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Do these earbuds work?

I noticed that someone purchased these noise-canceling earbuds through the site (thanks, btw!), and am just wondering: do they work?

I have a neighbor who is enamored of his leaf-blower. His leaf blower is his morning and evening prayer; his lauds and vespers. His leaf blower means morning and after-supper coffee cannot be enjoyed outside.

Given his attachment to the thing, I don’t know how he has any hearing left, but these earbuds may save my already-damaged hearing, and give me a blessed reprieve from this guy, in the bargain. Recently he seems to have either purchased a new blower or enhanced his old one; now the thing not only whirrs at a million decibels but it emits a high-pitched scream that penetrates through everything, even our old, loud window-fitting AC, and there is no escape.

In the morning it’s like being awakened by a buzz-saw, announced with a tin-whistle and a piccolo, combined. One is jolted from sleep with a sense that the skull is being ripped open.

Lately this neighbor has been working half-days. He comes home from work, has his lunch and the leaf-blower comes out again (I once saw him on his roof, using it to clean out gutters). This means I can’t work with my windows open, until he has dried his sidewalks or dusted his curb to his satisfaction. Then we get a reprieve until about 5-6 PM.

I know what you’re thinking: you’re saying, “why don’t you just politely ask the neighbor to limit his leaf-blowing?” Sensible question. Another neighbor–the friendliest lady on the block–did just that. Apparently this offended him, and he’s been blowing double-time, ever since.

I’m afraid to so much as look at the guy while he’s blowing, for fear that if he misinterprets my gaze, he will never stop.

Leaf blowers: American genius gone haywire. Gone are the days of slightly imperfect yards, and piled leaves for kids to jump in, and neighbors happy to put down the rakes to have a chat or some iced tea. Now every other house has a leaf-blower (or a hired gun who comes in once a week) and everyone is blowing their dust into the street, so the cars can push it back. The noise prohibits chat, and the kids are all indoors anyway, playing video games.

But simpler days are coming, I think. Ready or not.

Meanwhile, if anyone has used these buds, I’d love to hear what you think of them!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • suzyq

    Sorry, don’t know if those work.
    Why do guys like toys that make noise?

  • http://toomuchglass.net mgarbowski

    I have used the Shure brand version of these for a couple of years now (Shure uses the term “Sound Isolating” – just search Amazon to find a bunch). I use them on the subway during my daily commute and it really works; I can play music on my iPod at a lower volume than with regular earbuds and hear better because the subway noise is shut out. The downside is they can work oto well. I rarely hear announcements, and somebody who says “excuse me” from behind will have to poke me to get my attention.

  • http://!!!! kelleybee

    I would love to know if these work as well. I have 50% hearing and carry ear plugs to protect my remaining hearing when I am in high noise situations. I hate the ear plugs, but the ear bud looks cute…I could handle that. Looks like the set it small enough to carry in a purse.

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    Perhaps asking him again.

    And again.

    And again.

    Politely, of course.

    Perhaps a written missive saying, “Hey, you’re a reasonable and decent guy, but you are acting like a jerk in this instance. Usage of your exceedingly loud leaf-blower is excessive and unreasonable. It is destroying the quiet enjoyment of others in the neighborhood. A more reasonable and acceptable usage would be once a week at a decent (late morning) hour. Please limit your usage of a leaf-blower accordingly. If you must remove leaves and debris more frequently, please use a rake, which can be used quietly and without destroying the peace of your neighbors. Thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.”

    Leave such a note in his door. And then leave it again. And again. And again.

    He can hardly be more obnoxious than he is now. But after receiving these polite requests a couple dozen times, he just might get the message and get worn down and give in.

  • dancingcrane

    If he is a public nuisance with his overuse of the machine, then it’s a matter for the police, just as a raucous party would be. If he responds to requests by blowing double, then he is being immature or malicious.

    You have to be loving, but you have to address this.

  • amanda

    I have worked in the audiology/hearing loss field for 5 years and my experience is yes, they work. You just have to remember that they aren’t smart enough to know what sounds you want to hear and what sounds you don’t. Any sounds not coming through your electronic device will be quieted but may not be removed completely. You might do better with good old foam ear plugs.

    I’m sorry your neighbor is on a little power kick. I’ll pray for him.

