Mountain stream

We’ve all been told the traditional advice on improving productivity on the job: don’t multi-task, minimize interruptions, say no to meetings, set 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 music or sounds?

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

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 various soundscapes. Each session had a unique 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 staff members performed better on the tests when listening to nature sounds and also felt more positive about the setting and the task.

The nature sounds were also much preferred over the white noise even though white noise provided an equivalent masking effect.

Here’s a playlist of relaxing nature sounds for you to test out yourself.

Music

If you’re not into nature sounds, research from the University of Windsor shows that listening to music can have similar positive effects on work productivity.

They found that listening to music at work improves mood and minimizes anxiety, which brings about an emotional state conducive to elevated creative problem solving.

Participants that listened to music recorded better moods, produced higher quality work, and invested less time on each task.

Granted, the study was limited 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 largest impact? It turns out that the category is less significant than the positive emotional response it evokes in the listener.

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


Did you know that several hearing aid models permit you to stream music directly to the hearing aids from your phone or music player?

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

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