I recently shared some ideas for how to use noise to be more productive. But what if you need quiet? Let’s look at passive and active noise canceling.
We have a pair of passive earmuffs for my son, who has Sensory Processing Disorder. When he first got them he called them “quiet earmuffs” and the name kind of stuck. They are very effective for him when things get loud, and they provide a feeling of safety, knowing they are there if he needs them. This has allowed him to be more confident and adventurous.
Passive noise canceling have a closed ear cup that goes over the entire ear. They work by physically blocking the incoming sound waves. They are typically bulky and heavier than other headphones, but they are inexpensive and easy to use.
Active noise canceling works by using a microphone to detect incoming sound. It then sends an opposing sound wave to the headphones speaker to cancel it out. The effectiveness of active noise canceling can vary depending on the manufacture, and quality active noise canceling headphones can be expensive. However, they can also be much smaller and lighter, like Apple AirPods Pro. Active noise canceling can also be turned off, allowing the user to hear what is going on around them while still wearing the headphones.
So if you need a quiet place sometimes, take a look at these options. You are sure to find something that will work for you.
For people with sensory and attention issues, focusing on tasks is a major problem. We are frequently sidetracked by intrusive thoughts and “shiny” objects as our brain desperately seeks out stimulation. It’s not laziness or as simple as being easily distracted, our bodies do not reward our brains for getting things done like other people do. Most peoples focus is based on what is important, our brains focus based on how interesting something is.
One thing that can help is providing supplemental stimulation. Something that can fill in the stimulation gap between what we are doing and what our brains need. Here are some tools that I have found success with, and I think will help others.
I find that music that doesn’t have lyrics works best. The genre is up to personal preference. For me Electronica, Instrumental Metal, and Lo-Fi House music works great. Others may prefer Classical or Jazz. For me, that doesn’t provide enough stimulation, but everyone’s brain is different, so find something that works for you.
Nature sounds/White Noise.
There are lots of options out there, but one I particularly like is https://mynoise.net/. It provides highly customizable soundscapes, and you can even save them once you get them just the way you want. You can also load soundscapes that others have made. They have apps for Android and iOS, so you can take your happy place anywhere! Studies have shown that nature sounds can even improve health outcomes, so there are benefits beyond additional focus. Others, like Calm.com, also provide mindfulness features. I was sceptical of mindfulness for a long time, but I have found it highly beneficial over the last few years.
Hopefully this helps you live a more peaceful and successful life! Please let us know if any of these tips helps you, I love to hear that something I suggested has helped someone. If you have your own tools that help you focus, please let me know. I like to try new things, and am happy to share tools that help people succeed!