White Noise May Be Effective Treatment for ADHD

Attention may be improved by white noise
Attention may be improved by white noise

Your kid has trouble paying attention to homework. You’ve tried everything: creating a quiet study corner, making sure she’s well-rested and fed, removing distractions like TV and cell phones.

Here’s a surprising new strategy that might work: turn on the vacuum.

A Scandinavian study found that kids with ADHD do better on tasks that require attention if there’s white noise going in the background. A lot of white noise. The equivalent of having a vacuum cleaner running nearby.

The white noise only helps kids with attention deficit disorder, though. If your child is distracted because she can’t wait to get to soccer practice or she finds the assignment boring, the vacuuming will just make things worse.

For kids with ADHD, the improvement is dramatic. It may be as powerful as drugs.

Researchers are now trying to figure out how to use their white noise findings in classrooms. There’s an obvious challenge: some children find the noise distracting, while others are soothed by it. One idea: have the ADHD kids where headphones with white noise to keep them focused.

These studies are in fairly early stages, but they hold a lot of promise. Especially for kids who can’t use stimulant medications due to health concerns, or for families who aren’t comfortable medicating young children for behavioral issues.

In the meantime, there’s little risk to running your own experiments at home. Even if your child’s homework doesn’t get done faster, your floors will be cleaner.

Photo: The Master Shake Signal

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