Noise can change our moods, invoke memories, and alter our energy levels. From the calming melodies of our Apple device’s start-up sound to the bright and optimistic chime of a Tinder match, sound can be functionally and strategically placed without us even noticing.
Background noise – whether it’s excessive, loud clatter, elevator music, or Mozart’s sonatas – can disrupt our concentration and take our attention away from the to-dos at hand.
But, if sound effects can distract us so easily and have so much power, let me ask you this: Have you thought about using noise to strengthen your focus? Not yet? That will change after reading this article. I’m not saying that it’s the perfect solution for everyone, but it definitely works for me. Let’s see if it’s your cup of coffee.
I’ve been struggling with concentration a lot and not getting things done because I’m easily distracted. My mind wanders off and listens to every conversation in the vicinity, which means I’m not doing what I need to do or what I want to do. While participating in a session organized by CreativeMornings and held by CaveDay, I learned about white noise, which is supposed to dim out other noise and increase focus – so, perfect to resolve my issue! Suddenly, I found myself crossing things off my to-do list and enjoying plenty of focus to get things done.
I want to open your eyes to how listening to white noise can increase your level of focus. We’ll discover that our brain has its own sound level, we’ll hear about the moderate brain arousal model, and we’ll learn how to make the power of noise ours.
What is white noise?
White noise is random noise with a flat spectral density such as rain, waves or other nature sounds; meaning the amplitude doesn’t change throughout and ranges from 20 to 20,000 hertz, which is defined as our human hearing range.
Are we brain zero-noise?
You might think that your basic noise level is zero – that you operate best in total silence, so to speak – but internal noise has its own noise level and it’s different for everyone. We all have noise coming from fluctuations in transmitters, the number of activated postsynaptic receptors, ion concentration, and whatnot. A little technical, – but it simply means our brain is working and creates its own sound level. This is comparable to work-related noise, such as typing away on our laptops. – We aren’t experiencing total noise every day. What’s important for you to know is that your brain works best when the internal noise is moderate.
A moderate sound level? What does that even mean?!
The moderate brain arousal model (Söderlund et al. 2007) suggests that dopamine levels modulate how much noise is needed for our brain’s to perform their best. It proposes that noise in the environment introduces internal noise into the neural system. If you don’t have enough internal noise, the brain may not be working at its optimal level so, by adding white noise to the mix, you’ll improve your results no matter what you’re working on because your brain is operating on an enhanced activity level.
If you add a little noise, you might get maximum results and stronger focus; but, if you add too much, this will only distract you. So the key is to find the right amount of noise for your brain. I’d love to come up with the perfect solution here and present you with an easy 5-point plan, but you can only try and see what works for you. Try different white noises and vary the volume to see what helps you focus. If it’s too loud or gets on your nerves, it’s not the right one – choose something else. There are lots of options on YouTube.
Let the power of noise be yours
Every day, sound defines our physical spaces. It impacts our mood and potentially determines how much time we spend shopping, just to name two examples. So let’s use it to our advantage and get focused. White noise research is in its infancy, but new findings may enlighten us further and provide new insights on finding the right amount of noise. Right now, trial and error is the best way, and I recommend doing it in moderation. Try and see, and don’t use it too much or too loudly. Adapt and try again until you find the right solution for you.
If you have any hearing issues, such as tinnitus, please make sure to consult with your doctor first!
Let me know if you find any white noise that helps you focus and please share your experiences in the comment section. I’d love for us all to enjoy learning about this together.