Ahsaniqbalkmc

Keyboard Noise Reduction: Possible Options

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I don't know whether it is my typing style or my current keyboard and work setup, but there is a significant amount of noise while I type. Lately I am finding my self working in the nights, so the typing noise has become a problem.

 

I would like to take some steps to get this typing noise reduced so that I don't annoy myself and other people around me. So what are the possible options. The ones I can think of are discussed below, but I don't know which one is more appropriate and practical so I am putting this up for discussion to hear your suggestions on the issue.

 

Option 1: Change the keyboard:

 

The first idea that came into my mind was to change the keyboard and look for something more quiet. So I did what most people would do: I googled....... I tried to look for keyboards that are manufactured with noise reduction as the main goal. Taking into consideration the shear number of keyboards in use today and the different types of markets they are used in, I first thought that there would be a huge number of noise free / silence keyboards but I was amazed to find that there are not much options there. However, thanks to the my little research, I found that there are certain types of kyboards that can help me achieve my goal.

 

The most commonly used types of keyboards are mechanical keyboards. They are called mechanical because of their key-pressing mechanism and their design. These keyboards have hard plastic as their main component material and thus the keys are solid and make noise when they are pressed. There are two different types of noises produced by these keyboards. One type is produced when the fingers hit the keys. This kind of noise depends on the typing style of the user. The other type of noise is produced when the plastic keys get into contact with the plastic body of the keyboard. This is the kind of noise that cannot be completely removed from mechanical keyboards. It can be reduced by using rubber coating or other stuff but cannot be completely removed.

 

The other type of keyboards is known by many names such as silicon keyboard, rubber keyboard, foldable keyboard etc. They are made entirely or rubber and can be rolled, folded, twisted etc. Their keys as well as the entire body is made of rubber so they effectively reduce both types of noises. The problem with these keyboards is that they don't have very good typing experience. They keypresses are not consistent and predictable and will get even worse with use. So fast typing is not very practical with these keyboards.

 

Another type of keyboards, that are not very common are projected virtual keyboards. They are rather new-comers in the keyboard industry and claim that they are the future. A projected virtual keyboard is actually an image of a keyboard projected by a small device onto a flat surface like a table. So practically, there are no keys and no keypresses. Its more like typing on a tablet i.e you just press on a flat surface. I have never used a projected keyboard but from my experience on typing on smartphones and tablets, I can say that the biggest drawback to this type is that there is no feedback and the user has to look at his fingers every now and then to make sure that they are placed correctly. So accuracy would be an issue with these keyboards and they would also require some getting used to. They are also quite expensive and they silenceness is also a question mark because some noise would still be produced when the fingers hit the flat surrface where the keyboard image is projected.

 

Option 2: Make modifications to the surface where I place my keyboard:

 

Normally, my keyboard sits on a wooden table and in this case, the noise produced is significant. However, when I place it on my legs, the noise is reduced. So it clearly demonstrates that I can achieve some noise reduction by placing some soft material (foam, rubber, cloth) etc beneath my keyboard. However, I would call this a secondary addition to the noise reduction because even if I place the keyboard on my legs, the noise produced by fingers hitting the keys and the keys hitting the body of the keyboard is still there and still very significant.

 

Option 3: Change my typing style:

 

Sometimes when someone is sleeping while I work, I tend to reduce my typing speed so that my fingers would move more slowly and the hitting force on the keys would reuce significantly. I have to admit that the amount of noise produced is significantly reduced. However I don't like doing it because it makes me more conscious about my fingers. The flow of my typing is somewhat lost because more often than not my attention is on my fingers' movement.

 

 

These were the options that came into my mind. However, my personal opinion is that I would have to involve all of the above options to achieve maximum results. Fist of all I need to find a keyboard that really does help in reducing the noise without hampering the typing experience and efficiency. Then I need to make some adjustments to my work environment and finally I need to make some adjustments to my typing style.

 

What do you folks think? I am looking forward for your opinions on the best keyboard for noise reduction as well as other things I can do to achieve my goal.

