How to reduce unwanted noise is a question many people have these days.

There are many common issues ranging from the noisey coworker in the cube farm spoiling your concentration, to the immature neighbors without full time day-jobs keeping you up at night.

This short post will be about the best noise reductions options I have found so far.

The not-so-great news, and the bottom line, is that a reduction of about 30 decibels is the best noise reduction you are going to get with easy options.

Noise reduction products generally fall into two distinct groups: passive and non-passive. Passive products are things like ear plugs and ear muffs. Other products like ear phones may use powered technology to reduce, block or attenuate noise.

A coworker of mine introduced me to the Bose® QuietComfort® 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® Headphones:

Cost? About $300.

My coworker let me try them out in our noisey office. I found that the passive Pro Ears Ultra 33 worked about the same for me.

Cost? About $35.

After I bought Pro Ears. I repeated my test at the office trying those on, trying on my coworkers fancy electronic thing and trying out drug store ear plugs during someone’s conference call on speaker phone. They all seemed about equally effective for me. The Pro Ears Ultra 33 had the advantage of being easy to put on/take off and did not involve stuffing things in my ears.

Since I can’t sleep on my back remaining 100% still for a full night, I found myself returning to ear plugs to compensate for those noisey neighbors without day-jobs. Googling around, I couldn’t find any objective information on what made one ear plug more desirable than another. The best I got were comments like

“Try these! They are the best!”

Then I found “The Sound of Silence Sussing out the ear-plug market.” by Ulrich Boser on The author methodically tested a large number of ear plugs for several different qualities, assigned a score for each quality and then gave each ear plug an overall score. It is the closest thing I found to an objective review of ear plugs on the internet.

Lastly, there is the Ear Plug Super Store, a family owned business that specializes in selling everything that will reduce, block or attenuate noise. There is a lot of useful information on the site and their knowledgeable customer service will gladly answer any questions you have about what the right product is for you to get.

Remember, parole for a life sentence on a murder charge is about 30 years. Tempting as it may be, homicide is the lesser option to one of these products, moving or finding another job.


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