White noise controversy
Experts largely disagree about the effects of task-irrelevant noise on children that are inattentive or hyperactive. However, a small study (involving 51 secondary-school students) published in Behavioral and Brain Functions, reported significant performance benefits among inattentive schoolchildren when utilizing white noise. Oddly, the background noise had the opposite effect on children who were normally attentive; their classroom performance actually decreased, according to the authors. Furthermore, there was no real evidence of performance benefit among children with hyperactivity. Göran B.W. Söderland, PhD, of Stockholm University in Sweden, commenting on the findings, said “This finding could have practical applications, offering noninvasive and nonpharmacological help to improve school results in children with attention problems.” Click here to read an article from Globe and Mail that discusses this study more.