In my previous post, I mentioned that I bought a pair of new earplugs. They came in a few weeks ago, and after trying them out some, I’ve come up with a conclusion as to how effective they are.
These VIBES earplugs are reusable and will usually go unnoticed. they cost about $23. They are originally made to wear during live concerts, but can be worn in other situations, and are good for people with sensory sensitivities. According to their website, “Vibes are designed to enhance your live music experience. They lower decibel levels of your environment without sacrificing sound clarity. You hear true natural sound the way it was intended: clear, clean, controlled.”
The earplugs arrived in a small, nice package, with different ear tip sizes: small, medium, and large. Medium is what I chose, and they fit nicely in my ear. I tried them out in several situations: a business-formal event; around the house with my boyfriend or my dad present; at a coffee shop with friends.
When I wore the earplugs to this event, I was astonished at how things seemed…normal. Well, as normal as possible at least. Sounds were a little more clear, but not overwhelming, if that makes sense. When I wear foam earplugs, all sound is dampened; sound clarity is sacrificed, and sometimes wearing foam earplugs makes trigger sounds worse. It depends on the trigger.
There was talking going on around me, and people speaking into a microphone from time to time. Microphones usually make triggers worse, but I was ok whenever anyone spoke into the microphone. I was having a good time, and I was really happy about that. Dinner was part of this event, and when we all started eating, I had to replace one of my VIBES earplug with one foam earplug to block out sounds from one side of the table, because their chewing noises were triggering me. But I still noted that I wasn’t as triggered as I could have gotten.
Around the House
I tried the new earplugs around the house. These worked well whenever my boyfriend was around.
Normally, he doesn’t trigger me. There are rare occasions he does, because that’s just how misophonia is for me, but it’s not often. I don’t normally wear my foam earplugs around him. I have noticed, though, that when I’m doing something (like washing the dishes or preparing food), and if he talks to me while I’m doing that, it’d hard for my brain to pick up on the words he’s saying. I’ll hear that he’s talking, but because I’m doing something that’s making some noise, my brain focuses on that noise more than what he’s saying. And I was annoyed by that, and felt bad asking him to repeat himself two or three times.
When I started wearing these new earplugs around him, it was better. I could focus on what he was saying a little better; not 100%, but I noticed a difference. I still have trouble hearing what he’s actually saying unless I look at him and am not doing something else, but the VIBES earplugs have made it slightly easier.
When I wore them around my dad, it helped very little. Unfortunately, my dad is my biggest trigger, and it sucks. There is a slight difference, but not enough.
Coffee Shop With Friends
I recently met up with two of my friends (who happen to be dating) at a local coffee shop. I brought my boyfriend a long, so it was a double date. I wore the earplugs there, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, forgetting I was even wearing them. I wasn’t even triggered when both of my friends started chewing ice and making mouth noises. Normally, I would have put in my foam earplugs, but I didn’t feel the need to switch. It was great! What also probably helped was I felt that I was in good company, so enjoying myself wasn’t hard.
The earplugs are great (at least for me) for going out into the world and normalizing the noise around you. They can make you feel less overwhelmed and anxious. They could work if you wanted to see a movie at a theater. It depends on the person. I went to see a movie recently, and these things did wonders. But, they don’t filter out my worst trigger well enough: “S” sounds. If I was to be talking to someone who put a strong emphasis on their “s” sounds, I would get uncomfortable and upset, and want to flee the situation to calm myself.
Out of an overall 5 star rating, I give it a 3.5
I’ve seen a lot of advertising for ISOLATE earplugs. These are a little more expensive, and I might try these out when I can.
Thanks for reading. See you soon!