The Science Behind Sound and How It Impacts Your Focus

The Science Behind Sound and How It Impacts Your Focus - Let's Reach Success

This article is written by Sarah, the editor of Headphone Selection, which helps you choose the best headphones. She loves all sound technology and firmly believes in the power of positive music.

It is no secret that sound can impact your focus and concentration.

For some individuals, having sound or music in the background can actually increase their focus. For others, white noise or silence is the best route so they can become fully immerse in what they are doing.

No matter who you are, sound will affect your focus, the question is, how?

Sounds and Productivity

These two go hand in hand. In fact, background noise, or what is known as low level noise. can cause distractions and disrupt many people’s concentration.

According to Scientific American, ambient sounds or noises can negatively affect overall health by increasing stress levels and further aggravating stress related health issues which include: coronary disease, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, and/or even peptic ulcers.

It is also suggested that noise induced stressors can cause a decrease in the brain’s dopamine productions and this limits the brain’s ability to control information flow throughout the body.

Any stress the brain takes on caused from background noises can result in impaired memory and learning, and a decrease in higher brain functions will also be seen.

However, this is only the case for some individuals. With other people, background noise does not cause any stress and can even relax them.

Some people have the ability to tune out the sounds going on around them, or they are stimulated to further points of focus by background music or white noise.

Effects of Different Sound Waves

The different levels of sound waves can cause different effects on the brain and therefore the overall focus of an individual.

The way the brain works is by the billions of neurons that communicate to each other through electronic waves within it. As neurons fire, they can be affected by the external environment around them.

For example, if you have music on while you exercise, your body and mind will be prone to working out harder.

According to Dr. Jeffery Thompson, sound waves can affect the brain’s waves either positively or negatively. What’s more, the 4 types of brain waves – Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Theta – are prone to getting into sync with any music or sounds around you.

The human brain has a tendency to change its dominant EEG waves towards any external sounds around it. This can be positive and relaxing for some, but stressing for others.

Hypnotic Effects of Certain Sound Waves

Audio sensory can induce hypnosis in certain situations. This is known as binaural beat and it is an auditory illusion.

It can be achieved when two different sine waves with frequencies lower than 1500Hz and fewer than 40Hz between the two, are placed in each ear.

For example, if your right ear is listening to 1400Hz and your left ear is listening to 1370Hz, you can achieve this effect because your brain will automatically pick up a third tone – the binaural beat.

When the brain hears a binaural beat, it can cause an individual to feel hypnotized by the sound. In comparison of EEG’s brains that are listening to binaural beats and those that are experiencing meditation have nearly the exact same readings on the EEG charts.

White Noise for Maximizing Focus

White noise can provide a soothing and relaxing background noise, which can maximize your overall focus. There are different levels of ‘white’ noise which can include pink noise, white noise, and brown noise just to name a few.

When you are interested in improving your ability to concentrate, these different types of white noise can provide the stimulus your brain needs to focus, by delivering just the right amount of sound without the distraction of lyrics or intense musical beats.

The right kind of white noise can help relax your brain while still allowing you to hone your focus on the task in front of you.

If having background noise is something you enjoy and you want to increase your focus, try out the different degrees of white noise to find the one that will work best for you and your brain.

Sounds and focus directly correlate to your productivity. Finding the right balance of either silence, white noise, or stimulating music, can be crucial to your focus and therefore, your productivity.

Each and every one of us has a differently wired brain and sound will affect us differently, so it’s up to you to find what works best for your focus – silence, white noise, or your favorite songs.

Are you struggling with finding focus? Have you recently tried white noise? Let us know about your experience!

See also:

Does White Noise Really Help You Sleep Better?
How Music Affects Your Productivity

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How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money

How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money - Interview with R.J. Weiss from

This is an interview-style post with R.J. Weiss from The Ways to Wealth.

Hey R.J. What’s your background and what do you do?

I blog about all things personal finance at The Ways to Wealth.

Before I went full-time into blogging, I spent ten years in the financial services industry. Specifically, helping families buy the right type of life insurance.

During my time with a full-time job, I’ve always had different side hustles going on. From freelance writing, Amazon FBA, conversion rate optimization, to website design — there were many projects I pursued outside of work.

How did you start your career in finance?

I got started in finance straight out of college working for my the family insurance business. As I love the financial planning side of things, I choose to specialize in life insurance planning. This led me down the path to obtaining the CFP® Certification.

What made you start blogging?

The Ways to Wealth, which I started in 2016, has been my 5th blog.

The others mostly fizzled out most due to a lack of interest. But, in 2009 I started a personal finance blog called (no longer around) that had some success.

