I live alone, except for Oberon. Sometimes when I sit down at the computer he will immediately come into the room and bark at me, but mostly he's very patient when I'm working. Otherwise, I have total control over the noise around me, except for the telephone.
I need something in the background when I'm writing, but usually this means something in another room. I love classical music and I'm an opera fanatic, so often I'm listening to something like that. Music is a great filter. If it's music I know well, I can listen with one ear and it erases all the other sound distractions, so I can focus mentally on my writing.
Another noise of choice is The West Wing, my favorite TV show of all time. Many times when I'm writing I'll just run the series on DVD all day long. I know every episode well, so I'm not distracted, yet when I need a mental break I can leave the room and watch a few minutes of a favorite scene and sometimes even draw a little inspiration from it.
Chaos? I know I could NOT handle that. I grew up in a house where by necessity the piano and the TV sat side by side (and still do in my parents' house); and growing up they were often both in use at the same time. Consequently, even though I'm the only human in my house, to this day I refuse to put a TV in my living room.