Edited by Ahsaniqbal111

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I like your evaluation on the situation. This is actually a good overview of a problem and possible solutions.Noise produced by the keyboard can be reduced. Most keyboards the keys are too high which means you need to press down more to recognise a key press. It also causes your typing to hit the keys instead of pressing them and is more apparent when you type faster because you may also lift your fingers a bit higher than needed. Also the hard surface just helps increase the sound because the impact is not reduced but increased, so softening the impact would help. If you could change your typing to a more gliding over keys than a lifting it can reduce the noise but the first thing would be a soft keyboard, with low keys, those that are used on laptops seem to be more suited and they also have full layout keyboards similar to those of laptops. They are very thin and light.Maybe you could experiment more but this sounds like a great thing to test out. Other ideas I could think of would be inserting some sort of packing into the keys so that presses can be turned into just little taps instead. Or even wearing gloves? The things to test are endless.Cheers,MC

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Interesting thread! I used to always be annoyed by the noise of my keyboard.. Ive always been sort of a pc junky so all my keyboards were the really bulky keyboards... the really really bulky accounts, (think OLD school haha.) Anyway, so the noise was always there. I actually grew to like the sound of the keyboard to be honest... but then as I became faster faster at typing, It got more annoying. If you have seen the new PC tablet keyboards that are out there (it's the computer that is a tablet and then you can attach the keyboard to it... I believe the keyboard is not something you buy separate, but instead the keyboard should come with the inital purchase of the tablet. There were some annoying comercaisl going on for this tablet, so you are probably familiar with what I am talking about.)Anyway.. since these keyboards are completely or mostly flat.. you shouldnt have to worry about any sound because, again, the reason a lot of the noise you are hearing from the keyboard is because the keys are coming out of the keyboard in a way that makes noise between your fingers and the flat board BEHIND the keys. With a flat keyboard, as you probably are able to imagine.. you again, will not have to worry about any of this. (with those really clunky keyboards I was using like 5-8 years ago.. i really coukd have never imagined that there would be the ability to HAVE keyboards hehe.. but yeah, I regress.) So anyway, the only annoying thing about these keyaborads is you sometimes are going to not be able to touch some of they keys.. so, lets say you are typing really fast.. you may miss a key or two because of how flat they are ... A HUGE problem I had before. Now.. similar to when the protuding keys.. you sometimes would accidently touch another key when trying to type a letter... for example R instead of E or Y instead u.. you also have that issue on this keyboard. BUT.. we are talking about SOUND here.. so if that's the case, look into these keyboards.. i think they also have a backlight to them to, so that's helpful as well... so you can Not only have NO SOUND, but also be able to use your keyboard with no sound as well. Hope that helps (know I regressed a bit.. but I got kind of excited lol.)

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I like your evaluation on the situation. This is actually a good overview of a problem and possible solutions.



Thanks for the complement @mastercomputers. I also got a notification that you liked my post. It really is encouraging.

Noise produced by the keyboard can be reduced. Most keyboards the keys are too high which means you need to press down more to recognise a key press. It also causes your typing to hit the keys instead of pressing them and is more apparent when you type faster because you may also lift your fingers a bit higher than needed. Also the hard surface just helps increase the sound because the impact is not reduced but increased, so softening the impact would help. If you could change your typing to a more gliding over keys than a lifting it can reduce the noise but the first thing would be a soft keyboard, with low keys, those that are used on laptops seem to be more suited and they also have full layout keyboards similar to those of laptops. They are very thin and light.

I agree that the distance traveled by the keys, when fully pressed, is different in different keyboards. I also agree that keyboards in which this distance is greater tend to produce more sound than keyboards in which this distance is smaller.
After reading your post, I tried to see if there is any difference in the sound produced by my usb keyboard and my laptop's own keyboard. The keyboard that I use most of the times is a mini keyboard by a company called Dany. I don't know whether it is an internationally recognized company or not, but its quite famous in my country and does produce some good products that are not very expensive. The keyboard has a good design and keys arrangement, and I can type quite accurately and fast on this keyboard. The travel of the keys is also on the moderate side, i.e. it is neither very small nor very large. The overall typing experience with this keyboard is great and I am more than happy with it.
The keyboard of my laptop (hp dv6 3040us) is quite different in terms of design. The keys are square and their travel is quite shallow. But the typing experience with this keyboard is also good. The only reason I use the extra usb keyboard for most of my typing is that I am not comfortable with the laptop's screen too close to my eyes. Also the trackpad creates considerable annoyance during typing. But I have to admit that the sound produced by the laptop's keyboard is considerably less than the sound produced by my external usb keyboard. Maybe its because of the shallow key travel. Or may its because of the placement of the keyboard in the laptop.
So one possible solution for me related to this option is that I find a laptop's keyboard that is actually not fixed to a laptop, i.e. I get the benefit of low noise produced by the keyboard but at the same time I would have the ability to place this keyboard on my table at a distance from the laptop. That beings said, I am still not sure about how much noise would be produced when the keyboard is placed on the hard surface of the table instead of somewhat flexible laptop body.