The idea was to write about what I was learning about studying to take the CFP®. The blog was, by all means, a success. I was able to gain valuable knowledge, pass the CFP® exam, earn some extra money and build up a good community.

I then took this knowledge and started a business blog, which allowed the insurance agency I was working for to generate leads.

I started The Ways to Wealth because my passion is personal finance–from investing to travel hacking, I love the challenge of optimizing my finances.

How was The Ways to Wealth born?

I didn’t have much of a plan for starting The Ways to Wealth when I purchased the domain name.

I was actually thinking it would be a niche site, which was inspired by Pat Flynn’s niche site duel. Then, I came across the income reports of Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and wisely changed direction to a more traditional blog.

This change came about 6-months after starting to blog.  I did a timeline of the site in one of my income reports.

What worked best when trying to grow the site?

I had a decent knowledge of SEO. So at first, I started growing the site with email outreach. One of the first posts I had about best investing books of all time, had about 15 links to it.

This was nice to start with but was quite slow to build up, as it can take a while to earn Google’s trust.

The big turning point came when I started to understand Pinterest. I spent a few frustrating weeks on the platform, then it finally started paying dividends.

I went from about 100 sessions a day to 1,000, which was huge for me at the time.

How did you get to 3 million monthly viewers on Pinterest?

the ways to wealth pinterest 3 million monthly views

I lay out my Pinterest strategy here. But at the core the idea is to:

1) Write high-quality content that Pinners want to click through, read, and share.

2) Pin to my own and high-quality group boards, with a keyword-rich description.

3) Continue to Pin my best pins across my own boards/group boards, ruthlessly eliminating Pins that don’t perform well.

One thing to keep in mind is impressions don’t mean much on Pinterest. What counts are clicks to your website. So, you want to design not for impressions but clicks.

What aspects of the online business are you outsourcing or automating and how?

The first thing I outsourced was Pinterest design. I’ll design about 30-40 pins a month, so this was big time saver for me.

Of course, it took some work to get going. At first, I hired 5 or so people on Fiverr. I found one decent designer but the work quality deteriorated over time.

I then went to Upwork and posted a job for a  graphic designer. I found a great team down in Argentina, who I’m very happy with.

I’m currently experimenting with working with a ghostwriter. A few of my latest posts have been transcribed from my recording, with the ghostwriter making sense of it all.

I can compile about 3 posts in 90 minutes, then take another 90 or so minutes to prepare them. Saving me around 3-4 hours per post this way.

What’s your main income stream and why do you think it works for you?

My main source of income for the blog is affiliate revenue. It works because the partners I do have are high-quality businesses, who deliver value and solve real problems. This makes it easy to naturally link to such a partner.

When did you start making more than $10K/month and what was the turning point?

My first month over $10K was in January of 2018. In December of 2017, income was around $3,000 and in July of 2017 around $500. So, it was definitely a jump.

What happened then in January?

First, personal finance is at its peak interest in January.

Second, I had multiple Pins go viral.

Third, in November I started driving traffic via Facebook to the site. So, in January I could take campaigns I’d been fine-tuning for a few weeks and scale them.

How do you balance work and family life?

I have a routine I stick to Monday through Friday.

When inside of my designated working hours, I work. When outside of these hours, I’m not.

This is a lot easier said than done. But the thing important for me is not to take work everywhere I go. This means I don’t have any apps on my phone that are work-related (email, analytics, etc..)

What are you 3 best finance tips for newbies?

  • Focus on your savings rate. How much you save is the most important decision you’ll make.
  • Small incremental improvements add up over time. My favorite example is increasing your savings rate 1% every quarter, means you’ll be saving 20% of your income in just 5 years.
  • Study happiness. Become a student on how to increase your level of happiness. The natural result is you’ll want less overtime, making the game of personal finance a lot easier to win.

What books, blogs or podcasts help you stay motivated along the way of growing an online business?

I read a fair amount to keep fresh ideas in my head.

My favorite podcast is The Tim Ferriss Show.

Two blogs I enjoy reading are:

Farnam Street
Barking up the Wrong Tree

And as far as books. I try to read one a week. A few books I would recommend to online entrepreneurs would be:

Deep Work by Cal Newport
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

Pin this post if you enjoyed the interview.

Check out my interview with R.J. from TheWaystoWealth to see how he entered the finance niche, started making money blogging, began bringing traffic from Pinterest and monetizing it with affiliate marketing, and is now making $10,000/month from his online business. #blogger #interview #blogtraffic #incomeideas #income