Quiet-List 1997

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Noisebuster Extreme

Noise Cancellation Technologies, Inc., has been kind enough to provide me 
with an evaluation copy of their "Noisebuster Extreme" headset. I know Eric 
has used it, because I first learned about it from the CCAN newsletter, but 
it may be new to the rest of you.

This is a nifty little device that consists of a battery pack a little 
smaller than a cassette tape, and a pair of lightweight headphones. It is 
actually (and ironically, I'm sure, to some of us) intended to be used in 
conjunction with a personal stereo, but you can use it by itself.

It works by reading the ambient noise and producing a sound wave that 
effectively cancels much of the low-frequency sound. They claim a reduction 
of up to 15 dB. It doesn't have much effect on speech or other 
variable-pitch sound (as I write this, the sirens are coming in loud and 
clear), but it is actually quite amazing with things like traffic and the 
fan noise in my computer. Not as effective as a good pair of industrial 
earmuffs, but a lot more comfortable, and of course you will blend in with 
the herd wearing them outdoors!

After I've had a chance to use it a bit more, I'll write a fuller review 
for the R2Q website. Meanwhile you can check out NCT's website at 

And on the subject of earmuffs, a warning. I recently did a little shopping 
and discovered that the "safety earmuffs" being sold at most hardware 
stores offer very little protection, consisting of just a thin plastic 
shell with a cosmetic insert of foam packing material. The good ones (and I 
got an excellent pair for $18) have thick, dense foam linings, and provide 
ratings for sound reduction at various frequencies on the packaging.

Peter Donnelly
Right to Quiet Society

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