ZEMS: The Best Hearing Protectors in the World

I’d like to think that even with my sensory problems, I can still manage to be the epitome of high-class sophistication and style at every minute of the day. Problem is, thinking it and being it are two very different things.

With my high sensitivity to sound, I always have an array of options to protect myself from the noisy noise of the world around me.

I’ve got fancy noise-cancelling headphones, and yes, they really do cancel the noise.

I’ve got special wax ear plugs imported from Europe (No, I’m not kidding. Momsy ordered them for me last year and they are wonderful and European.)

I’ve got cheap wax ear plugs that I bought from CVS Pharmacy. I hate them and they hate me.

I’ve got mushy styrofoam-like earplugs that will not fit into my baby-sized ears, and my hatred for them is so intense, I could cry.

But more importantly, I’ve got these:


Quirksters, I proudly present my most favorite form of hearing protection and noise reduction: ZEMS by Sensgard.

Although they appear awkward and non-functioning, do not let appearances fool you! These beauties are frighteningly effective at stopping unwanted sound waves from reaching my precious ear drums.

But how do they work?

im not saying its magic



But there’s real technology behind this. Those two tubes on either side (which sit in your ears) act as an extension of the ear canal. They are hollow, and physically pull certain frequencies of sound away from your ear. Yet, the design allows for some sounds, such as the sound of a person’s voice, to enter the ear mostly untouched.

What does this mean, Kelly?

ZEMS by Sensgard are the first and only form of hearing protection that I’ve come across that actually discriminate between unwanted and wanted sound. As in, I want to hear what people are trying to tell me but I don’t want to hear the clanging of dishes in the background. ZEMS take care of all that.

In essence, it’s a miracle product for human beans who suffer from sound sensitivity.

Look! Here’s an average man using a noisy and dangerous power tool in close proximity to his nether regions. Alas, the man fears nothing because his ZEMS have come to his rescue just in time when his friend from across the room said, “hey buddy careful where you’re aiming that thing!” And so, his man ornaments were saved, because over the noise of the machinery, he could still hear his friend’s warning.sensgard man

Look again! Here’s another human bean making the hard choice between neon orange or neon green ZEMS. (Neon green has my vote, at it totally matches the neon green accents in the rest of the space. But what do I know, I’m only an entry-level fashion designer.)


OH NO! ZEMS by Sensgard work so well that this innocent child is completely unaware that she’s about to be devoured by hordes of zombies in a matter of seconds! It’s too bad she left her page blank, she could’ve at least written some final words: Dear Ma and Pa, I leave you my pink shirt with the sparkly bow, and these red and yellow blocks which I am currently using as a makeshift chair and desk. I also leave you my notebook which contains a meticulous catalog of every cupcake I’ve ever eaten. Also, I’m a 245 year-old time lord and I knew this was going to happen.

watch out girl

ZEMS by Sensgard, as effective as they are, do have one design flaw. This flaw only seems to impact me, however. When I wear ZEMS, my head is not large enough to balance the apparatus on my head. With any movement, it will flop forward onto my face, or go flying backward off my head entirely. Therefor, I have found the most direct way to prevent this is to place a sock between my head and the ZEMS. This creates enough filler to stop it from falling off my apparently smallish head. The finished product is simply a feast for the eyes:

is it just me

With my ZEMS by Sensgard held in place by an old sock, I am literally unstoppable. I should probably purchase a child’s size instead, but look at me now:

rainbow zems

With the problem of noise eliminated, the only predicament remaining is a glaring one: I simply cannot leave the house wearing the ZEMS&sock combo. Not only would this be socially devastating, but it would most likely solidify my single lady status for eternity.


Oh wait, I forgot. I don’t give a flying flipper about social devastation. Sign me up for speed dating and I will show up with ZEMS and sock in hand, and I’ll be darned if every potential suitor refuses to marry me on the spot.


So there you have it. A fabulous noise eliminator, a stylish fashion accessory, and a courtship enhancing device, all wrapped in one.

If you think this whole post is a joke, let me show you this exclusive picture of me a few years ago, wearing my ZEMS&sock combo. Hashtag no shame.

zems pic

If you would like one, more info can be found on their website. Here’s the link -you’re welcome: http://www.sensgard.com/

UPDATE: check out this great website below, featuring an super-duper thorough review of noise-cancelling headphones. This review is one of the best I’ve seen in terms of detail and depth of information. The review covers everything from over-ear and in-ear headphones, to the importance of active cancellation (as opposed to passive cancellation), to comfort, and everything in between. One of the winners was the pair of headphones that I own, the Bose Quiet Comfort (I knew I picked a winner!). If you’re looking for a headphone-focused review for noise reduction for those of us with sound sensitivty, go here: Headphone Review


Stay quirky my friends

xoxo kelly


  1. “ZEMS by Sensgard are the first and only form of hearing protection that I’ve come across that actually discriminate between unwanted and wanted sound.”

