Anyone following World Cup 2010 in South Africa is already well-acquainted with the vuvuzela, which seems to be getting as much international coverage as the matches themselves.
Despite calls to ban the vuvuzela, the long plastic trumpet blown by thousands of strong-lunged fans at the World Cup games, the racket they make probably isn't going to diminish on TV broadcasts anytime soon.
That's despite complaints about the horns' incessant buzzing from some high-profile players (who can't communicate over the drone), concerns from health experts (who say the loud blaring may affect hearing loss), and claims by World Cup broadcasters that they've stepped up audio filtering to screen out the vuvuzela racket.
Fortunately, TV viewers who can't stand the noise have a few options, as we cover in the video above.
First, skip the purported vuvuzela "filter." One apparent quick fix getting media attention promises to kill the noise of the vuvuzela using "phase cancellation." 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.
If you have your TV hooked up to a surround sound system, one of our testers found that he could almost eliminate the vuvuzelas by lowering the volume of the left and right speakers (which carry crowd noises) and pumping up the volume of the center speaker (which carries the commentators' voices) via his sound system's settings menu.
There is, as a last resort, the mute button. Despite their horrendous sound, many of us here have found that concentrating on the game itself makes the vuvuzelas far less of a nuisance.
—Nick K. Mandle