Sound Sensitivities and Calmer: Sandy's Story
Since launching Calmer® we've heard how much they've been helping people with managing noise sensitivities.
Sandy got in touch with us to let us know how helpful she'd found Calmer. She has shared her experiences of her life and describes some of the different sensitivities she has.
Sandy has written a brilliantly informative, open and honest blog that we think will be extremely helpful for many people.
Thank you Sandy!
Find out more about Calmer here
I am not a musician nor work in the industry or a noisy environment, nor do I suffer from regular or chronic Tinnitus. I’m pushing age 60, struggling with an array of accumulated health problems due to multiple traumas and stress (Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Sensory Perception Sensitivity, Hyperacusis, etc).
There were/are many ways I like to spend my time. Gardening, creative/art projects, refinishing furniture, renovating houses, I used to do some modeling and acting as well as working in retail management and merchandising. Once these health issues reach a peak, a LOT has to be compromised, if not given up entirely.
On some level, as long as I can remember. These sensitivities were easy to write off and just quirky traits until enough goes wrong and the little, underlying ‘quirks’ become so hyperactive that they are grossly effecting your day-to-day life.
Although I’d become very aware of my ‘ADD’ almost 3 decades ago (not a term used during my childhood era) and some other quirky nuisance traits such as the noise sensitivity and fatigue, which I now wish I’d taken more seriously, as life and it’s antagonists marched forward, the whole matrix came together and the clear presence (much of it in hindsight) of how Autistic Spectrum Disorder, ADD, PTSD and the physical ailments are/were all overlapping and intertwined.
Until that point, we march around trying to survive doing ‘normal’ things and act ‘normal doing them , which is detrimental! The longer and harder you try to maintain this ‘normal’, the more magnified and unbearable all of these traits and struggles become. The good thing that comes out of that is that it serves as a turning point of awareness to stop antagonizing the issues and start finding answers and modifications.
One day you realise you are always on guard from being sat at a restaurant table near the clanking noises of the kitchen while you attempt to tolerate the maddening murmur going on at your own table and throughout the restaurant, until you can get back home completely drained from it …. to eventually making excuses and declining the outings at all, even when you’d LOVE to be able to enjoy it and the social interactions. Or, when you devolve to using a broom on the floors for as long as you can get away with it to avoid turning on the vacuum.
In my experience it has been ’stressful’ all along, it’s just a question of identifying the source of the stress, and of when did other factors and endurance graduate it to a consistently unbearable issue? And realising that the impact of the experience doesn’t just end when the ‘noise’ or antagonist stops. It’s like living in a mine field of hot pokers.
One of my main and most frequent daily triggers is the sound(s) of running tap water and glass & dishes clanking …etc; the pitch & sound of my vacuum cleaner is another huge and unbearable trigger, using power tools (which my hobbies require), the road noise of traveling by car, especially in traffic for any length of time, the noise(s) in a busy store; even in a hot car, the sound of an A/C fan on High can be a trigger.
So, sensitivities effect your life in all-encompassing, multiple ways that would be very difficult for someone without them to grasp fully. Every little day-to-day task becomes a strategy. Shopping errands, housekeeping, social life, activities and hobbies, visiting family, getting stuck at a noisy auto mechanic shop … on and on.
Out of necessity, I was all too familiar with the Cortisol and other chemical and hormonal effects of such matters long before reading about it on your website. But I am SO glad to see you guys getting this information out, it will be so helpful to a lot of people!
In addition to the specific sounds mentioned above, it’s necessary to become much more in tune with your body and nervous system’s reactions to them. No one wants to sound, feel or live like a hypochondriac, I stubbornly continued to attempt to operate in the ‘mine field’ for far too long before I became unwell enough that I had no choice but to start paying attention, connecting the dots and fully realising the impact this was having exponentially. There comes a time when you have to stop driving around the mountain and start hiking OVER it.
THESE HAVE CHANGED MY DAILY LIFE!
I’ve always worn ear plugs when vacuuming, but due to the SPS, I can not tolerate traditional ear plugs for very long, and do not use audio earbuds, etc. I can only stand audio via external speakers or over-the-ear headphones (which I rarely tolerate either). Wearing Calmer all day, I no longer have to chose between the lesser of 2 evils.
I spend a huge amount of my time in the kitchen daily. I eat almost no ‘packaged food’ and live alone so there is a lot of NOISY food prep and dishes to do. I knew right away that the effects of the Calmer plugs weren’t Placebo Effect because countless times, I’d start my day in the kitchen and very quickly realize, very soon after I’m running the tap and clanking dishes, that I did not yet put in my Calmer plugs! More often than not, this was when/how I was reminded to put them in. After the difference these made in my daily life, it didn’t take long for it to become a habit to pop them in BEFORE something unpleasant ‘reminded’ me to.
It is night & day difference for me, especially since my hearing is in no way impaired by them and wearing them does NOT effect my SPS, they are, all in all …. a damn miracle!! It’s a miracle at the reduction in impact to my nervous system and a miracle that I wear them all day, EVERY day and am not only NOT bothered by them but forget I have them in.
I first purchased 3 pairs of the original ‘Calmer’ a few months before the new styles came out. I like keeping an extra pair in my purse and a 3rd pair for backups in case I loose one or a whole pair. Mine had to be shipped to the US.
I struggle daily with physical pain and fatigue, I have to lay down often throughout the day. The newer Calmer Mini style I obtained a few months after my experience with the original Calmer have totally resolved this issue for my ‘small’ ears. They were the perfect addition. But for a full night’s sleep, the Calmer Night are perfect for that and will be especially useful to me when I start traveling again
For people not living with these debilitating obstacles daily, much less for years or decades on end, it is very difficult to grasp the scope of it and equally so, why a little piece of perfectly engineered and designed silicone could have such a profound and positive impact. They not only serve as a unique, effective and affordable element of relief, but for me, as a part of a full-spectrum healing tool.
I am thrilled with my Calmer collection and recommend them often!
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