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I recently have been trying to look into whether or not white noise works as a means to block out external sounds so I can concentrate. However, I want to know whether it actually impairs studying and reading. I do not care if it has no benefit, as long as it has no negative effects.

I am trying to block out the sounds of my brother through the walls when he is playing his xbox. As I am hyper-sensitive to noise and any abrupt noises what so ever throw me out of my concentration.

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  • $\begingroup$ Not sure; however post-rock instrumental music is the solution. $\endgroup$ – xyz123 Dec 20 '17 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ Buy your brother some headphones and forget about the white noise. $\endgroup$ – astronat Dec 21 '17 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ Always worth experimenting with. I remember in my undegrad I was mental and went as far as listening to particular bands, chewing different flavored gum, etc all for specific subjects. Come exam time I'd listen to the bands and chew the same game to 'get into the same mindset' as the study. I don't think it actually worked though... $\endgroup$ – Eppicurt Dec 21 '17 at 1:06
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    $\begingroup$ Is an option to go study to the university library available to you? Otherwise, I would consider discussing the problem with your brother to try to find a compromise on the schedule when his activities will not hinder your studing. $\endgroup$ – MR0205 Dec 21 '17 at 6:38
  • $\begingroup$ If the white noise has too be very loud then it will probably impair learning, because loud noises create stress and reduce working memory capacity. $\endgroup$ – DesignerAnalyst Dec 22 '17 at 7:58
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There are recent studies that suggest that unstructured background noise, including white noise, may actually improve studying and recall. The benefits are unclear and likely person-dependent, but there is at least no obvious bad effect.

Bottom line: sounds like a safe strategy for you to try.

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