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I don't want people to yell at me when they want to say something while I'm using headphones on my desktop computer.

I'm thinking an app could just listen to the ambient sound and lower the volume when it is loud. Apparently, Awareness does something like this on iOS. What about OSX?

  • Better: detect voices in the ambient sound. – Warren Seine Aug 29 '13 at 13:42
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There is an app in the macOS app store called "Dumbo" that lets you monitor room audio from your mac mic when you have headphones on. It doesn't automatically lower the volume, but you can adjust the mic input level as well as the iTunes level to get the mix you want.

Here's the link to Dumbo in the US Mac App store.

  • It's helpful to provide links to the apps referenced in your answer. – Allan Mar 15 '18 at 17:30
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Alternative approach: try employing headphones that enable you to hear ambient noise?

My favorite: http://www.earhero.com/

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