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Loop Headphones Review — By A Neurodivergent Therapist
With neurodiversity and sensory health being at the forefront of the internet in many spaces, loop headphones have exploded in popularity. If you’re considering buying loop headphones, this loop headphones review is for you!
I am a neurodivergent therapist who works primarily with neurodivergent folx. Through my own work with folx over the years, I have seen (and experienced throughout my life) the difficulties of auditory sensory sensitivity.
It can feel like we are trapped and/or excluded from spaces because of high levels of sound variability that may be disturbing to us. For my ADHD brain, telling me I cannot go somewhere makes me want to go there even more!
So, when I heard about loop headphones as a concept, I got really excited to try them out and write a loop headphones review! Since I cannot work with every neurodivergent person, my hope is that you find this loop headphones review from somebody with similarities to you reviewing a product from a lens to help you out — and not to blindly promote, I might add.
So I bought the experience plus loops in the rose gold color. I personally love rose gold! They do have a lot of colors to choose from.
I will say a disappointing selection choice, however, is that they do not seem to have nearly as many colors for the experience or the experience plus headphones.
Blue is my favorite color and I was surprised to see they had rose gold and not blue! So, I would say that is a slight count against them from myself and all of my fellow blue-lovers. But we are not here to review the company on their choices. Let’s talk about the loop headphones review!
What Are Loop Headphones? — Loop Headphones Review
Loops headphones are dandy little earbuds that help you control the noise of your environment. If you’re like me and you enjoy being out in public but have hearing sensitivities, headphones like loops are a pretty great tool!
Their design is pretty small and sleek. Both fit into your ears quite comfortably and don’t stick out! You can get them in all sorts of colors and can even buy mute inserts to further dampen the noise around you. This option is great if you have higher auditory intake sensitivity and/or need it quieter for focus. That last one is definitely me!
In fact, I’m wearing mine as I write this review. I find that they help me access higher levels of focus while being out and about.
As with any product, however, loops headphones are not necessarily for everybody. In the next section I’ll discuss who I’ve recommended loops for as well as who may want to avoid the use of loops headphones.
Who Are Loop Headphones Good For? — Loop Headphones Review
Many of my patients have talked about their experience with loops with me. In fact, one of my patients was the person who initially told me about loops headphones!
The following are generally speaking folx that can benefit from the use of loops headphones:
- Sensory Processing Differences/Variability
- Trouble Focusing
- Trouble Sleeping
- Trouble Regulating Emotions/Highly Sensitive Person
- Folx of all ages (preschool and up I would say)
Generally speaking, I have found that folx in these diagnostic ‘buckets’ tend to like loop headphones. Often times they cite that they’re easy to transport, covert when they’re using them, and modifiable!
Like my own patients as well as myself, we have found that loop headphones are super helpful during the day when there is a lot of stimulation in our world.
As I mentioned, I have some thoughts on specific places that loop headphones are beneficial. I will also discuss some of the instances where they may be a hinderance or may not be recommended.
Are Loop Headphones Good For Focus?
I as a person with ADHD generally struggle with focus in certain situations. My own flavor of ADHD would have me easily distracted by sounds, especially sounds going on outside or in a coffee shop. This kind of sucks, because on the whole I find my focus to be a lot better in quiet coffee shops!
So using loops in coffee shops I have found has been a wonderful way for me to enhance my enjoyment of working ‘out and about’. I can still hear that there are folx around me, which naturally makes me feel better about what I’m doing.
Keeping the noise reduced with the mutes in for me has been a game changer for doing tasks that are otherwise going to require a lot of mental energy for me. Remember, sensory input for those of us with high sensitivities/variability can result in difficulties focusing, regulating our emotions, and being integrated with our space.
All of these things are important to be successful, so it’s important to know which tools may be best for helping us access our spaces!
The caveat here I would say is that there’s different ‘flavors’ of us neurodivergent folx. Some of us may struggle if there’s too little sound and may find ourselves chronically under-stimulated.
For those of us with lower auditory processing or ‘dulled’ auditory processing you may want to think twice before buying loops. I know a lot of us neurodivergent folx that really need white noise of some kind to focus. They may be a hinderance to you being able to focus or , generally speaking, hear what’s going on around you if this is you.
