device for the blind or visually impaired. These clocks generally announce the time at set intervals, such as every hour or half hour. They also typically have large, simple buttons that can be pressed to hear the time on demand, or to set an alarm. A talking clock designed for the visually impaired may or may not have a traditional clock face; these are offered in both analog and digital versions, with large, prominent numbers.

The second type of talking clock is one designed to help a child learn to tell time. This type of clock may be designed to appeal to children, and may be decorated using fun colors or cartoon characters. It will typically have a digital or analog clock face with larger numbers than usual, and may also announce the time with the press of a button. Some of these clocks may also ask children questions with the push of a button, such as "What time will it be in 30 minutes?" This can help children become accustomed to using clocks.

Another type of talking clock is a more traditional alarm clock. These clocks are typically digital, but rather than sounding a standard alarm such as a beep or turning the radio on to play, the clock will instead announce the time repeatedly until it is shut off. Some of these clocks may have other innovative features as well; one particular design of alarm clock is built on wheels, so when the alarm sounds, it rolls off the table and rolls around the room, forcing the owner to get out of bed and turn it off.

Novelty clocks may also feature auditory speaking abilities as well. Some of these may feature talking cartoon characters, animals, or fortune tellers, for example. Talking clocks are convenient and useful devices that may be used for many different needs; most may be powered by an electrical plug with a back-up battery system.

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Discussion Comments
By julies — On Jul 28, 2012

My grandma has macular degeneration and doesn't have very good eyesight. She has more than one talking clock in her house so she doesn't have to wonder what time it is.

She has a talking alarm clock, but doesn't usually need to rely on an alarm clock to get up in the morning. What she uses more than anything is a talking clock calendar. Not only does this tell her the time, but also what the date and day of week it is.

This has come in really handy for her, and makes her feel like she is less dependent on someone to tell her what time or day it is.

By SarahSon — On Jul 28, 2012

@LisaLou-- I am with you on that, and know that I wouldn't have the patience for something like that either. My son, on the other hand, needs something like this to get him out of bed in the morning.

If he keeps an alarm clock next to his bed, he just keeps hitting the snooze button and goes back to sleep. I bought him one of those talking clocks with wheels where he physically has to get out of bed to shut it off.

Even though it can be aggravating, once he is up, he doesn't go back to sleep. He doesn't get up right away, but after hearing the alarm clock continually talking to him, it is enough to make him get up and shut it off.

By LisaLou — On Jul 27, 2012

If I had a talking alarm clock, I think it would drive me crazy. As far as I know, my alarm clock doesn't have this feature, and even if it did, I don't think I would activate it.

I like to wake up to the sound of soft music playing. My alarm will gradually get louder until I shut it off. If I had an alarm clock that repeatedly kept telling me the time I think I might end up throwing it against the wall.

I am not much of a morning person, and if I start out my day on a bad note like that, it can be hard to feel positive about the rest of the day. I can see how some people might like using an alarm clock like this, but it sure wouldn't be for me.

By honeybees — On Jul 27, 2012

When I think of a talking clock, I am reminded of all the different talking clocks they have for kids. I really think these are helpful at helping kids to learn the concept of time and what time it is.

When my grandson was about four, he was very curious about what time it was. He would ask over and over, "what time is it?" We bought him one of these talking clocks to help him learn how to tell time.

With so many clocks being digital today, it can be a novel idea for some of them to learn how to tell time using the hands of a clock. Having the interaction of the talking clock is something that makes it fun and interesting for them.

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