(Disclaimer: I'm a product manager at Bose, although I don't currently work on headphones). Also check out the Bose QC30, which are the wireless earbuds with noise canceling -- they include a feature that lets you turn the amount of noise canceling up and down, from 100% down to "fully transparent" (sounds like there's not buds blocking your ears), which is good for noisy work environments -- and they hang more comfortably around your neck when not in use. Also the QC20 wired noise-cancelling earbuds, which fit the most easily in a pocket out of any of these. (And you'd be surprised -- for most people, the noise ca… See more
+100. I don't work in any open office environment without these.
This might not be what you look for but sometimes when I wanna get rid of noise I plug in more noise but the ones I like or helps me to focus with my in-ear headphones (minimises background hubbub).
I use Noisli as ambient sound generator to cut me from the surrounding noise.
Very difficult to express "why" this works as the brain itself is not fully understood. Hopefully the fact that I became a lifetime member will be enough to compel you to have a look/listen. I stream Brain.fm through Chrome on my Android device. However, they do have an iPhone app. Brain.fm plus the Bose headphones above. Problem solved. Though I'm very curious now about Shawn's recommendation as well.
This is great for focus and staying motivated, at least for me. It's either this or a heavy dose of trance music.
I was skeptical of Brain.fm at first. In my experience, their "Sleep" mode doesn't help me, but "Focus" and their "Meditate" functions are amazing. "Focus" gives you a jolt. And sure, it may all be placebo, but as a fan of ambient music, it isn't bad ambient music.
I love this ambient noise generator, which @shootbydaylight intro'd me to. You can choose among the default free ones, including Morning Murmur, Lunchtime Lounge, and, my favorite, 'University undertones' (which feels exactly like being in a college library). You can also pay to upgrade for sounds like a Paris bistro and 'Texas Teahouse'... whatever that is!
An awesome little app by the makers of RjDj that filters the noises around you. You just connect your headphones, select one of the filters, and you're good to go. The "office" filter takes out all of the harsh sounds of the work environment and changes them into harmonics so you can concentrate. Highly recommend.