Let’s start with the obvious: the Flare Calmer® is the most hyped personal hearing product ever. In the months leading up to release, there were rumours that it would cure tinnitus, solve sound sensitivity, and upgrade your ears a few thousand years ahead of evolution. But is it true? In this guide, we’re going to road test the Calmer and see how they perform as an everyday hearing accessory, with an emphasis on how well they reduce stress in noisy environments.
The Calmer arrives in an environmentally conscious cardboard packaging, with a mesh carry pouch and instruction guide. The first thing you notice about the Calmer is its size: small. Even the standard-sized Calmer is quite unassumingly sized, it’s a small, soft-plastic oval with a tail for easy insertion and removal.
Hollow in the middle, the Calmer isn’t — and doesn’t claim to be — a set of ear plugs. If anything it’s the opposite: it helps clarify sound by removing distortion as sound waves enter the ear.
Fit and Comfort
The first thing I noticed when I put the Calmer in was just how inconspicuous it was. In describing ear plugs, we often describe them in terms of how noticeable they are when you’re wearing them. The Calmer is as close as I would go to calling any device invisible. They are so light and low density that I almost immediately forgot I was wearing them.
Once inserted, they’re completely unnoticeable from the outside too. For individuals who are a little conscious about wearing a hearing device in public, the Calmer is a very inconspicuous device with a misicule footprint. This is excellent for wearing in-office or in situations when you don’t want to appear rude in conversation.
While the Calmer also comes as a ‘Night’ model, with a softer material for superior sleep quality, I don’t see why the regular Calmer wouldn’t work as a sleep aid. I found them inconspicuous when worn and comfortable. The only thing to remember, however, is that Calmer is NOT an ear plug — it won’t dampen sound.
Road Test: The Calmer
As we said before, it’s no exaggeration to describe the Calmer as the most hyped product in, well, the history of ear plugs. We received thousands of emails just for the Calmer alone! Online, a lot of noise has been made about its potential as a cure for tinnitus, a solution for sensory processing or hypersensitivity, as well as a stress-mitigation device.
To put a little water over all of that: experiences do vary. In even the short time we’ve been selling them, we’ve heard both sides. For some customers, there is a noticeable improvement in their tinnitus, for others there isn’t. For some customers, it lessens the impact of confronting environments like noisy trains or the shopping centre. For others, it doesn’t. In this guide, we’ll describe our experience but also emphasise that Flare have a 100 day return guarantee. Give it a shot, and if it doesn’t work for you a return is possible.
In my experience, I felt a definite ‘softening’ in my ambient surroundings. I became a little more conscious of the different sounds in my environment (I even noticed a leak in my ceiling! Thanks Flare!) For me, my subjective experience of the Calmer was that sounds felt a little less grating: living on a busy street, I found myself persisting for longer without needing music or other distractions to dampen the room while I was working. I wore it while commuting, while shopping, and in every case I found I was no longer immediately reaching for my music to insulate me from the outside world. For individuals with particularly sound sensitivity, who don’t want to resort to ear plugs, this could be a kye solution.
How do I see the Calmer fitting into my everyday life?
For a lot of commuters, the idea of wearing headphones or ear phones for multiple hours per day seems standard. However, it’s gradually coming to light that prolonged exposure to music can, if it’s not managed, caused irreversible hearing damage. As such, I see one of the primary uses of the Calmer for every day people as being an opportunity to give your ears a rest, while still mitigating the harmful or stress-inducing sounds of every day life. As discussed, I tested the Calmer at a local shopping centre, on the train, and while driving and found that my senses remained sharp and aware, while also being less frustrated by noises I found grating. I genuinely felt less stressed wearing these (and for a stresshead it’s a big benefit!)
On this count, the Calmer gave me a clear improvement in my experience in noisy ambient environments. I could see myself incorporating the Calmer into my weekly shops as an alternative to blasting music (and, based on the study above, my ears will thank me!)
The Calmer is additionally designed to work WITH music, to ease the passage of sound into the ear. You can wear them beneath a set of over-ear headphones or while listening to music through your stereo. Unlike a set of ear plugs, there’s going to be no dampening in the volume of sound, so you get that unadulterated experience with the sound waves coursing more easily into the ear. I trialled these listening to music and podcasts and in comparison to the above example of ambient noise, the change was more subtle. I couldn’t automatically tell whether I preferred listening to music with the Calmer in. On this count, it remained ambivalent for me.
The Calmer is unique among personal hearing devices in that it doesn’t claim to block sound, but rather to soften its passage into the ear. As such, it’s targeted at sound sensitive individuals, promising to reduce stress and sound-related discomfort in a subtle and inconspicuous manner. On these counts, the Calmer succeeded for me.
Where the Calmer has its most interesting applications is in the treatment of particular sound sensitivity. For individuals whose tinnitus is aggravated by external noise, for individuals with sensory processing disorders, the Calmer may function as a great alternative to ear plugs: making the world much less disruptive, without requiring you to insulate yourself with noise protection.
Check out the Flare Calmer and Flare Calmer Night