This past weekend I was lucky enough to test the new CEDGO from Competitive Edge Dynamics at a local IDPA club match. I’m late-deafened, which means I have severe hearing loss. I began losing my hearing in my 30s, and now at 48 I have some lower frequency hearing with hearing aids. I read lips moderately well and I rely on ASL, transcription, and captioning, depending on my environment. This all means that high-frequency sounds, like shot timers, are lost to me. This means that, per the current IDPA Rule Book, section 7, I can request alternative nonaudible start signals. For me this has always meant asking each SO to tap me on the shoulder to start. It’s led to some occasional confusion for SOs that have never encountered this, and the occasional reshoot after an issue with the tap or timer.
Thankfully Competitive Edge has come up with a means to end the shoulder tap and any staff confusion! They’ve developed a vibrating alarm (think phone vibrating tech) with a wireless attachment that pairs with the CED7000 timer. It comes with an arm band, but I actually tested it out in multiple positions and prefer it on my belt. It does need to be worn on the inside, with the front of the vibrating unit, not the belt clip, facing the shooter. We had a couple of different SOs operate the paired CED7000 timer, and they all found it easy to understand and operate.
I can’t tell you how excited I am about this product, even after just using it at one small match. First, it eliminates so many potential problems. Going to a match where I’m not familiar with all the SOs has given me some anxiety knowing I have to explain it all, and expect some questions, and maybe some delays. When I’ve had SOs that have never run a deaf or hard-of-hearing (HOH) shooter, they might have questions that can take time away from my squad’s shooting, and I’ve had the rare SO want to test my hearing with their timer. I’ve even had SOs want to check the rule book and call MD over before I can start. Sadly, it’s even led to reshoots after an issue with the tap or timer, mostly recently at last year’s Nationals.
Not only does the CEDGO save me all that aggravation, it works! My husband and I tinkered with it some at home dryfiring first before taking it to the range and discovered that letting the wireless adapter hang lose isn’t ideal, so we rigged up our own strap to hold it in place to the timer. This helped at the range, keeping the wireless adapter plugged in to the aux port on the timer and keeping me from worrying about losing it. My husband used a simple Velcro strap to hold it to the back of the timer, and it stayed put all day. When I get my own, I’ll be sure to attach it more permanently.
I ran the vibration unit on vibrate mode all day, but it does have blue lights across the top and can be run in visual mode, vibration mode, or both. The vibration unit is about the size of a pager, and the and runs on 2 AAA batteries. It starts up easily and the power button is easy to reach, even with that side of it facing my arm or back. I did shut it down between stages to preserve battery life, but it only takes a second to turn it back on and it vibrates when it turns on and there is a red-light indicator that tells you it’s on, so I can trust that it’s working.
I tried it out on my support arm (the manufacturer-recommended location), as well as in a pocket, on my belt in the back, and even on the back of my shirt at the neck. I felt it fine in each location, but the unit is a little too heavy to stay put well on the back of my neck. The belt and support arm locations worked the best for me.
It will take some getting used to, as I’ve been waiting for a tap on the shoulder to draw for years now, but once I settle on my preferred position and train with it I can see it really helping me avoid potential issues at the range and improve my time.