iPad dark noise

Noise Cancelling Headphones x White Noise

In Praise of Noise Cancelling Headphones: REVIEW of Bose 700 NC Headphones and “Dark Noise” app on iPhone/iPad:

After extreme poor sleep at my new house (tons of street noise), I tried all these solutions, and discovered this insanely beautiful solution:

Sleep with eye mask on, with earplugs in, with noise-cancelling headphones on top.

I first tried the Bose QC 35 Mark II, and thought it to be great. Then wanting to USB-C everything, I returned it and got some Bose 700 NC headphones, and wow … these are the real deal:

How I use it:

I keep my iPad in a separate room, and have the Bose headphones linked to my iPad. I keep the ‘Dark Noise’ app open, and when I am ready to sleep, I put on my eye mask, insert my earplugs (‘Hearos’ brand), then put my Bose 700 NC headphones on top of it [I then tap the right ear cup twice to activate the Spaceship Engine noise]. This way, I am literally able to block *ALL* noise on the street (albeit, I still feel the micro-vibrations when a huge 18-wheeler drives by). By using the ‘Dark Noise’ app — this saved my life. Spaceship Engine as a sound seems to be the ultimate zen. Even as I am writing this; I really like the background noise to help me focus.

The best technologies

The best technology as ‘via negativa’– what it can REMOVE.

For example:

  1. The best apps are the ones which *REMOVE* distractions (Freedom.to app, apps which block distracting websites, etc)
  2. The best plugins are the ones which REMOVE advertisements, and annoying popups.
  3. The best consumer goods are the ones which REMOVE stuff (for example, Bose noise cancelling headphones as supreme as they are the best at REMOVING superfluous excess background noise).

White noise

But this is the tricky thing:

Sometimes, pure silence is a bit daunting and creepy.

For example in pre-pandemic times, I always did my best creative work at coffee shops. Why? Having some of the ‘stochastic resonance’ of random background noise helped me focus. But now we are all at home all day … perhaps adding some forms of low-level distractions is good and beneficial to us.

In praise of tranquility

My next place I will sign a lease for will definitely prioritize and optimize for tranquility. Preferably the house will be surrounded by verdant green trees, a nice view, lots of natural light, and tons of peace and quiet.


  1. If you don’t already, buy some noise cancelling headphones. If you can afford it, go for the BOSE 700 NC ones. For less money, get the BOSE 35 MARK II version. To be frank, I wouldn’t recommend any other noise cancelling headphones besides BOSE. While $300-400 may seem like a lot of money, if it can help you sleep even 20% better in your life, or help you become 20% less distracted, it is worth its weight in gold.
  2. When it comes to signing your next lease, finding your next home or apartment, prioritize for quiet and natural light. Now with pandemic times and the fact that many of us can work from home, there is no real good reason to try to live in a ‘good location’ close to work or whatever.
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