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How to tone down noise in the office?

If noise is bothering you in the office, try to eliminate or reduce it at its source – ask your neighbor to use headphones when listening to the radio, for example. You can also try ergonomic measures.

1. Ask your office manager if it is possible to carpet hard floors and install acoustic-tile ceilings to absorb sound.

2. If printers and facsimile machines are loud, find out if acoustical enclosures can be placed over them.

3. If your office is separated from a noisy neighbor by a waist-high partition, ask for a taller partition, which will block or absorb more sound. Higher walls also provide a greater amount of privacy.

4. Tack memos and mementos on hard wall panels instead of soft office partitions, where they interfere with sound absorption.

5. If the problem is ringing phones, ask co-workers to lower the signal volume on their phones.

6. Place your own phone near a soft partition, which will better absorb the sound.

7. Try listening to soothing music on a tape player with headphones.

8. Invest in a white-noise machine, which will help cover distracting sounds.