No one likes a finger-tapper.
Or a sudden loud laugher.
Or the worst of all, a lip-smacking chewer.
But for some, that kind of background noise is more than a mild irritant – it means that their ability to concentrate becomes non-existent.
But does background noise really affect concentration?
Yes – and it’s a bigger problem than you might think. In fact, the link between background noise and concentration is real and can have a huge effect on productivity and stress levels.
The way it affects each of us is completely different. For some, sounds made by other people can have such an extreme effect it’s like an auditory assault (think back to our loud chewer from earlier). This is a condition called misophonia, and it can trigger feelings of extreme anxiety, rage, or panic.
So if you’re finding it difficult to concentrate in a noisy space, whether it be at work, your home office, or even a coffee shop, the good news is there are ways to help you cope.
In this article we’ll be looking at our tips to combat background noise.
Here we go.
#1 Put the tunes on
Music makes the world go round. It’s relaxing, it’s soothing, and it releases happy hormones.
But did you know that listening to music can actually enhance your ability to concentrate? That’s right – the calming influence that music has can lower your stress levels, which gives you more clarity and focus.
Here are some tips to use music to maximum effect:
* Think about volume levels. If your music is too loud it could be counterproductive.
* Keep it instrumental. Lyrics might end up distracting you more.
* Have a play around with music styles that work for you – and from there, create a playlist.
* Experiment with white noise. A static sound that’s often used as a tool to block out rhythmic background noise.
#2 Make your environment work for you
The environment you work in can have a huge impact on concentration levels. But slight changes can help:
* Put your phone away. Checking your phone every five minutes is not going to help you concentrate.
* Move to a different space. For example, you might prefer the outside noise from being near an open window.
* Get your space organized. File those papers. Clear the empty plate from lunchtime. And feel the stress levels decrease.
#3 Use noise-canceling earplugs
Earplugs are a great way to cancel out unwanted noise, in any environment. At Loop, we have options for all the different tolerance levels out there.
Check it out:
* Our Loop Experience earplugs can reduce unwanted background noise by 18 decibels. The science behind it combines a filter for natural sound and an acoustic channel so it protects your hearing.[Einde van tekstterugloop]
* If your aversion to background noise is more extreme, then you can try our Loop Quiet earplugs, which reduce noise by 27 decibels. They are made of soft silicone, and are great for background noise removal.
#4 Take breaks and relax
And relaaaax. It's so important to take breaks, isn't it? Especially when you're in noisy environments.
Get your concentration back by going for a little walk, chilling out in an office green room, or even going to the toilet.
Close your eyes and try some breathing techniques. Or even do some gentle stretching. You’ll find it works wonders.
#5 Fuel your body
Your mind and body are connected. So if your body doesn’t have the fuel it needs then it can decrease your ability to concentrate and make you more vulnerable to background noise.
Here are our tips:
* Make sure you’re not hungry or thirsty.
* Ditch the junk food. A high blood sugar level is proven to have an impact on your concentration, with junk food also being linked to a decreased attention span.
* Avoid stimulants such as coffee and energy drinks. The benefits are short-lived and the withdrawal can trigger headaches and a difficulty in concentrating.
* Get more sleep. Any sleep-deprived person knows that a lack of sleep is bad for your concentration and will make you more sensitive to background noise.
Finding that you’re unable to concentrate with background noise is a common problem – but there are ways to help you cope. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach so get experimenting and you can find out which works for you.
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