A recently hired co-worker has the habit of almost constantly discussing everything no matter how important or trivial the subject is and that is no problem for me but his rather loud voice is my problem with him. My desk is located rather close to said co-worker, and the loud talking voice is wearing on me. I have tried to separate my desk to minimize the effect but to no avail.

This is not about someone who makes loud weird unrecognizable voices, it's about someone who discusses and talks in a very loud voice.

I am considering politely pointing out that the loud voice is annoying to me (and I suspect others).


  • is your CW hearing impaired? Commented May 24, 2017 at 14:36
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    @ChristopherEstep While similar, I don't think they're quite the same. The question you link is about a coworker who makes lots of unconscious "idle" noises. This question is about someone who talks loudly. I think the situations are different enough to warrant a new question.
    – David K
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 14:42
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    @DavidK There are a ridiculous number of questions on this. Searching on just "loud" reveals plenty of questions that can give suggestions for dealing with a loud coworker. I'm not linking them all.
    – Chris E
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 14:47
  • @ChristopherEstep I searched and I didn't find any, all other questions were about coworkers making weird noises but this is not the case here.
    – eManna
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 14:50
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    @ChristopherEstep I see loud and unprofessional, loud and bossy, loud meetings, and loud conversations. The last is the only one I think could be a dupe. It's marked as a dupe of yours, though I don't think it should be.
    – David K
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 15:02

2 Answers 2


You could simply go to him and politely tell him he has a strong voice which sometimes breaks your focus so you would really appreciate it if he could compensate his strong voice by speaking less loudly.


Technology may save the day. Personally I use sound-isolating headphones and FM radio or online music, as well as so many programmers (so I do not care if anybody sees it as passive aggressive). I'd say let bygones be bygones. Guy might be offended, forget, ignore your comment or just be incapable to stay quiet. Note that good ones cost $$$, and frugal person, like me, might end paying twice. Yet I see it as a fair price for the comfort. A drawback of headphones is that you might miss a manager sneaking behind, and seeing you complaining on work condition in social media, so will have to stop it.

I have seen people who use earplugs, yet I never dared something so radical myself, being afraid to look uncool / passive-aggressive so cannot comment how efficient are those

Some innovative and sometimes non-orthodox noise reduction ideas are floating around. One of startups, HushMe fights noise at the source with a special mask. It, regretfully, only reduces noise about 50%. Still, if you want make a joke just say want to see something funny gadget, yet the solution is a bit premature, headphones or telling straight might be safer bet. But let's not give up hope for improved technologies.

UPDATE. Just found potentially cheaper solution: create noise yourself, preferably white one, to hum the unpleasant co-worker noises. White noise devices or apps are quite inexpensive. I found this solution at a list of noise reduction solutions at https://snapcab.com/pods/escaping-the-noise-of-open-workspaces. ( I am not affiliated with any producers of dividers, white noise, or snapcab webmaster, swear) . Possible drawback - white noise is know to induce sleep, not sure is there such thing as upbeat white noise. Some doctors are worried that true white noise might be harmful, up to cause premature brain aging due to lack of structure https://gizmodo.com/study-claims-white-noise-can-damage-your-brain-but-don-1828804061. You get what you are paying a milder noise, such as pink one might be a better solution.

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    Unless you gift this to a good friend as a joke I think this can be taken realy poorly by the coworker.
    – Rolexel
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 14:41
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    @AlexandreAudin - agreed. It would be taken as passive-aggressive, which it absolutely is. I think a non-confrontational direct approach would be less fraught with dramatic peril.... which, I now see, you suggested in your own answer. Commented May 24, 2017 at 15:39
  • How are any of these solutions better than just telling the guy to be quieter? Commented May 24, 2017 at 16:00
  • Headphones would not create discomfort for the loud employee. Talking directly might work depending well if topic started can ask him in friendly manner, otherwise the new employee might become enemy. Topic poster, as a technical person might doubt his communication skills or fears a conflict. What if new employee promises to be quiet and forget tomorrow? Fancy gadget discussions might be a way to defuse situation (or aggravate - up to reader to take the risk or not).
    – S15
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 16:07
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    I wasted a hunderd on Senhaiser 598 Closed Back, yet they would not isolate me completely, so I upgraded to Beyerdynamics 770 32Ohm (32 means that they might work without dedicated amplifier, 16Ohm are fine fine with any phone or mp3 player), which resolved any noise issues. They even hush a bit loud construction workers and protesters outside. I have see once somebody using orange ear plugs in the office, yet I it too risky, with headphones people might think your are just slightly eccentric audiophile
    – S15
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 17:24

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