Flare Audio Calmer Earplug Review (for Autism by an Autistic Woman)
Autism and sound sensitivity
As someone on the Autism Spectrum I can be very sensitive to certain stimuli, more so than a neurotypical person. This can be so unpleasant it’s basically painful, or overwhelming to the point of sensory overload, meaning that tasks or activities that seem easy to most people are exhausting to me. One of the things I struggle with is sound. I find crowds overwhelming, trips to town exhausting and noises from outside when I’m trying to work extremely distracting and unpleasant. This means I feel tired, a lot, and it can lead to periods where I can’t or don’t want to do anything, periods where I shut down almost completely or where I get so overwhelmed something small added to all that triggers a meltdown. As such this can leave me feeling quite limited in my options at times. I plan trips to town around when it won’t be busy. I dread the gym classes that have pounding music so loud I can hear it through my headphones and try to avoid going when I know they’ll be on, but then the gym will put the radio on loud instead. I shut down during conversations when people insist on having the TV on loud at the same time as trying to talk to me. I struggle to sleep when cars are speeding past our window or drunks are staggering back from the pub. I’m sure these are all frustrations you’ve had, but it doesn’t necessarily shut you down or cause you pain and that’s the difference.
Sound dampening earplugs
So what to do?
Well I’ve recently been bombarded by a load of adverts on Facebook pertaining to Autism and things that might help. In fact since mentioning my diagnosis to my friends on there I’ve seen almost nothing else (funny that). I was sceptical at first but eventually I saw one advert that really did catch my eye: the idea of a noise dampening earplug. The Calmer earplugs say they reduce stressful sound frequencies without muffling sound and claim they are good for reducing stress caused by loud noises and noises of certain frequencies. They claim their product are useful in noisy areas or when trying to study. They have lots of graphs and frequency data on their website so go and check that out if you want to know more (I’m not going to give a massive breakdown of the way it works). I’m not sponsored by them and I bought my two pairs myself so this isn’t me trying to sell them to you. This is me just giving my opinions on a product that I’ve tried. I’ll let you know some pros and cons, my opinions and if I would recommend it. I approached the whole thing with cautious scepticism. I wanted it to work because it would be so nice to have something so simple improve my life, but at the same time it sounded too good to be true.
Do they work?
Well I’ve had both pairs for several months now and I can say that, for me at least, they seem to work. I can still get overwhelmed or tired on long trips out but I have a much bigger window of time to do things in before that happens because the earplugs ‘buy me time’ by dampening a portion of the sound that would otherwise wash over me and overwhelm me very quickly. I would honestly recommend them but I don’t know if they would work for everyone.
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Pros and Cons
•Relatively affordable (especially if you get them during a sale) •Quite comfortable •Multiple different options (day & night, different colours) •Multiple sizes (2 ‘adult’ sizes and a kids version) •Easy to clean •Fairly discreet •Kids version (I’ve seen these on the website, I haven’t tried them but it’s good they have them there)
•Even with the sizes there’s still a chance it might not quite fit you (e.g. I have one that doesn’t fit as well in my ear as the other because of the shape of my ears). •The pictures showing the sizes of the earplugs aren’t super clear (see my photos below for the size of the standard ones).
I got these to help me not get overwhelmed by noise when out and about, for that they absolutely work (for me). I can’t speak for everyone, only my own experience, but I did find these helpful, affordable and comfortable and would recommend them.
I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you try them out, or if you’ve tried other noise cancelling or dampening devices let me know what they’re like.
See you soon and take care,
Robin (Lifelong Scribe)
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