Maybe you could experiment more but this sounds like a great thing to test out. Other ideas I could think of would be inserting some sort of packing into the keys so that presses can be turned into just little taps instead. Or even wearing gloves? The things to test are endless.

Gloves don't seem a practical idea for me. First of all, the temperature here in summer is on the higher side (touching the 50 degrees centigrade mark). Wearing gloves in such hot weather is strictly impractical. But because of my laziness, I won't be able to use gloves regularly even in winter. So gloves may contribute to noise reduction in typing but the idea is not very practical for me....

(it's the computer that is a tablet and then you can attach the keyboard to it... I believe the keyboard is not something you buy separate, but instead the keyboard should come with the inital purchase of the tablet. There were some annoying comercaisl going on for this tablet, so you are probably familiar with what I am talking about.)

I don't know why but I didn't get which keyboard you are talking about. Maybe you are talking about the tablet from asus which has a detachable keyboard or the tablet from microsoft (microsoft surface tablet) which also has a detachable keyboard. But in both cases, the keyboard comes as a separate entity and it is certainly not cheap. So if you are only interested in the keyboard, I don't think its a good idea to go for these products. These keyboards might be brilliant but they are way to expensive to be used with a laptop because there are other alternatives available and at this price, you can easily get something better.


So one addition to the available options for me is that I find a laptop's keyboard (preferably they keyboard of my current laptop) but with a setup that can make it work without being fitted in the laptop. There are laptop-LIKE keyboards available that behave as proper usb keyboards but I don't know whether a proper laptop keyboard can be made to work as an external usb keyboard.

Hopefully someone will add to the practicality of this idea.

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a quick solution would be to grab one of those leather/rubber keyboards hehe... i have one and its water resistance, although it takes a bit of getting use to... but it is very silent when in use...

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The suggestion about wearing gloves was not to enforce you to wear gloves but to test if it helped reduced noise. Finding out if it reduced noise could then mean that gloves helped, but they are not good due to climate. In which case you branch off to improve how you can refine gloves to make it suitable for your climate but also provide the level of noise reduction. Which may mean inventing stick on material to your fingertips as an example, may not be the best idea, but you continue it till you find a great idea. Instead of altering your fingertips, maybe keys made out of another material, fabric or some sort.Other things is covering your keyboard with a bag that you can fit your hands inside. This means noise should be capture inside of it and can only escape out where your hands are. Again, maybe over the top but I do like this topic.Basically I'm just trying to help you continue with the ways to improve this noise reduction. I like experiments I like seeing tests done and I like see results. These are how inventions come about and maybe it's not a million dollar invention, it may still be beneficial, because you're not the only one who has issues with this. Even if you invented a silent keyboard, you'd have great success with it.Cheers,MC

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The suggestion about wearing gloves was not to enforce you to wear gloves but to test if it helped reduced noise. Finding out if it reduced noise could then mean that gloves helped, but they are not good due to climate. In which case you branch off to improve how you can refine gloves to make it suitable for your climate but also provide the level of noise reduction. Which may mean inventing stick on material to your fingertips as an example, may not be the best idea, but you continue it till you find a great idea. Instead of altering your fingertips, maybe keys made out of another material, fabric or some sort.
Other things is covering your keyboard with a bag that you can fit your hands inside. This means noise should be capture inside of it and can only escape out where your hands are. Again, maybe over the top but I do like this topic.

Basically I'm just trying to help you continue with the ways to improve this noise reduction. I like experiments I like seeing tests done and I like see results. These are how inventions come about and maybe it's not a million dollar invention, it may still be beneficial, because you're not the only one who has issues with this. Even if you invented a silent keyboard, you'd have great success with it.

Cheers,

MC


maybe try wearing earmuffs... or headphones with some music on ;)
Edited by manuleka

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maybe try wearing earmuffs... or headphones with some music on ;)

As far as I read the starter topic, he is not disturbed by the keyboard noise. Simply his keyboard is disturbing everybody in the house. So, if he wears earphones with some music, this will not solve the problem for the other people disturbed by the keyboard. The headphones with music will even make the problem worse, if he starts singing with the hard rock music.

