stay sane in NYC

My #1 Tip to Stay Sane in NYC (And Keep Your Hearing)

Figuring out how to stay sane in NYC is a bit of a learning curve, that’s for sure.

So here I am. It’s the spring of 2009.

I’ve just moved to New York City from the West Coast – a “yoga person” and an aspiring musician – a full on sensitive type.

I got offered an apartment share in Brooklyn by a facebook friend, which is how I ended up here.

I figured that NYC would be a good place to figure myself out professionally and vocationally.

And yet it became apparent right away:

This place is LOUD!!!

Car alarms, jackhammers, speakers blasting music, people yelling, metal clanging, the subways screeching…

So much of the way this place rattles-the-nerves for me is through its sounds.

The Comment that Triggered Me Into Action

Within my first few months, I was commenting on the subway noise to an acquaintance, and he casually said with a smile, “All New Yorkers lose their hearing eventually.”

Internally, there echoed within me a horrified, slow-motion…. “Nooooooo…..!!!”

I’m like: “Wait a second – I’m one of those people who NEEDS my hearing! One of my professional interests is in Sound Healing, even!”

And it may have been that very day, or very soon thereafter that I went out and bought my first pair of earplugs.

MY Way to Stay Sane in NYC

I’m not sure how many pairs came in that first pack, but I quickly realized – earplugs are easy to lose! And once a new roommate with a puppy came along, any earplugs left within reach became puppy treats…

That’s when I started springing for the 50-pair tub of Mack’s Earplugs.

So I guess it’s obvious by now:

My top tip is wearing earplugs.

More specifically, having LOTS of earplugs handy.

At all times.

And really – wearing earplugs everywhere!

For example, here’s me:

I wear earplugs in the subway (wheels screeching, “Showtime!”, people ranting, music blasting).

I wear them at my day job (service industry = people yelling, tables slamming, random crashing sounds).

I wear them at home (roommates talking, car alarms, house parties, cars parked below my window with radios on at full volume.)

Okay fine, maybe I’m not always wearing them. Certainly not when I’m having a conversation with someone, because – that would be rude…!

But – I do always have them with me.

Over the years as I’ve mastered THE way to stay sane in NYC, I’ve gathered the following tips to help you refine your own earplug strategy further:

Earplug Tips:

  • Carry them with you everywhere
  • By your bed
  • In your wallet
  • In your bag (maybe a designated pocket)
  • In your bra
  • In your pocket (my pockets develop holes, which is why I prefer the bra)
  • NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT THEM!!
  • Put them out of reach of any pets by keeping them in a bowl or cup of some sort
  • Keep the clean ones separate from the dirty ones. Wash the dirty ones, once you have a bunch of them. Wash in soap and water and let dry before reuse.
  • DO use caution when crossing the street. Personally, I rely on my sense of hearing to detect cars coming, so I take my earplugs out when crossing streets.
  • If there’s something loud like a jackhammer on a particular street, I’ll pull the earplugs out of my bra and just put them in for a moment, as needed.
  • Buy in bulk, like these Mack’s Earplugs, 50 pairs in one container.
  • Try various sizes and styles of earplugs, until you get the one that works best for your ear. If you buy them too large, they can hurt. I find that with the Mack’s brand above, I never feel them, which is a good thing. They’re also nude in color, so they’re great for wearing discreetly at work!

So there you have it. ALL my top earplug strategies for staying sane in the city.

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