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We’ve all been told the routine advice on elevating 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 environmental sound? Can improving work productivity really be as straightforward as playing specific types of sounds or music?

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

Let’s begin with nature sounds.

Nature Sounds

The Acoustical Society of America presented findings indicating 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 assorted 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 final results? The staff members 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 delivered an equivalent masking effect.

Here’s a playlist of comforting 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 beneficial impacts on work productivity.

They discovered that listening to music on the job boosts mood and minimizes stress and anxiety, which creates 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 think the effect is more widespread.

What kind of music was revealed to have the largest impact? It turns out that the category is less important than the positive emotional reaction it evokes in the listener.

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


Did you know that a variety of 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 contemplating an upgrade, ask us about the latest technology you could use to start boosting productivity at work.

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