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Listening to Music at Work Could Really F**k Up Your Brain

There was a time when I had music on in the background all the time. Throughout high school and university, there wasn’t an assignment or essay written without something on the turntable or cassette deck.

But as I got older, I began to notice something odd. Instead of helping me think, the music became a distraction. Today when I write, say, Ongoing History shows or work on other thought-intensive stuff, I have to have complete silence.

Up until now I felt embarrassed and ashamed about that. What’s wrong with me? Have I lost some part of my ability to appreciate music? I still love music–just not when I’m working.

Fortunately, no. And science provides the answer.  From

A new study has found that when we’re young, we can listen to music and concentrate on remembering information, but as we get older, the music acts as more of a distraction than anything else.

The link between music at our workplace and cognitive function hasn’t really been studied much in the past, which is strange when you think about it, because it’s such a common component of many office environments. Whether it’s the radio humming ineffectually in the corner, or a series of tunes being carefully curated by the resident ‘music expert,’ most of us are pretty used to having it around as we work.

Well, that’s a relief. I think. But it just proves I’m getting older.  More info here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38165 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “Listening to Music at Work Could Really F**k Up Your Brain

  • Same here Alan, for the music at least. But I found that, I work better with talk radio in the background rather than just silence.


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