Mountain stream

We’ve all read the routine advice on boosting 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 certain types of music or sounds?

It turns out that both music and nature sounds have been found to have valuable effects at work.

Let’s begin with nature sounds.

Nature Sounds

The Acoustical Society of America presented findings demonstrating 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 environment and the task.

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 peaceful nature sounds for you to test out yourself.

Music

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

They found that listening to music in the workplace improves mood and lessens stress and anxiety, which creates an emotional state conducive to enhanced creative problem solving.

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

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

What type of music was revealed to have the greatest impact? It turns out that the category 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 a variety of hearing aid models allow you to stream music directly to the hearing aids from your smartphone or music 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.