Phoney Baloney
January 17, 2014 12:20 PM   Subscribe

Is there a device of some kind that will allow me to listen to music on my ear buds and still hear my desk telephone ringing?

I work in an office environment where people are exceptionally loud. That's being generous. It is so loud, in fact, that there are moments when I want to be able to slip in my ear buds and listen to my own music or even white noise instead of the incessant, mindless chatter. Headphones or ear buds are prohibited in my office, though, as they would allegedly prevent me from being able to hear my desk telephone ring. I've done it in the past and even though I could clearly hear my phone ringing and did answer it, I was reprimanded for doing so.

Is there some sort of device or adapter that I could connect to my standard issue desk telephone that would allow me to both listen to my music *and* hear the telephone ring should a call come in?

I've tried searching Google and am coming up empty, short of something like a Plantronics headset which doesn't really allow me to do what I want to do.
posted by BrianJ to Technology (11 answers total)
Best answer: Have you considered a flashing light, like a Deaf person might use?

Something along the lines of this?
posted by hanov3r at 12:22 PM on January 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: What if you went with a flashing light when your phone rang instead? That would be hard to ignore and it is meant for the hearing impared. Some of them also make extra loud ringing (which your co-workers would NOT appreciate) so try to find one with just the light.

On Preview : DAMN YOU hanov3r! ha ha
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 12:23 PM on January 17, 2014

Best answer: Peltors, maybe?
posted by Etrigan at 12:26 PM on January 17, 2014

Response by poster: I don't want to threadsit, but I did want to respond to your suggestions, hanov3r and PuppetMcSockerson.

The ridiculous thing about this situation is that all of our phones have giant red LEDs built into them, so they do flash when the phone rings. That isn't satisfactory for the powers that be here.

Good idea, though! Thanks.
posted by BrianJ at 12:26 PM on January 17, 2014

Best answer: I hear you (ha), but maybe putting a flashing strobe light directly under your computer monitor (which would be extremely hard to not notice) would be enough for the powers that be. I'd at least ask them about it. They aren't expensive so maybe buying one and demonstrating it for them would be enough to convince them.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 12:32 PM on January 17, 2014

Best answer: I use a Plantronics wireless headset that is linked to both my desk phone and my computer. I can listen to music, or whatever, through the computer, and if the phone rings, the ringing comes through the headset as well. You can sync it to a bluetooth device, so your cell phone can also come through the headset, but I have not tried that.
posted by blurker at 12:44 PM on January 17, 2014

Can you forward your desk line to your cell phone, and then listen to music on your phone?
posted by Jairus at 1:00 PM on January 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Can you use a one-ear earbud? I find that's all I need to refocus in a loud office environment.
posted by samthemander at 1:50 PM on January 17, 2014

Best answer: You would still have to wear headphones, but the Fuser SoundMixer uses a microphone to mix ambient noise (like coworkers, and phones ringing) with the music you're listening to. It's right there in the blurb, which might help convince your managers.

If your managers' concern is actually that wearing headphones at work gives the impression that you're not engaged with the workplace or not working, perhaps suggest playing your music or white noise aloud? One of my coworkers has the radio playing on his desk all day at such a low volume that all I can make out is the fanfare that signals the start of the hourly news. He finds it helps him focus, and it doesn't disrupt anyone else.
posted by escapepod at 7:44 PM on January 17, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. When I head into the office tomorrow, I'm going to meet with my supervisor and see if any of these will be to her satisfaction. The lights suggested by hanov3r and PuppetMcSockerson and the Fuser SoundMixer that escapepod mentioned seem like they might be one of my best bets. That Plantronics headset that blurker recommended is just awesome, but I'd have to pay for this myself and there's just no way I can swing that.

Unfortunately, I can't forward my desk phone to my cell, Jairus. I've actually suggested that in the past and they've shot me down. Thanks for the suggestion, though. :-)
posted by BrianJ at 12:11 PM on January 20, 2014

Like samthemander said, a single-ear earbud would be a good solution. A company called ScanSound sells a model that combines left and right stereo channels into the single earbud (personal suggestion, buy the original model or heavy-duty cord version, not the Pro Gold - the Pro Gold's driver just sounded really weird). I have purchased quite a few over the past two years (the cord on the original model is very thin and can become rigid and break after a few months, but it's a fairly cheap item and worth re-buying).
posted by deusdiabolus at 9:10 PM on May 27, 2014

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