A little background: I am very conflict averse. I go out of my way to be friendly and accommodating. Recently I was promoted at work, but I am in a different group. I used to be in a technical department (IT) and have moved to a more creative department (Marketing) which comes with a very different set of personalities. Typically I have a lot of success managing relationships with people different from myself. I should also mention I had an office before, but now sit in a more common area with my new department as they have an "open plan" which has been a difficult adjustment.
Last week, I was out of the office. I returned from leave to my colleague loudly blaring music at her desk. So loud I cannot talk to customers at my desk because they could hear, and I could not concentrate. I spoke to HR, who politely asked her to turn it down, and I think the person suspected it was me. They asked "Hey, does the music bother you? Everyone else said it was OK". So, before I could answer I was informed that basically I will be the one raining on the parade, so to speak.
For some reason, I am incredibly sensitive not only to incessant noise I cannot control but also do work that requires a lot of deep thought. "Tuning it out" is not something I am physically capable of doing. That may sound odd, but it is just how I am wired. Noise cancelling headphones help, and I have them, but I cant wear them on phone calls and the distraction all day is more than I can stand.
What is the best way for me to express that I absolutely cannot work productively with music playing all day? Should I confront the person/people in the group - which terrifies me - or are there other things i can try?
To be honest I struggle with individuals who do not understand common courtesy, which this falls under in my opinion, so strategies or others who have experience dealing with that are welcome. It is a relatively small office so there isn't a good anonymous corporate structure.
EDIT: Just since everyone thinks going to HR was a social crime, the workplace environment here is not typical. We have one person in that department, she has worked here for 12 years, and she frequently handles people who do this kind of thing very diplomatically as if it were her idea to mention it. Because the music was blaring, she walked over and tried. Nobody got this added to their permanent record, no one will be formally reported, it's not like that. The person playing the music is frequently rather dramatic and hard to criticize, that is why I chose that path first. So, knowing my workplace culture this was OK to do here - I would not have made that choice any other place I've worked.
Additional Communication: I spoke with a couple of people in the area early this morning, and their agreement to the music was reluctant. So, I would not say that everyone is enthusiastic about this new addition to the environment, they just didn't have the energy to argue.I don't want to make this a big deal or gang up. Just hoping there is a creative way to solve this that doesn't involve me getting in a fight with her.