Many of us spend long hours daily, wired in with our headphone maybe to escape a too hectic or awkwardly silent office or maybe to motivate yourself. As you might be aware, the tactic to steer disturbing background noise or silence by putting on a playlist can be effective. However, not all sounds have a positive impact on your productivity. Some music even distract your brain, making it even harder for you to stay focused on your work tasks. To avoid these unnecessary obstacles, soundscaping has become increasingly popular among professionals as a tool to regain the full control over their productivity. If you haven’t heard about soundscaping yet, here are the key concepts for you to get started:
A soundscapes is a synonym for an acoustic environment. Soundscaping is the conscious design of these acoustic environments for the purpose of attaining a certain behavioral effect. Put in other words, soundscaping is to consciously use the knowledge of how sounds affects you, to select music and sounds which brings you in the state of mind you need to be in. It may increase both your resilience to noise and your threshold of concentration and when used correctly, soundscaping may even triple your productivity!
For better understanding let’s have a look on how sound affects us:
Sound affects your body
Sounds which are loud and has a high frequency, such as techno and construction sites, alert you brain and raise your heartrate and breathing. Sounds which have a low frequency such as ocean waves and chanting music has a soothing effect on you.
Sound has a direct impact on your emotions
We all know the cinema experience of the emotional roller-coasters orchestrated by classical music. But it is not only classical music which has the power to influence your psyche. Sounds of nature can have the most stunning emotional effects. The sound of birds chirping is proven to evoke a state of mind which favors the ability to focus on demanding cognitive tasks. This trigger the third effect of sound.
Sound influences your cognitions – your thoughts
While our ears are the most sensitive and powerful sensory organ, our capacity to process auditory inputs is limited. This is why, noise at the office or from the street outside your office window, can have a negative effect on your productivity and health. The process of filtering all unwanted sounds out in order to stay focused, takes a lot of energy and effort. This results in the fourth effect of sound - a behavioral change.
Sound affects your behavior
When you work in a noisy environment, the accumulation of your alerted physical impulses, will trigger negative emotions of stress. Stress and frustration will affect your thoughts and in the end, have a deteriorating impact on the quality of your work.
The solution is to break the cycle through soundscaping!
Become a soundscaper!
In its essence, soundscaping is the art of consciously turning this patterns around. Instead of submitting to noise and putting on your headphones, listening to the radio or some random music, try to experiment with the soundscapes of tweeting birds, ocean waves, rainforest sounds or chanting tunes. All these sounds have the right frequency and composition to do you good – instantly!
For more insight on hearing practices, check out our blogpost “Are you in tune with good hearing behavior” here.