With my iPhone as my default MP3 player, it’s a handy tool to drown out other noises and focus on my work. However, there are situations where listening to music isn’t all that effective at blocking out other sounds and The Sound Guy has come to the rescue for those times with the release of ChatterBlocker for the iPhone, an app that masks the noise of conversations around you with background chatter and nature sounds.
Cubicle dwellers often have trouble hearing themselves think when surrounded by irrelevant conversations,” said Earl Vickers, CEO of The Sound Guy, Inc. “ChatterBlocker minimizes the intelligibility of nearby speech in a way that is more effective and less distracting than listening to music.”
ChatterBlocker presents you with several preset sound mixes on the main tab of voice and nature sounds and both combined. The Voices tab lets you select from voice chatter sounds, offering low, medium, and high pitch levels for male and female voices. The third tab offers nature sounds only like rain, birdsong and wind. You can also create your own mixes from the sounds provided.
The voice sounds offered are unintelligible chatter, as if you were standing near a crowd of people talking but not close enough to be able to hear exactly what they’re saying. The Sound Guy claims that these types of sounds can reduce the intelligibility of conversations near you, allowing you to ignore them more easily to focus on whatever you’re doing. In my brief tests with ChatterBlocker at a busy coffee shop, selecting the appropriate voice types of those closest to me and the nature sounds I preferred, I found this to work as claimed for the most part.
The Sound Guy has created a video overview of ChatterBlocker for the iPhone:
ChatterBlocker has been around for several years for both Windows and Mac and these desktop versions offer additional features not available in the iPhone version, such as the ability to use your own music files. However, having ChatterBlocker on your iPhone can be much more convenient, particularly if you’re reading or performing some other activity where you’re not using your computer but still want to block out conversations around you.
ChatterBlocker debuted in the App Store earlier this week and costs $2.99. It’s compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and requires iOS 4.3 or higher.