If you’re an ISOtunes customer, you probably use your earplugs or earmuffs to block noise while you work. But what if you had a greater need for blocking outside noise? We recently learned of a few ISOtunes customers who use their headphones to manage extraordinary life conditions. These are their stories.
Meet Stan*. Stan lives what would appear to be a typical life in the midwest. He’s a husband, musician, toolmaker, and dog-dad. He frequents the gun range on the weekends, and previously trained hunting dogs. He does it all - and he does it while managing the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Let’s go back to the late 70’s. Stan is a contractor for the Department of Defense, serving as Security Specialist in Israel. He provides security and emergency medical services for employees of American aeronautics and weapons engineers, technicians and their families. For reference, according to the Israeli foreign ministry, Israel suffered 360+ fatal casualties from 120+ terrorist attacks in the 70s alone. Case and point: Stan had plenty of work to do.
But this wasn’t the work Stan originally planned for himself. In his teens, Stan attended a specialized high school where he worked as a machines apprentice. “I’m doing things now that I never thought I would do. If someone would have told me in high school ‘you’re going to be a paramedic,’ I would have been like ‘no? Why would I do that?’” And that’s no surprise when you consider Stan never became a machinist. After serving 10 years as a contractor for the DoD, Stan returned to the states and became a paramedic. Then a paramedic instructor. He even worked as an ER Technician for a bit.
“I’ve done a few things...I liked the feeling of being able to come home and know that I helped somebody. Even if there were patients you couldn't do much for. Just hold someone’s hand, talk to them, tell some jokes. I’ve had some of the greatest conversations of my life with patients in the back of an ambulance going down the highway at 65 mph.”
These jobs suited him well and left a lasting impact. As we talked, Stan recalled the people he met as he transported critically injured patients from one hospital to another- from WWII vets to grandmothers. “I found talking to patients when they are in a crisis, in pain or afraid helps. Pretty soon they are smiling and not thinking of the difficult day they are having,” he said as he began fighting back tears. “I would never give up the memory of that.”
"I’ve had some of the greatest conversations of my life with patients in the back of an ambulance going down the highway at 65 mph.”
Stan’s career was clearly full of notable people and experiences. His career gave him wild stories to tell. It gave him best friends. It also gave him a twice-broken back, 5 surgeries, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
PTSD is defined as a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Symptoms such as flashbacks (reliving the traumatic event over and over again), bad dreams, frightening thoughts, and physical symptoms of anxiety (racing heart, sweating etc.) are severe enough to interfere with relationships and work.
“I describe the thoughts like the cellophane that used to be on cigarette packs. If you took it off, it stuck to your hand and you couldn’t get rid of it. And that’s the best way I can describe what it’s like to have the feelings that go on with chronic pain and post-traumatic stress. No matter how hard you try to get rid of it, you can’t. And even if you do get it off, if you get anywhere near it, it will stick right back to your hand.”
Stan has a particularly hard time sleeping due to those memories that just won’t go away. “If you let your mind drift, it will tend to go to the [traumatic] memories.” He described waking up in the middle of the night pouring sweat and brimming with anxiety. “Now they know that your body actually produces adrenaline even though you’re just dreaming about it, or thinking about, or talking about it...It’s difficult, because you have to accept the fact that you’re not going to fall right back to sleep. Your body has to deal with the hormones that get kicked out. You have to get calmed down.”
"No matter how hard you try to get rid of the memories, you can’t."
Stan spent far too long sleep deprived and frustrated. He eventually discovered that the sound of thunderstorms and banjo music helped keep him calm and asleep. “As your mind wants to get pulled back to the memory, cracking thunder or the rain slamming on the metal roof, is strong enough to make you focus.” He purchased a mid-tier pair of generic headphones from a convenient store and started wearing them to sleep. And this helped. “Having something that’s pleasurable to focus on while I was falling asleep cut down the number of times that I would wake up in the middle of the night covered in sweat and my heart racing.”
That was, until they broke. So he purchased another pair. They broke, again. He called customer service. “They’re not meant to be worn to bed,” they told him. Seriously, where does it say that?
Then he had an idea. He started wearing his ISOtunes to bed instead. Yep, the hearing protection he used while repairing and engraving instruments in the shop. And thankfully, ISOtunes worked.
Stan uses the ISOtunes XTRA 2.0 to help him sleep and combat the symptoms of PTSD.
“These are the pair [I sleep in] because the battery lasts so well...and when you put them on, you’re not going to choke yourself rolling over with these,” Stan said, holding a pair of ISOtunes XTRA 2.0s. “They’re paired to my phone and I have music on there and I’ve just gotten in the habit of falling asleep with those on pretty much every night...being able to close away your world by blocking the sound, which the ISOtunes do like no $39 earplugs from Walgreens can. For me, I’m able to focus on something that is much more pleasurable, or if I need it, I’m able to redirect my thoughts.”
Today, Stan has a “pile of ISOtunes” in his house. He and his wife own earplugs, earmuffs, old pairs, and new releases. He may just be our most loyal best customer to date! You may be wondering, what are his favorite ISOtunes features?
While he’s a fan of long-lasting battery life “I’ve never found any earphones that last anywhere near as long,” his favorite thing about ISOtunes is the customer service. “The first ISOtunes I had came apart, so I called to buy another pair. [customer service] asked what happened...and then they sent me another one for free. From that day on I was sold.”
ISOtunes offers exceptional customer service because our customers, just like Stan, are exceptional. They range from woodworkers, to parents, to military personnel. While they all have a need for blocking noise, their uses for hearing protection are as unique as their professions. Stan uses his ISOtunes to manage PTSD, and we’re honored to be part of his story.
If ISOtunes has become a staple in your life, or if you’ve been uniquely affected by Bluetooth hearing protection, please fill out this form for an opportunity to be featured on our website.
*Customer’s name has been changed to protect their identify