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We’ve all been told the traditional advice on raising productivity at work: 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 simple as playing particular types of sounds or music?

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

Let’s begin 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 assorted 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 final results? The employees performed better on the tests when listening to nature sounds and also felt more positive about the setting and the job.

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

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

Music

If nature sounds are not your thing, 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 in the workplace improves mood and minimizes stress and anxiety, which produces an emotional state conducive to enhanced creative problem solving.

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

Granted, the study was confined to information technology specialists, but there’s reason to think the effect is more widespread.

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

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


Did you know that many hearing aid models allow you to stream music straight to the hearing aids from your smartphone or music player?

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