I want to block the distraction of my colleagues' conversations. I tried different ear plugs, but none of them filtered out speech enough for me. Reading into earmuffs online, I read that ear protection is generally optimized to filter high and low frequencies while at the same time leaving the frequency ranges for speech untouched. For instance the high end 3M Peltor Optime III Premium is advertised as follows:
This results in maximum high-frequency muffling, while at the same time it is easy to understand speech and signals.
This makes sense on a construction site, where hearing your boss's or colleague's shout can save your life. But this is not a problem in open plan offices. So what is the solution to blocking out the room noise and conversations in an open office environment?