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

But what about the modification of environmental sound? Can boosting work productivity really be as simple as playing specific 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 start with nature sounds.

Nature Sounds

The Acoustical Society of America presented findings demonstrating that workers can get more done and feel more optimistic 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 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 employees performed better on the tests when listening to nature sounds and also felt more optimistic about the environment and the job.

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

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


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

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

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

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

What kind of music was found to have the greatest impact? It turns out that the genre is less significant than the positive emotional reaction it evokes in the listener.

That means the difference between classical music and heavy metal is unimportant provided that the music enhances 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 considering an upgrade, ask us about the latest technology you could use to start enhancing productivity at work.