Especially if safety is of a concern for you while in public, you want to be careful dampening any sensory inputs. Keep in mind that we need to find that sweetspot for what is pleasant for us but allows us to be integrated into our space!
If auditory under-stimulation is within your experience, you may want to reconsider trying loops headphones out.
Are Loop Headphones Good For Meditating?
Of course I have to talk about meditation! Loop headphones absolutely can be good for meditation. It all depends on the type of meditator you are.
For example, some folx may prefer to have their environment be very silent while meditating. Loops would be likely really good for this. I am definitely one of those people and they have worked wonderfully for me when I use them for meditation!
There is always a ‘but’. As you may already know, there are tons of different types of meditation styles and settings. Some folx prefer to be outside, some inside. Maybe you prefer there to be silence while some prefer there to be white noise or music.
It goes without saying if you prefer there to be noise in your environment, loops likely may not be great for meditation for you. They’re very effective at buffering out noise around you. So, this may actually work against you!
Also, they are a sensory experience to have in. Some folx like to feel like they are floating, or block out sensory experiences, while meditating. If you have particularly high felt input in or around your ears, loops may irritate you while trying to drift away.
So, it all depends! But on the whole if you enjoy silence, I’d say loops are likely a good choice for your meditation needs!
Are Loop Headphones Good For Sleeping?
The next topic I wanted to cover was sleep. I would say that loop headphones are great for sleep! Like I mentioned before with the dampening of the auditory input, they can be a great tool for blocking out noise when you are trying to get some shut-eye.
I know for a lot of folx, especially those of us who value staying asleep, loop headphones are a great way to make sure we can maintain deep, quality sleep. There are, however, some caveats to this.
My recommendation for using loop headphones for sleep is only one of my experience working with others. I, personally, do not use loop headphones for sleep.
Strangely enough, I need white noise to fall asleep! Blocking out the sound is not something that would be beneficial for my falling asleep. In fact, I have found that it can cause quite the opposite of what I want.
In terms of felt sensitivities, there is a certain experience to be had having something in your ears. For me, I am not a fan when I’m trying to relax. The fewer the felt-specific sensory inputs for me, the better when trying to fall asleep.
So if you have high levels of sensitive felt input, I would likely tell you to avoid loops for sleeping. They could irritate you and make it even harder for you to get to sleep.
Are Loop Headphones Good For Driving?
This one is going to be a resounding NO. If you decide to purchase loop earphones, please do not use them while driving. I thought a second about this one, but this for sure is my stance.
Much like you should not wear headphones while driving, loop headphones are also dangerous. You need to be able to hear the road and to be alert. I don’t often advocate for being on high alert all the time, but while driving you really should avoid being TOO comfortable.
I care about your safety! So please do not buy these for driving. There are wonderful ways to help manage sensory overwhelm while driving such as pulling over, music, deep breathing, or calling a friend to wait for the overwhelm to pass.
If you have high levels of sensory overwhelm chronically while driving, you may want to reach out to an occupational therapist and/or a neurodivergent affirming mental health therapist. I’ve provided links to both!
Are Loop Headphones Good For Listening To Music?
This one, like the others, is going to heavily depend on what you are trying to get out of the music you may be listening to! I will start with studio/recorded music.
For recorded music I would say it’s probably not all that necessary to have loop headphones, even with high levels of auditory input sensitivity.
Most headphones/earbuds are earbuds anyway, so it would not really make sense. Plus, not to be too obvious, but volume control is a thing!
However, I know there are likely some aficionados out there trying to get different types of sound using the mute functions — and that’s fair!
Personally, I don’t notice much of a difference with over the ear headphones. It just felt like the sound was more dampened. I was able to essentially recreate that with lowering the volume.
But do not let that stop you if you are determined to try them out! Everybody’s auditory input preferences are different and I by no means speak for all of us. This review does not encompass every life experience, so feel free to get curious with them if that is where your mind takes you!
Now I get to talk about live music! The one I have a love-hate relationship with.
