Mountain stream

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

But what about the manipulation of background sound? Can boosting work productivity really be as simple as playing certain types of sounds or music?

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

Let’s start with nature sounds.

Nature Sounds

The Acoustical Society of America presented findings indicating 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 varied 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 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 much preferred over the white noise even though white noise supplied a comparable masking effect.

Here’s a playlist of calming nature sounds for you to try out yourself.


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

They discovered that listening to music in the workplace improves mood and lowers stress and anxiety, which creates 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 specialists, but there’s good reason to believe the effect is more widespread.

What style of music was found to have the largest effect? It turns out that the category is less relevant than the positive emotional response it evokes in the listener.

That means the difference between classical music and hard rock is trivial as long as the music enhances your mood.

Did you know that many hearing aid models enable you to stream music straight to the hearing aids from your phone or mp3 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.