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Addicted to ear plugs...

Category Everything Else
A few years back, I started sleeping with ear plugs to help "mask out certain noises" (and that's all I'll say in order to preserve my marriage).  I've gotten to the point that even when I'm sleeping alone, I still end up using them because any background noise tends to wake me up.

Which brings me to work...

The area I sit in has a number of people who have to spend a fair amount of time on the phone.  As a result, I know far more about certain software systems that I don't support than I ever wanted to.  I envy those people who can zone out everything around them and not get distracted.  Me?  I tend to have this radar system going, and I end up focusing on any conversation that drifts my way.  Perhaps that's the "bright shiny object" distraction tendency of my attention.  Putting on headphones and listening to music doesn't seem to work for me, as I end up focusing on the music.  Sometimes it works, but often it's not much better in terms of concentration.  The solution?  My trusty ear plugs!  I pop a pair of those puppies in, and it sounds like everyone moves about 100 feet away.  The only drawback is when someone approaches you from behind and thinks you're aware of them, and you're just blissfully cranking code...  :)

I may have to start buying two packs each time I restock...  one for home and one for work.

Comments

Gravatar Image1 - I have what I have lately been calling "prissy hearing". Noises too quiet for many people to notice sometimes bother me. And I have the same "certain noises" issue with my partner (but she has a worse one with me).

My favorite earplugs are Howard Leight "Max". They are much softer than typical "barrel" plugs, and have the same or better noise reduction ratings. After finding them off and on in the safety section of the hardware store, I bought a hundred pair at earplugstore.com so that I have sets everywhere I go, so that I feel free to toss them out after a few uses, and so I feel free to hand them out to people when they complain about their earplugs. YMMV

Gravatar Image2 - I'll have to check out those Max ear plugs. I found ones at the local Walgreen's (sp?) that have a noise reduction rating of 33 decibels, and that seems to work pretty well for me. Of course, if I found anything *higher* than that, I'd likely give it a try...

Gravatar Image3 - I'm with you. I've been using ear plugs at work for years, and am going to start using them at home now as well. My wife likes to unwind in the evenings with various murder-and-mayhem shows (CSI, Law & Order, etc, and when I'm working in the home office in the next room it's as distracting as the over-the-cubicle-wall chatter at work. (Or fingernail-clipping -- ugh...)

I had the same problem with coworkers trying to talk to me when I'm wearing the ear plugs, and they get used to knocking on the desk or whatever. Not very different from the people who work with ear buds or headphones. A colleague has a rear-view mirror on his terminal to see when people walk up behind him, but I haven't taken that step yet.

Gravatar Image4 - I can *so* relate, Jen. :)

Gravatar Image5 - Hhhm, Peyton wears full blown ear guards in the office, the sort they wear when cutting down trees. Was very aggrevating when we shared an office. I would be talking to him thinking he was listening, and he never heard a word.

Gravatar Image6 - I was searching the web to see if anyone wore ear plugs in the office and I found this post. I'm a musician and I always wear ear plugs at shows, but I've been thinking about wearing them at the office as well. See, this woman in the cubicle behind me is always sucking on hard candy and making these loud smacking sounds. It's really disgusting and it makes me cringe. I can't stand obnoxious little noises like that. They're very distracting while I'm trying to work.

Thanks for your post, I'm going to bring in a pair of ear plugs tomorrow.

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