Modern, open-office environments can be distracting. Even home users may have to contend with traffic noise, TV, and the kids kicking up a fuss. ChatterBlocker is an interesting approach to the problem of invasive noise. It fights fire with fire. Or, more accurately, it fights the hustle and bustle of the office with gentle nature noises, musical loops and human voice samples.
The full version is bundled with 11 preset soundscapes. It’s incredibly easy to use – you just install it, select a preset and press the play button. Choose from several mixes of music, nature sounds and speech. If none of the prefabricated mixes float your boat, just hit the Advanced button instead. This is where the software comes into its own.
In Advanced mode there are three columns covering, once again, nature, music, and human voices. You can select any combination of these three, choosing multiple entries from the same column with a C-click. We quickly arrived at a soothing mix of rain noise and airy chords to block out passing trains and next door’s techno.
We admit that we were a little sceptical about this software before we tried it. Used to silence in our office, we assumed that any background noise would be distracting. After a while of using the tool though, you notice that the sounds ChatterBlocker generates fade into the background. There’s a secondary benefit the developers don’t mention. If you suffer from tinnitus – which is hearing persistent noise due to hearing damage – ChatterBlocker might help. The software’s also ideal for meditation or other exercises that require gentle concentration, like Yoga or Tai Chi – and much more cost-effective than buying CDs full of tinkly chimes and pan-pipes.
ChatterBlocker might not be to everyone’s taste, but we consider it a great find with applications beyond those modestly cited by its developers.