Sleep-Deprived Love

Guest Writer

Guest Writer

Customized Earplugs For The Lover Of A Person Who Snores

I’m a writer who’s happily married – that is, until my husband falls asleep. He snores, and loudly!

It’s hard not to feel cranky when the snoring wakes me up (or stops me from falling asleep in the first place), and horrible for expressing my sleep-deprived frustration at all.

I know it’s not his fault, and I actually feel bad for him because he regrets causing me hardship. We’ve consulted specialists, but have yet to find a workable solution for him.

So I’ve sought help for me. Over the years I’ve discovered all of the things that don’t work. Asking him to sleep on his side? The snoring continues. Covering my ears with pillows is useless. Buying a king-sized bed has allowed me to put my head at the other end of the bed, but it’s not enough. I’ve tried every type of commercial earplug out there. Some stay in my ears and some don’t, and some dull the sound slightly – but none have really worked.

Wearing earbuds that mask the sound of snoring with white noise or tranquil music is a non-starter, as I need quiet. Noise-cancelling headphones don’t work for side-sleepers like me. I’ve thought about knock-out sedatives – but who wants to sleep-walk into drug dependency and put the long-term health of one’s kidneys at risk?

We hate the idea of having to sleep separately, and in a small urban apartment, don’t even have many options for that. I ruled out sleeping in our second (and only other) bedroom, because it serves as my office and I’d go mad if I had to work and sleep in the same room.

So several years ago, I began setting up a temporary bed each night in our living room.

I’d start most nights in bed with my husband, have my sleep predictably shattered as the snoring got going, and end up trudging blearily to my living-room bed once again – where I would struggle to get back to sleep. Crappy earplugs helped reduce the sound of his snoring that was still audible from our bedroom!

Guests, Vacations: It’s Complicated

Sleepy Head In Athens 2016
I was REALLY missing my own bed (and my hubby)

Other situations were problematic. We love hosting out-of-town friends, but that meant my choices were: share the living room with our guests (having to explain our private dilemma, and hoping that they too are not snorers!), sleep in my office, go without sleep in our own bedroom or… just send me, or our visitors, to a hotel.

Staying at friends’ places, or together at a hotel, was similarly complicated, because one room never works.

And while we love camping, it’s way less fun when you have to bring two tents, space them as far apart as possible (not easy on some campsites!), bring extra sleeping bags and mattresses (bulky!), and ultimately, each sleep alone in the great outdoors.

Nowhere To Go But Up

Two years ago, a friend told me about an acquaintance who’d solved her snoring-partner problem with custom-made sleep earplugs. As a veteran of every commercial earplug available, I couldn’t imagine how they could work. But I looked into it, and found Vancouver Custom Earplugs online. The price gave me pause – several months’ pause, in fact. But as it sunk in that there was nowhere for my sleep-deprived life to go but up, I decided to try it.

Jamie Larsen, the owner of Vancouver Custom Earplugs, was sympathetic. After conducting a brief ear examination and hearing test, he made an impression of my ear canal. This involved squirting a cool gelatinous substance (a silicone ear-impression compound, which Jamie likes to call “pink goop”!) into my ears. What a strange feeling! I was asked to just sit there for about 3 minutes while the compound solidified into a semi-flexible state.

When it did, Jamie easily removed it from my ears – with absolutely no pain or unpleasantness. I was asked to select a colour for my earplugs, and then wait for a couple of weeks while the impressions were used to create my personalized earplugs.

When I picked up my new earplugs, which came with a discreet little leather case, I was surprised by how they looked. They’re made of high-grade silicone, are completely unlike the uniform, cylinder-shaped mass-produced earplugs, and looked quite different from each other.

I suppose I’d expected that the right- and left-side earplugs would be mirror images of each other. It turns out ear-canal shapes are not only unique to each human—they unique to each person’s ear!

Jamie’s assistant showed me how to slip them in, and told me it might take a few nights to get used to them. She also told me that if there were any problems with them during the next 60 days, the earplugs could be adjusted or re-made—and that they are guaranteed against defect or breakage for a year.

I was excited to try them, but to be honest, that was tempered with wariness of disappointment after having tried just about everything in our range of possibilities. On my way home, I wondered if I’d just thrown out good money for two colorful little bits of silicone.

That night I set up my living-room bed as usual, crawled into bed with my husband, and put in my new sleep earplugs. They felt fine, but wearing them did not make the room silent. I could still hear my husband when he spoke directly at me in a conversational tone of voice.

But they did seem to take the edge off all ambient sound – as if you’re listening from underwater. I managed to drift off before the snoring started.

My New Life

Picture of me with jean jacket on the beach in Jakarta
I function so much better after a full night’s sleep. I feel more alert and focused (not to mention happier without hitting a wall by noon each day.

Here’s the astonishing part: I woke up the next morning refreshed – and in the same bed as my husband. Ever the skeptic, I wondered: Was this a fluke – perhaps one of those rare nights when I’ve been so exhausted that I somehow slept through the storm?

But then I passed another restful night beside him, and another, and another. After about a week, I had to conclude the obvious: They work!

We now sleep together all night, every night, and comfortably share one bed – at home, at friends’ places, and at hotels. Our out-of-town guests get our living room to themselves, and no one needs to hear about our snoring/sleep woes! Best of all, that whole source of tension in our relationship is gone.

As a self-employed writer, I’ve come to cherish these earplugs for other reasons. I sometimes crave the presence of others, or just a change of scene, while I work, but in cafes and libraries I always wrestle with the distractions of nearby conversations.

Thanks to Vancouver Custom Earplugs I can now be productive in a wider range of environments, even long-distance buses and planes (where, with a sleep mask, I can even catch some sleep).

Last year I did a contract that required me to spend many hours writing in a shared, busy office – ugh! These earplugs saved my sanity. They seem to flatten nearby conversations to an indistinguishable murmur, and they’re so comfortable that I often forget I’m wearing them when I step away from my work!

Seriously, these customized sleep earplugs are the best investment I’ve made in my health, my relationship, and my mobility as a writer in years. I’m planning to get a second pair to ensure I’m never without them, and my only regret is that I didn’t find out about Vancouver Custom Earplugs sooner.

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