  • Roz Smith

    I recommending keeping a log and making recordings, then calling the cops.

    It’s unfortunate but there are people who are gold plated jerks. I have a neighbor well past retirement age who acted like a naughty 13 year old boy. He’s a summer resident. Firecrackers are illegal here and where he lives but we are near the border with a state where they are legal. He would set some off almost every night, sometimes as late as 10 pm. It went on for several weeks. People nicely mantioned it was long past the Fourth of July, that their children had a school bus to catch before 6:30 AM or that it terrified their pets and livestock. He didn’t get any of the hints. If anything, it was getting worse. I finally called the sheriff when a long string went off after 10:30 at night.

    They stopped, but a few weeks later when he and his wife were packing up to drive back home he set off another long string just before they drove off.

  • Mr. Graves

    Good grief. How is it possible to have so many fallen leaves — in June! — that you need to use a leaf blower multiple times per day?

    [It goes on all year long; I suspect the man has a compulsion -admin]

  • Brenda

    Before blowing a lot of cash on those (they look good btw) try putting down about $15 on a pair of Skull Candy Headphones; available at Target.

    I use them when I am on the mower and I can hear decently well without cranking the tunes. I’ve also been known to have the tar frightened out of me by using them while sewing. I cannot hear people yelling at me with them on.

    They must work well, the men in my household have a habit of taking them. That was, until I bought my last pair of Skull Candy headphones in pink.

  • mgl

    My friend has a pair of these (the 22s) and I have a pair of the newer 33s. At first I was disappointed by the noise isolation, but with experience I have come to depend on them. I have worn them in sheet-metal shops, in small aircraft, in my office, while driving, and on the bus. They do not eliminate sound completely, but they do remove background hiss, take the edge off percussive sounds (like heavy sheet-metal punches), and eliminate a good portion of engine noise. The 22s have a little more hiss than the 33s.

    They are also not great in windy outdoor environments, but you can always turn the noise-cancelling off.

  • BB.

    I have found “Mac’s” earplugs to work well. They are clear plastic putty like things that really block out sound. They’re very inexpensive, and can be found at most drugstores, and some grocery stores. Good luck with the neighbor!

  • http://roadnotchosen.com Lori

    Does your city have a noise ordinance? If so, maybe his leaf blower exceeds it and you can get some peace that way. In my town you can call in anonymously for complaints like that.

  • http://runswithangels.wordpress.com/ Whoever I Am Today

    It seems like just 6 months since we last hashed through all this here…

    Are there no noise ordinances or nuisance laws where you live?

  • http://dailywoof.wordpress.com Kensington

    Ugh, heaven help me, the building next door to mine employs a fellow who comes out every day and blasts a leaf blower.

    This is Brooklyn, mind you. There are no lawns, and only a few trees. We do not have a leaf problem.

    Furthermore, it goes on year-round. It happens when there is snow on the ground. I don’t understand what this man is blowing!

    Fortunately, it only lasts a few minutes, but those few minutes can be soooooo aggravating.

  • Stuart

    I feel your pain. There is a “challenged” fellow that mows the lawn directly behind me and next door. I work nights and he starts mowing at 06:30 am. He often stops to take a break (I think he gets paid by the hour) and leaves the mower running directly behind my bedroom window—about 15 feet away. When he mows next door he does the same thing; He stops and leaves the mower running about 6 ft from my side window. No matter where he is in his progress he walks the running mower back right outside my window to smoke and take his break. Last week he took three hours to mow the fence line behind me, often walking the mower up to the spot behind my window to take a break. It makes no sense at all that he does this but he does. I’ve spoken with him (with obvious anger) but he just doesn’t get it. I assume it is God teaching me patience and kindness.

  • Randomizer

    I agree with the noise ordinance idea. In the suburbs around here (Ohio), the law is written such that it is technically illegal to mow your lawn. The sound level permissible at the property line is low enough that mowing the boundary would exceed the limit. I can loan you my decibel meter if you want to get all legal on him.

  • J

    Drugstore – earplugs rated at 33 plus, gun ear muffs on top. I’m a sight to behold when my own family’s noise starts to get to me.
    Dukakis looked better with the earmuffs and tank.


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