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How to Boost Work Productivity with Music and Sound

Mountain stream

We’ve all heard the typical advice on elevating productivity on the job: don’t multi-task, minimize interruptions, say no to meetings, specify self-imposed deadlines, etc.

But what about the modification of background sound? Can increasing work productivity really be as simple as playing specific types of sounds or music?

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

Let’s start with nature sounds.

Nature Sounds

The Acoustical Society of America presented findings showing that employees can get more done and feel more positive 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 varied 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 optimistic about the setting and the task.

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

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

Music

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

They discovered that listening to music on the job boosts mood and decreases anxiety, which produces an emotional state conducive to elevated creative problem solving.

Participants that listened to music documented 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 widespread.

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

Which means the difference between classical music and heavy metal is trivial as long as the music improves your mood.


Did you know that a variety of hearing aid models enable you to stream music directly to the hearing aids from your smartphone or mp3 player?

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

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