How to beat noise distraction during exam time

Noise pollution contributes to stress, hypertension, and sleep deprivation.

By Susmita Nag

Noise pollution has been adversely impacting the quality of life of all sections of society, especially students preparing for exams. Neighbours blaring loud music or chatter pouring through your porous windows may distract your child from the task at hand.

Furthermore, the impact of noise pollution on our physical and mental health and wellbeing is well documented. It not only creates distraction and contributes to cognitive abilities which are essential during exam preparation, but it also contributes to stress, hypertension, and sleep deprivation.

What becomes essential in such situations is that we manage our own internal peace. Fortunately, there are few things that can help to mitigate the effects of noise pollution during examination time.


Earplugs are the most common wearables that come to mind. But there are other options to explore. Silicone ear plugs with earmuffs also work well to cancel up to 60 per cent of outside noise. Today, blinkers are also available which limit one’s sense of sound and light, helping the person concentrate.

Read| 5 practical tips for parents to help students during exams

Insulate windows

The best way to prevent external noise from disturbing your peace at home is through windows and doors with sound insulation features. It is the most effective long-term solution to regulate sound inside the house. Our regular doors and windows are not that effective against high pitch noise which is why you can even hear the whistle of the night watchman. Quality windows and doors from good brands can go a long way in keeping the unwanted noise out. Gaps around windows and doors are effectively plugged with silicone sealant. A robust locking system at multiple points ensures that casement windows and doors are tightly shut to cut out outside noise. Sound insulating windows include two layers wherein a protective layer is placed behind the actual window. A buffer zone emerges between the two layers which provide additional insulation.

Heavy curtains

If you cannot go for installation of new windows and doors immediately, you can arrange the rooms to block external sound. You can cover thin windows with heavy curtains. Align heavy furniture such as bookcase towards the side of noisy neighbour. Plug the gaps in windows with newspapers. You can also place a few pillows against the wall to absorb the sound from the other side when on the bed.

Read| Why a good night’s sleep is important before exams

White or pink noise

One can also use white or pink noise to block out external distracting noise. A random noise with same amplitude or intensity throughout the audible frequency range, white noise is used to block or mask other noise. Apart from reducing the effect of external noises, this background noise stimulation is known to aid cognitive functioning which promotes learning. In case white noise does not seem to be working, one may try a related noise called pink noise. With a mix of high and low frequencies, pink noise is known to improve memory. There are other types of noise including grey noise or brown noise which serve similar purpose. These types of noises can be found on the Internet and can be downloaded. Other forms of music such as classical, trance, or ambient music can also enhance competition.


While meditation can block little or no noise, it is a very effective method of increasing focus. It also helps in bringing down stress levels and enhances concentration. It essentially helps people to train their minds, and therefore becomes an enabler for concentration and focus.

(The writer is Marketing Head, Fenesta.)

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