Working in and with Noise: The Impact of Audio Environment on Attention

  • Charles S. Wasserman
  • Natasha Segool


This study examined the relationship between audio environment and attention. Although background noise has generally been assumed to be distracting, recent research has suggested that the opposite may be true. Attention was assessed in 27 participants using a continuous performance test under three different noise conditions: exposure to ambient noise (the control), pink noise, and a television audio track. Participants’ attention was significantly improved in pink noise as compared to the ambient noise, whereas no differences were found between the ambient and television conditions. These findings suggest that notall noise is created equal when it comes to paying attention.