Nothing Will Silence Those Damn Vuvuzelas

If the sound of vuvuzelas — those ubiquitous plastic horns used by thousands of soccer fans — has made your World Cup viewing experience seem more like a visit by a horde of 17-year cicadas, Consumer Reports has a message for you: tough luck. Nothing short of muting your TV’s sound will silence the noisemakers, though there are a few ways to make them less annoying.

Consumer Reports tested the Anti-Vuvuzela Filter, a downloadable sound file that is advertised as a way to block the noise. No success there, but CR’s engineers found a few things that did work, at least partially:

The makers of the Anti-Vuvuzela Filter (which costs about $3.50) instruct users to play the downloadable MP3 alongside their TVs speakers. “Depending on the circumstances” says the sale site, “the resulting soundwave may be so faint as to be inaudible to human ears.” In our test, the noise just became twice as irritating.

Instead, go into your TVs sound settings and turn the treble all the way down. It won’t eliminate the vuvuzelas, but it tones down their highest-pitch, buzzsaw-in-the-brain frequencies.

Some TVs with more advanced sound controls have equalizers that let you adjust various soundwave frequencies. Playing with them might bring the vuvuzela decibels down, though perhaps at the expense of hearing the commentators a bit less well.

When all else fails, CR does admit that the mute button will do the trick. Just remember to turn on the closed captions, and enjoy the silence.

How to turn down the volume on those World Cup vuvuzelas [Consumer Reports Electronics]