I would say for me loop headphones are amazing for being in environments where there is super loud music playing. As a musician and music lover, it has always been painful for me to always feel like I need to avoid concerts and high-energy environments due to my auditory sensitivity.
Loop headphones have made this facet of life so much easier for me! I can enjoy live music without feeling like my ears are going to explode for the first time in my life. That is going to be a huge point for loop headphones in this one.
So if you are a music lover, you likely have a great idea of your own auditory sensitivities. Gauge your own and decide what is the best course of action for you if you decide to try loop headphones out!
I now want to talk about all of the cool things about loop headphones that surprised me!
Things That Surprised Me! — Loop Headphones Review
There were some interesting discoveries about loop headphones that I came across after using them for some time. Here are some of them that may shock you!
The Good – No Heartbeat
This one is something I think a big part of the population takes for granted, but you cannot hear your heartbeat using loop headphones (at least, I couldn’t)! This came at a pretty big surprise to me since typically having ear plugs in enhances the sound of my heart beating.
I am absolutely not a fan of this and it has taken me out of many a meditative state. Loop headphones, however, do not seem to have this issue though!
The Bad – Head Pressure
Likely you already know if you have sinus pressure, so this may be a given already. But in case you are not aware, loop headphones do make you feel significantly more ‘plugged’ behind the eyes.
My sensitivity is moderately high, having sinus pressure issues throughout my life. The folx I worry about the most here are those in my camp or even slightly above where you may not realize just how intense your pressure is until you have something like loop headphones in.
I wouldn’t say for me that they are even uncomfortable, necessarily, but I recognize that they do make a significant pressure difference behind my eyes. In the same vein, I realize that my sinus problems are likely not as severe as some other folxs’, so tread carefully here.
The Good – Overall Variety in Customization
Loop headphones have an amazing amount of customizability! There are tons of different colors to choose from in terms of the mutes, loop headphones, and the carrying case.
It may be a small and obvious thing to include, but it’s always nice to be able to pick your colors. After all, what is life without a little color?
The Bad – They’re Easy to Lose
I think that this one may be self explanatory. The very fact that these guys are so small is part of the appeal of them. However, it should be noted that this comes at a cost.
Loop headphones are very easy to lose because of how small they are! I say this because I know I’m not the only ADHDer who struggles to find things if I don’t have them in the EXACT place I’m used to them being — which is often.
They do, however, offer a necklace-like accessory called the loop link that can be of a help to this.
Since I didn’t buy the link, I won’t review it. But I will say that it likely makes this fact a lot easier to stomach if you are considering loops!
My suggestion to Loop would be to make a bigger carrying case for the loop headphones. It’s nice that they’re sleek and small, but the carrying case could stand to be a bit bigger than the one that comes standard with it. That way it may be easier to find, just in case!
The… Meh? – No difference With/Without the Mutes
When buying the experience plus loop headphones, you get a small set of mutes you can insert into the plugs that are supposed to further dampen the noise of your environment by up to 2 more decibels. There is more information on their website about it.
When I used the mutes, I definitely noticed no difference. My own auditory sensitivity I would say is higher than average, but DEFINITELY manageable.
Having said that, take what I say with a grain of salt here. You may have a higher level of auditory sensitivity than I do and you may feel a significant difference. There are no truly right answers here since we are all so different!
Conclusion — Loop Headphones Review
Trying out loop headphones is something I have wanted to do for a while now, so this was truly a joy to explore for you all! Throughout this article I have gone through some specific examples of spaces and circumstances that may or may not warrant the use of loop headphones.
My goal here is not to try to advertise loop headphones unconditionally, but to provide information to you so you can make the best decisions to take back control of your sensory health.
Loop headphones do NOT fix/change all sensory input variabilities and should be respected as headphones for auditory control. Their use does not substitute for working with an occupational or mental health therapist.
I want to present a realistic picture of what these tools can do for you. Because that is what loop headphones are, wonderful tools!
Overall, I recommend loop headphones for those of you who may have identified with some of the previously mentioned auditory sensitivities or diagnoses.
They can be a great way to regain access to your spaces that you occupy and even get you into other spaces you would like to occupy!
If you found this article helpful or would like to discuss your own experiences using loop headphones, feel free to leave a comment!