Mountain stream

We’ve all read the traditional advice on enhancing productivity on the job: don’t multi-task, limit interruptions, say no to meetings, establish self-imposed deadlines, etc.

But what about the manipulation of background sound? Can improving work productivity really be as simple as playing targeted types of sounds or music?

It turns out that both nature sounds and music have been found to have valuable effects on the job.

Let’s start with nature sounds.

Nature Sounds

The Acoustical Society of America presented findings indicating that workers can get more done and feel more optimistic at work when nature sounds are playing in the background.

The study consisted of three sessions in the same room, where researchers had participants complete tests while listening to various soundscapes. Each session had a different type of sound playing in the background, as follows:

  • First session: office sounds muffled by white noise
  • Second session: office sounds muffled by nature sounds
  • Third session: office sounds with no masking noise

The results? The workers performed better on the tests when listening to nature sounds and also felt more positive about the environment and the task.

The nature sounds were also much preferred over the white noise even though white noise granted a comparable masking effect.

Here’s a playlist of peaceful nature sounds for you to try out yourself.

Music

If nature sounds are not your thing, research from the University of Windsor demonstrates that listening to music can have comparable beneficial impacts on work productivity.

They discovered that listening to music in the workplace improves mood and reduces anxiety, which brings about an emotional state conducive to enhanced creative problem solving.

Participants that listened to music described better moods, created higher quality work, and devoted less time on each task.

Granted, the study was restricted to information technology specialists, but there’s good reason to believe the effect is more prevalent.

What style of music was revealed to have the greatest effect? It turns out that the genre is less relevant than the positive emotional reaction it evokes in the listener.

That means the difference between classical music and hard rock is trivial provided that the music improves your mood.


Did you know that a variety of hearing aid models enable you to stream music straight to the hearing aids from your phone or music player?

If you have hearing loss, or are thinking about an upgrade, ask us about the latest technology you could use to start enhancing productivity at work.

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