Shutting It Out — How to Cope With Noise 

At some point in their lives, everyone has some problems with background noise. Whether that’s in your home while you’re trying to sleep, or in your office while you’re trying to concentrate, unwanted background noise can be irritating and distracting to a great degree.

With new audio technologies available on the market, such as noise cancelling headphones, incessant background noise no longer has to be the irritating distraction it once was. 

Below are a few ways — both high tech and low tech — to ensure that you’re not a victim of unwanted noise in your home or office. 

Put on some noise cancelling headphones

These can be expensive, but they’re effective. The technology has been developed to such a high standard that often they’re creating their own soundwaves. Out of phase with the intruding soundwaves, they interfere with and, effectively, cancel out the noise. Splendid!

Use noise isolating headphones

These are best if you’re wanting to block out the chatter of co-workers or noisy neighbors, as they physically block sounds with a seal against your ear and literally isolate your ear drums from the sound you’re trying to get away from. 

Muffle your environment

This is a less expensive, more DIY solution than technology: muffle those sounds! Place a towel under your door, close your curtains, and shut the window. Consider weatherstrips if there are small gaps around the edge of your window, and consider adding multipane glass to double-glaze the window. These are small steps, but if you’re in need of sleep this might just be the ticket. 

Put in some earplugs

There are a bunch of different styles of earplugs on the market, from cheap foam one size fits all to moldable silicone plugs which can be shaped to exactly fit your ears. Make sure that you’re buying noise plugs, as some are designed to allow sound in (such as swimmers’ earplugs) and that’s definitely what you don’t want! Check that they’re comfortable for you before you buy. 

Practice concentration techniques

If the problem is present in your office, practice meditation and concentration techniques to allow you to block out background noise and concentrate on your work. Make sure you’re not tired or hungry, since this can make it harder to concentrate. 

Make your own noise

Download some audio tracks of “white noise,” “brown noise” and “pink noise,” which will help to cover the unwanted background noise. The colors refer to different frequencies, so you may have to experiment before you find one which suits you and allows you to tune out of the background noise you’re trying to block. 

Finally, make your other environments are as relaxing as possible. Spend time every day in a genuinely quiet area, even if it’s only for ten minutes. This will give you a few minutes to shut the world out and relax.

Image by quinn.anya, used under Creative Commons license.