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Natural sounds that improve mood, productivity may cut stress

Natural sounds that improve mood, productivity may cut stress
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Natural Sounds That Improve Mood, Productivity May Cut Stress. Now, you can reduce the stress at work by listening to -'natural sounds-' because a new...

Washington: Now, you can reduce the stress at work by listening to "natural sounds" because a new study suggests that playing sounds like flowing water in offices can boost worker moods and improve cognitive abilities in addition to providing speech privacy.

An increasing number of modern open-plan offices employ sound masking systems that raise the background sound of a room so that speech is rendered unintelligible beyond a certain distance and distractions are less annoying.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Jonas Braasch said "if you're close to someone, you can understand them, but once you move farther away, their speech is obscured by the masking signal.

In this ongoing work, Braasch and his graduate student Alana DeLoach expose 12 human participants to three different sound stimuli while performing a task that requires them to pay close attention: typical office noises with the conventional random electronic signal; an office soundscape with a natural masker; and an office soundscape with no masker.

The natural sound used in the experiment was designed to mimic the sound of flowing water in a mountain stream. The mountain stream sound possessed enough randomness that it did not become a distraction, which is a key attribute of a successful masking signal, DeLoach said.

Braasch said natural sounds could be used to improve the moods of hospital patients who are stuck in their rooms for days or weeks on end.

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