Silence, Sounds, and Concentration

Published: Feb 15, 2024
Edited by: Team TB

People reading in library in silence

In a general sense, most people feel that to be able to concentrate they need a silent and calm environment. Moreover, some people even need utter, complete silence to get something done.

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Scientific research has repeatedly come to the conclusion that when we’re freed from external noise, our brains can work better. The fact that important exams are always done in a silent room or hall already shows that stillness helps us focus. Or think about a library where it’s always asked to “please keep quiet.”

On the other hand, there are also people who definitely need some kind of background sound — perhaps music, white noise, or the radio or TV — to concentrate better on the tasks at hand. This is notably the case for routine and repetitive tasks, but for many people this also goes for studying.

In fact, it’s often not that people need sounds to concentrate better, but it’s rather that they need a kind of constant background noise that is able to override sudden, disturbing sounds that would break their concentration. Think of a car starting, a vacuum cleaner turning on, restless wind, doors opening and closing, etc.

At any rate, sounds or silence with respect to our concentration ability is not a black-and-white thing and depends on the person, the environment, and the tasks that need to be done.

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