This morning in Mechelen, I discovered my room was not located at the best side of the hotel. A dog started barking for a long time, some cars passed by, and some people took the stairs down just adjacent to my room. Often, when you are staying in a place you are not used to, background sounds are more disturbing than at home, where a lot of the background sounds do not wake you. Since I travel a lot, and I need my sleep to be at a 200% energy level for my clients in the morning, I need to be sure that these unfamiliar sounds do not wake me up.
That’s why, some years ago, I bought those two ear plugs fit to my ears. They block the majority of the background sounds, so that barking dogs, distinct cars, toilet flushes and bath tub drains do not wake me up. I have them always in my toilet case, ready to put them in whenever some sounds awake me. Two sounds do get through, and that’s good news: the alarm clock on my phone, and the wake-up call from the hotel. Otherwise, my night rest would be too long for my clients to appreciate.
I would advise any business traveler to get such ear plugs made to fit your ears to protect your night’s rest. I can tell you, it’s a bit weird though, to have your ears measured. I remember going to the Audionova shop nearby, and it felt somehow weird to have someone put a strange blue-colored jelly inside my ears. As soon as the jelly was stiffened, the lady in the shop took two ear plug models out like a magician pulls a rabbit out of his hat. “That’s it. I’ll tell you when they are ready.”
Some weeks later, I was able to test the two ear plugs – ‘r’ as in ‘red’ for the right ear, and blue for the other right ear. They were a perfect fit to my ear. The surrounding sounds went down immediately and quite drastically. But, in the beginning, there were new sounds asking for my attention: my own breathing and my own hearth beat. I was not able to sleep through those sounds, so the first months, they were no real help. As a personal advice for everyone trying such ear plugs: put them in your ears ‘in tempore non suspectu’, when you do not need them. That way you get used to wearing them, so that by the time you really need them to defend your sleep, it’s not your own mystic body sounds that keep you awake.