Shut Up and Listen to the Music
My work environment has many acoustic disturbances: phones ringing, people talking, a radio station shuffling through the same 100 songs, sometimes even machines rattling. To listen to music I'm using good old "over the ears" headphones. They passively cancel out some noise, I had considered to get active noise canceling, but from what I hear, they won't do much good with things like the radio whining on. So instead I listened to my friend saad and got Shure e2c in-ear headphones. Haven't tried them at work yet, but they worked wonders on the plane back from Munich...
The problem with plane's in general is that they are noisy in itself, they are filled with noisy people, and there is a law that every plane gets issued at least one crying infant. Oh, and you are forbidden to complain about the infant, else the "mothers of the earth united league" will threaten to kill you. The problem with this particular flight was that it was taking off at 7 AM, which means I got up at 3 AM. I believe this flight time is proof that Lufthansa is very lax on drug testing their employees. I was in the land between being awake and asleep during all of the flight.
I'm not going to complain any more about this flight (or infants) though. I slumbered almost through all the flight. I inserted the headphones the moment electronic devices were allowed after take off and took them out when I had to stop the iPod before landing. I listened to 2 1/2 albums and really heard the music. In the process I even heard new stuff in the music, details that I hadn't heard before, even though I know some of the stuff I listened to since a long time. I was able to hear the music at low volume too, which is what allowed me to slumber in the first place.
I hear that the problem with in-ear headphones is finding the right plugs for your ears. The e2c box contained 3 kinds of plugs, in 3 sizes each. I found some that seem to work for me (and it took me some time to figure out how the earphones go into the ear, I mean wouldn't marking "right" and "left" be kind of have been obvious?) Whatever, I have my system now.
In case you try out these headphones now and they suxx for you, please complain to saad - he's the guy that made me do this! In fact it's strange how lately I'm doing what people tell me to do... I got a camera so wildweasel stops whining, saad tells me to get earphones so I go out and buy some... Also Shure doesn't sell the E2C model any more, they've been replaced with something more expensive, I've got mine from Amazon where they still had some old stock apparently.