    I have the Hear Active Listening system, where you can with an app electronically set with frequencies/types of noises you want to screen out, or distort ambient sounds in fun ways if that is your thing (I’m planning to write a blog post about it, but am not great at getting planned things done). However, it is in-ear, and expensive high-tech depending on being charged e.t.c. I like the simple idea of the ZEMS, but some things about how they are described are confusing me a bit. For example (quote from their website:)

    “The chambers are tuned to provide even reduction of sound across all frequencies without blocking or distortion of sound.”

    If it is an even reduction of sound across all frequencies, how can it let conversations through yet screen background noise out? I would have thought that in order to let some sounds through and not others, you have to favour the frequencies of the desired sounds.

    “This revolutionary ear chamber device protects against damaging noise while allowing useful sounds to be heard, with a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 26 decibels for high reduction of low-frequency sound.”

    (The same description is on the NNR 31 model, just with NNR 31 instead of 26)

    – When it is an even reduction of sound across all frequencies, how can it be a high reduction of low-frequency sounds?

    – Does it particularly focus on reducing low-frequency sounds, what about high-frequency sounds?

    I am asking because my noise sensitivity problems are mainly with high frequency sounds (e.g. beeping things, shrieking kids and many common nameless sounds). When I shop in the supermarket, I set the HAL to cut out sounds over a particular frequency, that removes/reduces the beepings from the cash registers and screaming kids

    1. I’ve never heard of the HAL system, but now I need to look into it.

      As for the frequency reduction of ZEMS by SensGard, I’m not an expert on its technology either. However, I do know that it’s most commonly used by people who work around loud machinery/equiptment like airplanes, for instance.

      I tested them out when I first got them by slamming doors and cabinets – a sound which normally upset me – didn’t bother me much.

      For me, it feels like ALL sounds are reduced in frequency, but clarity is still there. So I can hear the crispness of a person’s voice among other things but it sounds father away. The piercing scream of a child still comes through in terms of me hearing it, but it’s not piercingly loud. That’s the best way I can describe it.

      1. It sounds good.

        (HAL = Here Active Listening, HAL is just my lazy shortening of the name)

        I asked my husband about the ZEMS, he is a specialist in building acoustics and has a master degree in acoustics. He thinks the technology sounds plausible and recommended I “give them a go”. Since they are not overly expensive (depending on the shipping cost to Australia though), I think I will… due to curiosity… I want to see how this works for me, and also the nicety of having a back-up, and the low tech principle. I really like when someone creates a cheap, smart low tech solution for something that is conventionally requires more complicated and expensive equipment

  2. Kelly, so good of u to share,I’m sure many r so appreciative..Keep the info coming!🤗🤗🤗❤️. Aunt Betty

  3. OMG wow. I have never heard of these but they sound AMAZING and life changing – I’ve been looking for ear plugs / more comfier ear defenders and Im totally googling these now! Thanks yu are awesome 🙂

  4. “I’ve got mushy styrofoam-like earplugs that will not fit into my baby-sized ears, and my hatred for them is so intense, I could cry.”

    This. This this this so much this. The silicone ones are ooookay but they make my ears make weird popping sounds when they’re in. I’m off to check the product page for Zems, right after I finish reading this post. And then I’ll read the adult diagnosis post. And then I’ll read another. And then I’ll wonder why it’s past dinner-time.

    I’ve commented elsewhere, but at the stage I’m at in my diagnosis (which is all of 6 weeks old), finding this blog is like a moment of absolute quiet at a [insert nasty sports event]. Thank you for sharing, which is a bit more than I can do at the moment.

      1. Sad follow-up: I ordered them, they arrived, they are awesome indeed… *except* that I have small ears and smaller ear-canals and they try to explode said poor ears after about a half-hour of wear.

        It’s basically the same problem I have with all foam plugs (they try to expand past what I can take and hurt, unless I trim them, but then they’re not as effective). It’s compounded on the ZEMs by the inner plastic ear-section (under the foam) that seems to be about 8mm wide, which is about 9mm wider than my ears will accept without crying.

        It’s a shame, because the noise reduction was great — not complete, just enough to tone down all those crazy-making sounds. I would absolutely recommend them for folks with less freakishly small ears.

  5. You are completely adorable!!! That rainbow picture has me laughing most immoderately!! Please tell me the link above is an afflink. If I order these for my daughter, I want you to get credit.

  6. Thanks so much for sharing this info Kelly. Great illustrations! I’m planning to purchase ZEMS for my child that is very sensitive to noise. At the moment we are using 3M Peltor Optime over the ear earmuffs. They are clunky but seem to work. I am very much interested in what brand you found works best in over the ear style. A hat over the ZEMS would hide the sock issue : )

  7. HI Kelly – thanks for this great bit of info. Ive loved your blog for a while now and love the illustrations. Im an OT in the UK working with young people who have SPD – Ive not come across these before and am going to order some to try! Look great. Thank you :0)

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