In which noise canceling headphones do not cancel annoying noise

So, I have an Altec Lansing headset microphone I bought ridiculously cheap a few years ago for a spare. In addition to a noise canceling microphone, it’s supposed to have noise canceling headphones. And perhaps it does; it covers both my ears pretty heavily, and I seem to focus more on my voice when I dictate. Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t do a damn thing for the bass of my neighbor’s music 8 hours a day. I really hate wearing earplugs. Oh well, if I can eventually afford a USB soundcard with both a microphone and headphone jack, maybe I’ll just have to play my own music through my ears when I dictate — but I don’t like listening to music when I dictate. Can’t win. But it could be worse.

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6 Responses to In which noise canceling headphones do not cancel annoying noise

  1. Elisabeth says:

    My sister find that nature sounds or natural white noise, like flowing water or waves on beach, provide a neutral background that lets her concentrate. of course, if you’re feeling the base as well as hearing it that might not be as useful, but might be worth a try. Good luck!

    I, too, hate earplugs and am so, so grateful we moved away from an environment where I needed them very often. I still do on occasion if I’m trying to fall asleep. Out of curiosity, what type do you use? I found that silicone is the most effective, although sometimes difficult to apply if my hands are stiff (not to mention occasionally getting tangled in my hair).

  2. hand2mouth says:

    Yeah — usually I try to tune out as much as I can, but it’s hard to do that when the pain is really bad. Right now my white noise is the air conditioner, which is right next to the computer; Dragon doesn’t mind it, surprisingly. I use the foam earplugs usually; it seems like they keep out the sound more. The silicone earplugs are less painful, but tend to feel a little weird — I hear my breathing more, which distracts me. Also, though my hair is very short, they do tend to stick. Glad you’re somewhere quiet — I remember reading that you’d moved.

  3. Could be worse.

    I don’t use speech recognition software (as a deaf person whose speech is, although good, still not quite perfect, I’m not sure whether I even could effectively). But I’ve read on-line anecdotes from others who do. Apparently one woman has a neighbor who, like your neighbor, likes to play sound at a very loud volume. Except, not music–porn. Apparently it is played so loud that her speech recognition software ends up transcribing the porn film instead of what she is trying to dictate to it.

    As a deaf person, I can turn my hearing aid off if a sound annoys me (I had to do that today, in fact, when someone’s very adorable but also very loud 15-month child was visiting the office). But I can see where that would be, not only not possible (!) in your case, but also unhelpful even if you could. Wish I had actual advice to offer.

  4. hand2mouth says:

    Wow. Have to say I haven’t heard that one before. I feel for the friend. Could be worse, indeed!

    I can dictate reasonably well with my ear plugged, though it takes some focus; it’s just the feeling of the earplug that bothers me occasionally. Puts pressure in my head, or something. But I think I prefer that to the loud music. Some kinds of sound make me want to leap out of my skin, especially if they make my ear ring more. When my body is already hurting, I want to leap higher.

    Dragon 10 reinstated a feature that’s supposed to train for “nonstandard” voices; I don’t know if that would be of use to you if you got a chance to try it.
    Thanks for the thought. 🙂

  5. caingel says:

    So, I’m curious–does the bass come out in your speech recognition? Or does it just (!) drive you crazy. (My neighbor is a drummer…sigh).

  6. hand2mouth says:

    Well, the bass does definitely bother me. As far as what it does to Dragon — if it’s bad enough, Dragon will occasionally transcribe a drumbeat as “him” or “the” mid speech. But otherwise, I might only get the notorious ??? every now and then when I pause for a breath or a thought. As long as I’m speaking, though, Dragon usually still works, albeit maybe a little more slowly or less accurately than it does when it’s quiet. I think my computer is parallel to the noise, which might make it worse; if I touch the wall on the other side of the room I can feel the vibration directly. But it would be a lot worse if my computer were against the same wall. Small favors.

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