Before and After

I’ve been looking at different writing/blogging challenges and found this one to be interesting.

Pick an every day item. Describe what your life is like without the item (before) and then describe what your life is like with the item (after). Is it a useful item? Describe why.

I knew immediately that I had to write about noise cancelling headphones/earbuds. My precious, precious headphones and earbuds.

Why did I choose this item?

I chose headphones/earbuds because life was miserable without them. No I’m not exagerating. If you haven’t seen previous posts on the blog or know me personally let me explain what I mean by that.

Ever since I can remember I have had issues with sound sensitivity as well as some other stuff that is related to that. Now, I’m not just talking someone coughs and it irritates me. I’m talking someone coughs (I know that it’s natural and I also know that normal people don’t get angry about it) and it triggers a fight or flight panic that I can’t control. I get sweaty, my heart races, I want to cry and sometimes do, I have a sudden desire to knock someone out at times.

If you would like to read it here is an earlier post that I wrote – a letter to friends and family.

These reactions are related to a neurological condition called Misophonia which is also known as 4S Syndrome (Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome), which I was officially diagnosed with last year. There is no “cure” for it and the medical field is slow to offer remedies/treatments that the insurance companies will pay for. This is where headphones come in, particularly noise cancelling headphones.

Before I invested in a good pair it had gotten to the point that I didn’t want to go anywhere because I was afraid. My anxiety was through the roof. I didn’t know who or what would set me off and what my reaction would be when it did.

Using headphones was not a perfect solution however. My anxiety just went from being concentrated on the sound issue to the looks that I got when we were out and I had the headphones on. Neither one was ideal. I never imaged that people could be so rude and obnoxious when it came to something that they didnt understand. I was wrong and it opened my eyes in so many different ways.

These are my trusty over the ear headphones that are not so subtle.

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A positive was that I could finally tune out some of the triggers when I had them on. The irritation was less when I was at home, but I needed a better “discrete” solution for when we were in public. After speaking with my audiologist and realizing that even though I have 80% hearing loss in my left ear, insurance would only cover one hearing aid (if they would cover two my problems would be solved but thats an entirely different post) I decided that obviously wasnt an option. Back to the drawing board.

Then I found a bluetooth, noise cancelling earbud called the Bragi Dash and they have made a HUGE difference.

These are my “discrete” Dash.

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For the most part when I have them in people think that they are a type of hearing aid so the nasty looks and mean comments have toned down a bit. There are some people who still give nasty looks and say mean things but I have come to the conclusion that they are just assholes.

So is the After better than the Before?

YES Emphatically yes. There are still issues but without my “sanity keepers” as my husband calls them things could and would be a lot worse.

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