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Benefits of Listening to Music or White Noise While Reading- Alex Pearson

Have you ever thought about if listening to music or white noise while reading will enhance your own experience?  Or do you see yourself as a purist and distance the two activities as far away as possible?  I enjoy listening for many reasons, mostly because I can put on scary music and immerse myself deeper into the horrors on the pages in front of me! Hopefully, this little article will not be as polarizing as whether or not pineapple belongs on pizza (it does!) or whether a dog wears a pair of pants on its back two legs or all four of its legs (no clue!)  If any one person’s reading journey is improved because of this article then it was a success.  So, why should you listen to background music or white noise while you read?  Let’s find out!

  1. Some music and white noise contain multiple frequencies that help block or mask other sounds.   If you are someone like me and can get easily distracted by the sound of a car whizzing by then background music is super helpful to help drown out those happenings.  I got so tired of always looking out the window every time I heard the noise of an approaching car, but one of my favorite spots to read was by the window!  With some background music or white noise, I am less susceptible to either hearing or being affected by a disruptive noise and being able to stay focused on whatever I am reading longer!  The same goes for birds chirping or any unplanned noises… my ADHD is put to rest with my music app turned on next to me or a record playing in the other room at low volume!

  1. Tinnitus, the perception of noise or ringing in the ears, is a terrible disorder for a hardcore reader to have!  Some low music in the background or a sound machine will help fill the void and reduce the volume levels of the perceived ringing in the ears.  Some studies say this condition affects 15-20% of people… think of all the increased collective reading that could be accomplished!

3. When reading horror books I like to play horror movie soundtracks to help my senses dive deeper into the story and put me on edge a little more.  The IT (2017) soundtrack is quite successful at keeping me on my toes while reading something creepy - it’s full of eerie tunes, creepy kids, and more.  The Suspiria (1977) soundtrack with music by Italian progressive rock band Goblin is extremely unnerving given the proper companion book!  The soundtrack is full of breathy chanting, tubular bells, and unsettling guitar and keyboard sounds.  If I just want some low-key music to accompany any sort of book, I might listen to Arrival (2016) for the wonders of Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson or simply put on some classical music.  So think about upping the stakes at whatever you are reading by adding complementary soundtracks in the background!

  1. If music or white noise does not spark joy, then there are always similar benefits that can be obtained by using a sound machine or an app that plays things like: rainstorms, crackling fire, desert winds, harbor noises, etc.  A great app to use is Rain Rain.  Sometimes I like to turn on that rainstorm when I am in bed at night because thunder and rain are some of my favorite things to hear when reading.  It always makes me feel like Bastian in The Neverending Story!

Whether or not you will now start listening to music or a white noise/sound machine while reading, at least now you are aware of some of the potential benefits.  All types of music and sounds do not work for everyone, but do you know if any will work for you yet?  It’s always worth a try!

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