Living with M.S.

"Living with M.S. is sort of like training for a long race. The harder you try, and the longer you keep at it, the stronger you become.
Eventually, looking back, you may be amazed at the power you possessed, even when you had no idea it was within your reach." (Linda Ann Nickerson)


Describing discomfort: How do you feel about pain faces?

Chronic illness hurts. That much is clear. But how much does it hurt, and what’s the best way to let others (particularly medical professionals) know how much it hurts?

Surely we’ve all seen the pain assessment charts that show ranges of faces, from happy to sad. (The original version, designed for evaluating medical discomfort in children, has been widely credited to Wong-Baker.) Some contain five different faces, while others have 10. Either way, the array of expressions is supposed to help a person to quantify his or her current level of pain.

Sounds simple, right?

Not exactly.

What about the widely ranging pain tolerance thresholds of individual people? Don’t we all know someone who screams bloody murder over a splinter in a finger? What about the person who barely grimaces over a serious sprain or a broken bone?

And how about the whirling waves of come-and-go pain, the intermittent stings and spasms that seem to be a hallmark of MS and other neurological disorders, and the unpleasant pins-and-needles episodes that crop up without warning? These inconsistent, but persistent, pains can be difficult to measure.

Still, it’s a start.

 Adapted from public domain artwork and photo

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Product review: Yurbuds Inspire Sport Earphones

Do Yurbuds really refuse to fall out, and are they comfortable?

Earphones are ideal for exercising. They’re also excellent tools for anyone living with multiple sclerosis. I frequently wear earphones, both for exercising and for working. Basically, I do this for two primary reasons:

1. I like to run several miles nearly daily – at least, I do on those days with the MS MonSter isn’t raging. I’m not a fast runner. In fact, sometimes I walk up hills and jog the flat stretches. But having energetic music piping into my ears somehow helps to keep my feet tapping along, even when I start to tire. So earphones help.

2. Noise can be more than annoying to anyone living with multiple sclerosis. Loud, unruly, chaotic, and sporadic sounds tend to be distracting, disorienting, and even painful. Sometimes auditory overload seems to send MSers into symptomatic overload. I’ve been known to put on earphones and not even plug them in, simply using them to mute the sounds around me. (Someone in my home recently retired. Need I say more?)

Enter Yurbuds Inspire Sport Earphones.

I picked these up a couple of months ago. I was intrigued by the product claims. Apparently, these handy headphones were supposed to be comfortable, durable, and designed especially for exercise. Having grown frustrated with earbuds that constantly fell from my ears during runs, I jumped at the chance to try Yurbuds.

I picked the Yurbuds Inspire 100 for Women Sport Earphones, which retail for approximately $20. My set happened to be aqua, but they also come in green, yellow, purple, and coral.

Do Yurbuds work?

Designed jointly by a triathlete and a marathoner, Yurbuds look a lot like everyday earphones (such as those that come with smart phones), except that they have nifty little cone-like enhancers (Read: earbud caps), fashioned from silicone, that tuck into the user’s ears. This particular pair was designed in a smaller size to fit daintier ears. (Hey, don’t judge.)

Supposedly water- and sweat-resistant, these buds use a patented TwistLock technology, essentially meaning the earbud caps can swivel into place to fit each wearer’s ears.

I liked the way Yurbuds fit and felt. The sound quality was adequate, even allowing ambient noise. That’s a big safety plus for anyone running or walking on trails, tracks, or roadsides.

This product reviewer purchased the product described and evaluated here, and the reviewer has no prior or existing relationship (either familial or professional) with the creator, manufacturer or marketer of the product.

But here’s the catch, which I happened to discover immediately before my tag-in at a recent trail relay race. Sometimes the little Yurbuds enhancer caps pop off. The first time this happened (at said race), I was able to find the errant cap in the grass.

Unfortunately, it happened again the next day. I was running on a woodsy trail. I thought I heard a rustling nearby, so I lifted the Yurbud out of one ear. That’s when I noticed that one of the enhancer caps had gone missing.

Oops! Look what's missing!

Now my Yurbuds have been reduced to regular earphones. Apparently, replacement enhancer caps are available for $10 to $15.

Also, the cord on Yurbuds Inspire Sport Earphones tends to tangle. And this particular product does not include a microphone or volume adjuster, although each set sports a standard jack that is compatible with most smartphones and tablets. They also work with computers, radios, and TVs that have standard mic inputs. (Apparently, higher priced Yurbuds earphones do offer microphones and control buttons.)

Overall, I liked using Yurbuds Inspire Sport Earphones, while the enhancer caps lasted. But now I am sort of stuck with earbuds that fall out.

 Product promotion/packaging photo – fair use

Feel free to follow on GooglePlus and Twitter. Please visit my Amazon author page as well.
You are invited to join the Kicking MS to the Curb page on Facebook and the Making the Most of MS board on Pinterest as well.
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