ADHD: White noise helps you concentrate

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ADHD: White noise helps you concentrate
ADHD: White noise helps you concentrate

White noise helps you concentrate

People with ADHD usually have trouble concentrating. The drug methylphenidate is part of the standard therapy, but many sufferers are looking for alternative or additional help. US pharmacologists are now describing one of them in a review: so-called white noise, which is supposed to absorb other noises and has already proven itself as a sleep aid.

"Meaningless noise with a volume of 65 to 80 decibels offers maximum benefit," reports the team led by Daniel Berlau from Regis University in Denver. 65 decibels correspond to a conversation at room volume, 80 is more like a loud vacuum cleaner or a washing machine in the spin cycle. The noise carpet makes it easier for those affected to read and write, among other things. For example, children with ADHD were allowed to work under three conditions: in a quiet environment, with incomprehensible chatter or with a noise of 70 decibels. In the latter case, children read faster and wrote more words, and in another experiment, they were less likely to be distracted when white noise was played through headphones.

In the experiments described, most of the children would have been under the influence of a psychotropic drug at the same time. But cognitive functions such as attention would also benefit from background noise.

The noise can do more harm than good to children without attention deficit disorder, warn Berlau and his colleagues. This is because the noise affects different people differently: a certain background noise is necessary, but too much or too little is harmful. According to one theory, in ADHD the brain lacks dopamine and thus basic activation."Therefore, people with ADHD need more external noise to perform at their optimal cognitive level."

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