While individuals diagnosed with autism and other sensory disorders can have a broad spectrum of symptoms, there is one symptom that seems to be more universal than others: sensitivity to noise. For those of us that aren’t as sensitive to noise, it may not be obvious, but parks, playgrounds, restaurants, shopping malls, busy city streets, airports, birthday parties, movie theaters, school cafeterias (the list goes on), can all feel painfully loud for individuals with autism and other sensory disorders.
While you can try to limit your child’s exposure to loud environments, it’s kind of impossible to avoid them. Over-ear earmuffs and foam earplugs are sometimes the standard solutions for making kiddos that are sensitive to sound more comfortable in loud environments. However, these solutions don’t always allow a kiddo to seamlessly blend in with their environment. While they do block out the loud noises, these methods also make it impossible for individuals to hear anything at all, which can be a safety concern. That’s where Vibes come in. Although they were initially designed for concertgoers, Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs have become a tool in the autism and sensory disorder community to help reduce discomfort resulting from loud sound, without inhibiting the ability to hear clearly.
Vibes are small reusable earplugs designed to reduce the noise of the outside world instead of muffling or muting it. It can help kids naturally engage with their environment. Quite simply, they turn down the volume (by 22 decibels, to be exact). Unlike bulky earmuffs, the earplugs have a low-profile design, which allows individuals to be very discreet about the fact that they’re wearing hearing protection, which is especially important as kids get older and are less keen on standing out. You can’t really notice them. Each pair of Vibes includes three sizes of soft eartips (whick are like those plastic gummy things that are on some earbuds) to ensure a comfortable fit for different sized ears, a pocket-sized carrying case, and the option to include an attachable cord that allows the earplugs to be hung around the neck to prevent them from getting lost.
Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs have helped thousands of sound-sensitive individuals stay comfortable and calm in a wide variety of loud environments, like classrooms, school cafeterias, parties, playgrounds, movie theaters, sporting events, loud restaurants, and more.
Here are a few examples of different environments that Vibes are useful for:
- School – Whether it’s a loud classroom, cafeteria, or assembly, Vibes will allow those with sensitivity to sound to be comfortable in these loud environments, while still being able to hear everything around them clearly and easily communicate verbally. Additionally, as kids get older, the more they’ll be concerned about “standing out” from their peers. With traditional earmuffs, standing out from the crowd is unavoidable, but with Vibes’ clear, low-profile design, kids can be discreet about wearing hearing protection at school.
- Parks, playgrounds, birthday parties – Whenever you get a big group of kids together in a setting that’s designed for them to let loose and have fun, yelling and screaming is inevitable. While other kids may be having fun, the yelling and screaming can be painful and anxiety-inducing for kids with more sensitive hearing. With Vibes, kids can keep their ears comfortable, while still being able to play and talk with everyone around them.
- Movie theaters – Going to see a movie on the big screen at the theater is a great treat, but it can be a recipe for sensory overload. If the loudspeakers cause discomfort for kids who are sensitive to sound, Vibes will reduce the volume of the speakers to a more comfortable level, while still allowing them to hear the speech and music clearly.
- Sporting events – For a kid who’s a big sports fan, going to see their favorite team play in person can be a huge thrill, but the loud music, booming voice of the announcer, and screaming fans can sometimes be too much. When wearing Vibes, kids can still feel the energy of the exciting environment and hear all the sounds of the stadium, just at a quieter volume that’s more comfortable for their ears.