Mountain stream

We’ve all heard the routine advice on increasing productivity on the job: don’t multi-task, limit interruptions, say no to meetings, set self-imposed deadlines, etc.

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

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

Let’s begin with nature sounds.

Nature Sounds

The Acoustical Society of America presented findings showing that workers 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 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 staff performed better on the tests when listening to nature sounds and also felt more optimistic about the setting and the job.

The nature sounds were also greatly preferred over the white noise even though white noise supplied an equivalent 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 discovered that listening to music at work boosts mood and reduces stress and anxiety, which brings about an emotional state conducive to elevated creative problem solving.

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

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

What kind of music was revealed to have the largest effect? It turns out that the genre is less significant 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 straight to the hearing aids from your smartphone or mp3 player?

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