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I'm a programmer in an environment where people talk loudly. Nearby passionate conversations can be distracting when i need to concentrate.

I'm sure I'm not alone. What headphones/earplugs would people who've been in my own situation recommend?

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closed as not constructive by TheIndependentAquarius, Jeanne Boyarsky May 15 '13 at 1:26

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
I closed this because it is a polling question/survey and not one with an answer. –  Jeanne Boyarsky May 15 '13 at 1:26

10 Answers 10

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I'm not too good about recommending one brand over another, since everyone's tastes are different but noise-cancelling headphones are a good investment. See this dicussion....

http://productivity.stackexchange.com/a/3077/2961

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I have never tried them, but These headphones are way better at blocking noise then active noise canceling headphones. They actually plug your ear canal.

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I have these. They are cheap and have great sound, plus block out a majority of the sound around me.

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I have a pair of high end Bose, and I have to say, the effect is quite the opposite of what I expected. Active noise canceling headphones are great to remove background noise (airplane jets, train engine hum, nearby road noise). However, when you're in a typical office environment and you remove the background noise, the perceived result is much more heightened conversation noise. Because of that, my best strategy is alternating earplugs (Howard Leight's ones do great) with medium-level music from Pandora. That, or working from home!

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Drummer here. At my day job, I have some very loud coworkers in the next cube over. I brought in my Vic Forth Isolation Headphones, which I have multiple pairs at home. They are effective at blocking out a lot of sound on their own. Pump in some light music or SimplyNoise.com and it's hard to hear anything else. It's great for when I'm writing code or working on board layouts.

One caveat is that they compress my ears a bit. This means when I wear my glasses, I need to take a break every 30 minutes or so to take the pressure off my ears. When I'm wearing contacts I'm in good shape though.

I'm sure there are a lot of drummer-like headphones out there that would do similar, but I really like mine.

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Another nice choice is Beyerdynamic DT770, which are also made with drummers in mind :) They will block sound to fault (that's what my fiancee says, at least...) –  Juha Untinen Jan 29 '13 at 8:47

The cheapest and easiest solution is to move somewhere quieter. But if you really want to use head phones then try this. Use any small headphones with earmuffs covering them.

Here's what I use. Headphones: Sony MDR-Q68LW Clip-on Style Headphone with Retractable Cord http://www.amazon.com/Sony-MDR-Q68LW-Clip--Headphone-Retractable/dp/B000PCF7A6/ref=sr_1_25?ie=UTF8&qid=1335821791&sr=8-25

Earmuffs: Peltor H9A Optime 98 Over-the-Head Earmuffs http://www.amazon.com/Peltor-H9A-Optime-Over--Earmuffs/dp/B0017YLTAI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1335821614&sr=8-2

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It is not about the head-phones - it is about what they are playing.
as someone already suggested I too use simplynoise.com
My productivity at work jumped to the sky I used to have my thread of thought break on every word from the hallway.
Now the brown noise masks everything around me and puts me in a quiet bubble of concentration. :)

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They also came up with SimplyRain. –  Marius Butuc Jan 24 '13 at 15:32

I tried many different types of noise cancelling headphones. They are nice to have, but even the highest-end noise-cancelling headphones do not cancel out that much noise actually. You know what's best? The cheap, yellow, "classic" earplugs by 3M. Cost less than 0.50$ for a pair. I am not aware of anything that cancels out as much as these.

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Goldring NS1500 seems to be the best value for money as far as noise cancellation goes. Some of the best battery life for noise cancellation too.

If you want to go premium, Bose is one of the pioneers of the field and will give you the best quality.

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I just picked up a pair of Skullcandy Ink'd earbuds with multiple sizes of silicone ear tips. They work much better than I expected at blocking noise from around me. Add some music and I am quite well insulated from conversation noise around me.

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