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Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Block Noise In a Dorm? 561

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-it-down dept.
First time accepted submitter zmitch32 writes "I live in a dorm, and I have ADHD, so every little noise distracts me. I know this annoyance isn't limited to those with ADHD, so how does everyone else block out the noise? I can't really cover my walls in soundproof foam because I live in a dorm. I can't just listen to music because I find it too interesting and just end up getting distracted by it. I use ear plugs to block out small noises, but they don't block out human voices very well at all. What do you guys/gals recommend?"
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Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Block Noise In a Dorm?

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  • White Noise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dintech (998802) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:00PM (#43177629)
    Use headphones with whitenoise. Something like a waterfall []
  • EAR PLUGS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iCEBaLM (34905) <icebalm@i c e b a l m .com> on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:01PM (#43177649)


  • by CyberSnyder (8122) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:06PM (#43177713)

    I don't think it's possible to block all the noise in a dorm unless you have designated quiet dorms.

  • REAL earplugs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RedLeg (22564) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:09PM (#43177745) Journal
    I'm guessing you've tried the cheapass foam plugs....

    First (cheapest) option is to look for triple-flange earplugs. Look at a sporting goods store in the firearms department.

    If that doesn't work for you, look into getting custom molded plugs made. I have a set from my time as a competitive shooter, and when they are in, and correctly seated, I cannot hear ANYTHING, even though I can feel the noise in many cases. For voices and random dorm noise, that should be sufficient.

    Another option is a set of noise canceling headphones. Just don't feed them any input and they will still reduce ambient noise. I would recommend you borrow a set from a friend before investing, as the best are "over the ear" types, and they tend to create a sensation of pressure in your ears. Some folks find that uncomfortable.

    Hope this helps......

    Red (retired Field Artillery Officer)

  • by Random2 (1412773) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:09PM (#43177747) Journal
    Listen to a set of music until it's nearly worn-out, and use that as your noise-cancellation. For example, I have a set of ~700 songs that I've listened to almost daily for the last 5 years and I now know most of them down to the chord progressions. They've become so familiar that, while I still enjoy them, there's nothing 'new' there to distract me from work. This counts double for strictly instrumental songs, they provide even less distraction by lacking words to interpret and grab attention.

    I imagine there'll be recommendations for things like noise cancelling headphones and such but I find they tend to make it worse; largely because they leave my mind too idle and I start looking around and get distracted again. Having the 'white noise music' keeps the wandering parts of my mind occupied so the rest of it can focus on the task at hand.
  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:16PM (#43177849) Homepage Journal

    That's right... foam is like McBain's safety goggles against a river of acid... they do nothingggg

    The foam inside recording studios is there to reduce echo inside the room, not block sound transmission to the outside. The only thing that blocks sound transmission is MASS. A one-inch thick concrete wall will block hell of a lot more noise than a one-inch thick foam wall.

  • Re:White Noise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Immerman (2627577) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:49PM (#43178151)

    Seconded, but without the headphones. I hate to be cut off from my acoustic environment even more than I dislike the constant distraction, so I've got an old mp3 player and a set of PC speakers that play nature sounds pretty much 24-7 (looping one track which I change to suit my mood and ambient noise). Amazon has a pretty good selection though there's a fair amount of crap mixed in. Just search their mp3s for the desired type and sort longest-first to find many hour-plus recordings. Much shorter than that and I find after a while I start to memorize the patterns after a few months and the illusion is broken. Water is a good one - waterfalls, creeks, or waves. I found waves on a gravel beach (whooshing rather than thrumming or hissing against rocks or sand) particularly good for masking traffic and fan noise. Wind, rain, and fire can all be nice as well, I'm building a collection of several of each as I find particularly pleasing ones.

    Birdsong is also good, tends to ease stress (tells your subconscious that there's no predators nearby), but you need to find the right one. I found Kid in the Forest provided a wonderfully deep sound-scape and avoided the cacophony that plagues many recordings. The closest I've found to sitting in the woods while still being indoors.

    I've also developed a fondness for foreign-language music - you get a flow of human voice which most people find soothing and which nicely drowns out half-heard conversations, but it's completely incomprehensible so your mind doesn't latch on to it. And unlike classical and other dedicated instrumental compositions the music itself tends to be relatively simplistic and uninteresting as well.

  • by shoemilk (1008173) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:58PM (#43178255) Journal
    Buy this and move are the only things people have been suggesting. One guy did have interesting advice about the somatic voice processing center of the brain, but I can't believe not a single person has suggested that you leave your room, walk across campus and go to the freaking library. Need a computer? There are computer labs everywhere, too. Seriously, I thought this was one of the worst ask slasdots and expected half the answers to be "Go to the f-ing library". But no one?! let me say it then.

  • by gman003 (1693318) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @10:13PM (#43178857)

    Suggestion for music: video game soundtracks. It's generally designed to be undistracting, and something you can listen to over and over again.

    Best place to start would probably be PS1/N64 games. Too limited for any significant vocals (out of the 993 songs I have from that generation, only five have vocals, and two of them are in Latin), but tends to be more cinematic and slow than the often fast-paced, baroque stuff of earlier consoles. Plus, if you're in a college dorm now, you likely grew up playing those games, so you get some nostalgia.

  • by sortius_nod (1080919) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @10:37PM (#43179031) Homepage

    Is the person who did this Ask Slashdot fucking serious?

    This part of Slashdot is becoming a joke. Buy some ear plugs & learn to fucking google.

  • by paxprobellum (2521464) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @11:48PM (#43179451)
    If I had mod points, this is where I'd spend them. If this question is serious, the OP needs to get out more.
  • LIBRARY (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @11:56PM (#43179509) Homepage

    I mean come on.. how hard is it to find a quiet place deep in the fucking stacks?

  • by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Friday March 15, 2013 @01:30AM (#43179915)
    It helps to plug them into a sound producing source playing the aforementioned Pink Floyd and Phish, or something to your taste. Alternatively, regular speakers playing Wayne Newton or Lawrence Welk will empty your room and leave you in peace (once you build up immunity.) Also joining in the aforementioned bong hits will help also. It IS college.
  • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Friday March 15, 2013 @05:06AM (#43180559)

    Yes. Good pair of head phones I can close my eyes and be where my music is.

    Or you know, go to the library and not sit next to the freaks doing bong hits.

    What do I recommend?

    1) Good drugs. Yes ADHD drugs are over prescribed to 5 year olds acting like 5 year olds but if you have a legitimate need for them they help. It's like asking "Hey Slashdot. I have cancer I don't like drugs because of xyz. What do you recommend for cancer?". Work with your doctor to find what works. I'm on Welbutrin which is an SSRI not a *Meth*

    2) Go to the library. Do you work somewhere where it is quiet.

    3) Why can't you cover your walls in foam? Go to the big box store and get 2-3" blue or pink plastic insulation and just put it up. Use double sided tape. No one says you have to tail things to the wall.

When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane, the plane will fly. -- Donald Douglas