Originally Posted by fanta
What are my options, if there are any in the first place...?
Just be aware that "active noise cancelling" headphones won't work. They are fine for significantly reducing noises such as those experienced in trains, aircraft or cars, as well as when using computers, but they are completely and utterly hopeless when it comes to reducing things like other people's music, random noises, speech,etc. Infact the testing I did on my PXC250 headphones gave me a massive 0.5 dB of isolation below 50 hz.
I have two "grades" of noise attentuation. The first is a pair of Sennheiser CX300 earphones connected to a 2nd generation iPod shuffle. Because this is all so compact and tiny, I can get on with my usual chores and get a minimum of 10 dB isolation at low frequencies and much more at high frequencies.
If that still is not enough, I will put industrial ear muffs over the Sennheiser CX300 phones. It is perfectly comfortable, does not interfere with the operation of the CX300s at all, and I get a pretty insane amount of isolation. With music playing through the CX300, I am pretty much deaf to the world.
The disadvantages are obvious though - and caution needs to be exercised because you have effectively lost one of your senses. You need to have safety procedures in place to compensate for the fact that you are temporarily deaf (and other things like the telephone - I will put it through to my vibrating mobile).
Nevertheless, since it became perfectly legal in my state for people to play their hi fi systems a loud as they like between 8.00 am and midnight, I would rather put up with these inconveniences rather than be driven nuts by the constant thub of subwoofers.
In your particular case though, the optimin solution would appear to be to move elsewhere as soon as you are able to. But a pair of Sennheiser CX300s, a 1 Gb iPod shuffle and professional ear mufs cost me about $200 AUD and that was the best $200 I have ever spent for the sake of my sanity.
I tried other solutions such as the Etymotic custom ER-15 musician's ear plugs, but I found that the CX300 earphones worked much better and were much more comfortable. That is not to say you shouldn't consider them, but they fit like custom IEMs, so I guess not. Same thing with the Etymotic non-custom earplugs. They have the triflange fitting that goes pretty deep into the ear canal.
The CX300 phones don't really go very deep at all - just perhaps 8mm in or so - I would think of them more as a deep fitting external earphone rather than a true IEM, but they seal extremely well and do provide pretty good isolation, whilst allowing you to use ear muffs over the top of them.