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a quick solution would be to grab one of those leather/rubber keyboards hehe... i have one and its water resistance, although it takes a bit of getting use to... but it is very silent when in use...

I have mentioned this option in the first post of this topic. These leather / rubber / silicon keyboards appear to be great for noise reduction but significant compromise on the typing experience is likely to be involved. I have used one such keyboard (which I borrowed from my friend). The quality wasn’t very good and I am sure that there would be better quality keyboards available. However, the typing experience on that keyboard was way weaker than my current mechanical external usb keyboard (which by the way is also quite cheap). The keys in that rubber keyboard were spaced far too apart from one another and the feedback of the key-press wasn’t good at all. Overall, my typing speed reduced significantly and the experience was not pleasing at all. So I can easily say that I will have to sacrifice a significant share of my typing speed and joy to gain the noise reduction advantage of these rubber keyboards.

The suggestion about wearing gloves was not to enforce you to wear gloves but to test if it helped reduced noise. Finding out if it reduced noise could then mean that gloves helped, but they are not good due to climate. In which case you branch off to improve how you can refine gloves to make it suitable for your climate but also provide the level of noise reduction. Which may mean inventing stick on material to your fingertips as an example, may not be the best idea, but you continue it till you find a great idea. Instead of altering your fingertips, maybe keys made out of another material, fabric or some sort.

@mastercomputers, I don’t know why but your post makes me think that somehow you felt offended by what I said about the ideas of gloves. I hope that I am wrong. I certainly didn’t mean to offend you. I just wrote what I thought about the idea in a straight forward way. We do have some good discussions going on, in this forum. I have learned quite a few things from these discussions and I feel that there is much more to learn from you. And I respect you for this. So don’t feel offended because I didn’t mean to do so.
In my opinion, the main thing that we want to achieve by wearing gloves is soften out the impact between fingers and the keys. This softening will surely reduce the sound produced when fingers strike the keys with force. This same effect can be achieved by other ways. For instance, some sort of thin foam, or cloth or other soft material can be made to stick to the upper surface of the keys (the surface where the keys come in contact with fingers). In this way, the sound produced by the fingers hitting the keys would reduce because fingers would now hit a soft surface (which doesn’t produce much sound) rather than a hard plastic (which does produce significant sound).

Other things is covering your keyboard with a bag that you can fit your hands inside. This means noise should be capture inside of it and can only escape out where your hands are. Again, maybe over the top but I do like this topic.

This idea might be very effective in reducing the noise, but my personal opinion is that it is not very practical for normal daily use. People like simple things. They may try out complex stuff once or twice but it is very hard to do it on regular basis. In addition, creating such a bag (as well as selection of suitable material) might not be a simple task. The material should be able to significantly reduce the sound passing through it. And the design should be of such quality that typing experience is not affected. The ease of use should also be taken into consideration while designing such a bag.
So in my opinion, this idea is practical only for cases where extreme noise reduction is desired and where the users can take a bit extra effort.

maybe try wearing earmuffs... or headphones with some music on

Ha ha ha…. @MANU I don’t think you read my first post correctly. It is not me who is annoyed by the noise of the keyboard. It is other people around me. So your idea is not going to help at all. And as @yordan has mentioned, I might start singing (without ever noticing myself) and this would add to the annoyance produced by my late night work.
However, I think that your idea would be the best in a scenario where the user himself is annoyed by the noise of typing. I think of it as the best idea because there is no extra material or effort required (I am assuming that everyone has headphones available to be used). Plus instead of the annoying noise of the keys, the user will now hear pleasant music (which in most cases is better than no sound at all). So if I ever find myself annoyed by the noise of the keyboard, this would be the first thing I am going to try.

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keep a few earmuffs around the room, and put a Notice on wall to who ever enters to put a pair on

LOL…. That’s a good idea. And I should add to the notice “Even if you don’t like music, just put these into your ears to be safe from the TUK TUK onslaught” ;)

If I really start singing, this will disturb people which are not in the room, so they did not read the notice on wall

I am afraid that my case would also be similar to yours… Why not put a notice on the neighbors’ doors as well. “Keep earmuffs ready at all times or you will have to bear the singing of a world renown singer” he he

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