Yesterday, during one of my zoom calls, I heard some really loud drilling because some people are changing the floor tiles on one floor. It went on for hours and hours, sometimes stopping for a while, until around 8-9pm. What shocked me even more was that the drilling was from eight floors above! It grates on my ears so much, and I can't work very well with the amount of noise

Things I've Tried:

Noise cancelling headphones. I can still hear the drilling pretty loudly, even when playing music. They are pretty high quality headphones from Bose that I bought 1-2 years ago.

Ignoring it. It's near impossible, especially around lunchtime when it is especially noisy.

Things I won't try:

Asking them to stop. They can't if they wanted to, because they have already started changing the floor tiles

  • 1
    You can ask them how long it will take them, and (if possible) plan your activities around that. Dec 8, 2020 at 9:56
  • This sounds like a good idea, but the problem is that I have to work from home due to coronavirus, which makes things harder.
    – Z9.
    Dec 8, 2020 at 10:03
  • 2
    The local Covid-19 rules might allow you to take a walk in a park at lunchtime, the noisiest time. It's a good idea to change the scene when taking a break anyway. Dec 8, 2020 at 10:06

2 Answers 2


Removing floor tiles is not a long-term project. Depending on room size etc. they may be done already.

If they aren't:

  1. ask them how long they need.
  2. work from a friend's home (or the local library) for the duration.

Alternatively: offer to help out. Intermittent noise indicates they're swapping between drilling out the tiles and removing them. If you remove the tiles, they can keep drilling and the job will be done faster.

  • Thanks, I'm currently doing your second suggestion at a friend's home.
    – Z9.
    Dec 9, 2020 at 2:40

Be aware that what you hear is the result of conduction. The walls, ceiling, and floor (and things sitting on the floor such as your table and chair you're sitting on) have become source conductors. Simply isolating (seismically) 'yourself' will reduce the noise level you experience—minutely, in your case.

First, try to get away from what you cannot change that might jeopardize your hearing. Failing that, do what you can to isolate yourself from the source.

Continuous percussive noise is broad spectrum which is difficult to override with noise cancelling headphones. They are designed to momentarily increase volume to compensate during intermittent offensive periods. During continuous percussive noise, Try a two-phase appeasement.

Use ear plugs to lower the overall level as much as you can. There are a few different types. Choose ones with greatest overall attenuation. Ear plugs alone will only work for a short time until your brain accommodates itself to the lower level. There will be a slight pitch level in addition to the level drop.

Then, use your over-the-ears headphones to listen to music at the minimum level you can to preserve your hearing. Music is intermittent so the brain won't compensate so quickly as to the ambient conducted background noise.

Good luck.

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