Skip to Content

How to Read in a Noisy Environment: The Definitive Guide

“This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases”

How to Read in a Noisy Environment

how to read in a noisy environment?

In the modern world, a noise or noisy environment is a usual companion for many people. Sometimes, it may become very bothering and distractive while working or studying.

I’ve studied all possible ways on how to deal with noise and read in a noisy environment.

Go through this definitive guide, and you will find one or more ways to solve your issue.


Get a pair of earplugs

how to read in a noisy environment?

It is probably the most straightforward way to solve reading and study in a noisy environment.

Earplugs are great to cancel outside noises and cheap to buy. You can find earplugs at Amazon from as low as $0.09 per pair. But if you want to get something more serious, you may find it as well.

Here is an excellent earplug from 3M (Amazon’s Choice)


Get ear protectors

how to read in a noisy environment?

It is a next and more thorough level of dealing with ambient noise. Ear protectors are the more expensive solution than earplugs, yet more effective too.

You may find a decent ear protector for less than $10 at Amazon, but here are Amazon’s Choice ear protectors.


how to read in a noisy environment?
how to read in a noisy environment?

Get noise-canceling headphones

how to read in a noisy environment?

Noise-canceling headphones are headphones that reduce unwanted ambient sounds using active noise control. Noise cancellation makes it possible to listen to audio content without raising the volume excessively. Noise-canceling headphones can improve listening enough to offset the effect of distracting noisy outside activities completely.

It is the most expensive solution out of three, which we talked about above. Prices start from $25 at Amazon.

But here is Amazon’s choice Noise Cancelling Headphones.



There are many categories of noise-canceling headphones, earplugs, and ear protectors. Find a comfortable one for yourself. Maybe try visiting your local store and test different solutions there.

Historic fact

Acoustic Ear Protectors (earmuffs) first originated during World War II. Pilots of military aircraft wore leather flaps over their ears, supposedly to protect against noise-induced hearing loss due to engine noise.


Suppose you work in an office, social, or studying environment. In that case, you may want to explain why you are using earplugs or headphones.

Tell people that they can still talk to you and encourage them to tap you on the shoulder, step next to you, or get your attention in another way.

And please, make sure that your boss has agreed to this arrangement beforehand.

how to read in a noisy environment?
how to read in a noisy environment?

Listen to music

how to read in a noisy environment?

Suppose you can think, concentrate, and study when listening to music. In that case, this technique can be an excellent way to cancel background noises. The best choice for concentration is classical and lo-fi music.

To find the music that fits best for your concentration needs testing.

All you have to do is go to YouTube and search the following keywords:

  • music for reading
  • music for studying
  • music for concentration
  • music for working
  • classical music for studying

YouTube will give multiple compositions and playlists to listen to. Just start testing each of them, and in no time, you will music that helps you concentrate better and ignore ambient noise.


Play with volume to find a level, which is comfortable for you. If the music is too loud, you won’t be able to concentrate, and you might bother your colleagues, if in the office.


As an alternative, use white noise. White noise is a static sound used to block background noise. It is commonly used with babies. If white noise doesn’t suit you, try pink noise, grey noise, or brown noise. You can easily find these on the internet or download an application for your phone.

Depends on the situation, you may listen to music from the computer speakers or using headphones.


Training yourself to work in a noisy environment

how to read in a noisy environment?

Sometimes, you may not have any other choice than working in a noisy place. So in that situation, you can start to train yourself.

how to read in a noisy environment?
how to read in a noisy environment?

Practice meditation in a noisy environment

how to read in a noisy environment?

Practice makes perfect for Dan Suski, founder of YachtList, who meditates in increasingly distracting settings from honing his focus. The more you meditate amidst distractions, the better prepared you’ll be when you sit down to work in a noisy environment.

“Master meditation at home in a quiet room (apps like Headspace helped me), then try to meditate in more distracting environments. In time, you’ll find it’s much easier to focus despite the noisy distractions common at coffee shops and co-working spaces.”

Dan Suski

Ask people around you to be quieter

how to read in a noisy environment?

This solution will work best if the noise comes from people around you: colleagues in the office, family members, or neighbors.

Colleagues at an office

how to read in a noisy environment?

If you cannot get away from the noise, such as a radio playing at work, consider raising the matter politely with everyone involved. It is essential that everyone in a workplace or study environment feels comfortable. You may find out that you are not the only one who has an issue.

For example, at my last workplace, we set the rule that everyone must wear headphones, and it worked.


If your colleagues refuse to keep the noise level to a minimum, consider talking with the HR department.

Family members

how to read in a noisy environment?

Explain to your family members that there is a time when you do your job duties, and your home is your office. Agree on the working hours, when no one must distract you.

See if you can convince your kids to enjoy some ‘quiet time’ when you need to study. It might sound like an impossible task, but you never know unless you try! It might help to get creative.

For example, you could buy them a special set of coloring books or paints that only come out when you need to study. Or perhaps you could choose a TV show they could watch with headphones while you study or work.


how to read in a noisy environment?

Sometimes your neighbors might be noisy. And the most effective way is to go and politely ask them to be quieter.

Schedule your work differently

how to read in a noisy environment?

You will genuinely appreciate this method if you will be able to implement it.

Mindset change

In Dan Kennedy’s book “No B.s. Time Management for Entrepreneurs,” there is excellent, not technic, but mindset element author shares.

Dan recommends identifying the mass’ (the social, majority of people) the busiest periods (rush hours) and act conversely.

For example, there is a traffic jam in big cities in the morning hours (7 am – 9 am) and evening hours (5 pm-8 pm). It means you as a prudent person will arrange your movings either before or after these busy hours.

The same principle can be applied to visiting stores, restaurants, and other public places.

With this in mind, we can apply this principle to our work.

Robby Berthiaume, co-founder and CEO of Bull & Beard, knows that it’s easier to get some types of work done in loud environments than others. That’s why he plans his schedule based on where he is and the level of concentration he needs for the job at hand.

“I plan my schedule proactively, so I’m generally working on communication, new business, and collaboration when I’m in noisier environments, and I schedule work sessions for more creative or strategic work when I’m in a quieter space.”

Robby Berthiaume

My friend and successful entrepreneur, Alex Tolkachev, suggest the following:

“If you know you’re going to be in a noisy environment, prepare an ‘easy’ to-do list for that situation. Pick tasks you’ll be able to achieve even if you’re a bit distracted, like emailing your tutors for advice or brainstorming ideas for your next assignment.”

Alex Tolkachev

If you work from home, you can adapt your schedule. You may work from 5 am-7 am and then from 10 am-2 pm. Just adjust for the day cycle in your home. 

But what if none of the solutions listed above didn’t work for you.

Their couple more hardcore resolutions.

Find or build a soundproof room

how to read in a noisy environment?

Level 1: Simple soundproof solution

how to read in a noisy environment?

It is a short-term strategy to isolate the room you are working in. Make sure that your windows and your doors are closed. Sounds usually penetrate through holes and gaps.

The following ideas can help you reduce the level of background noise:

  • Various barriers can mute distracting sounds. Place a few pillows against the wall to absorb the sound from the other side of the wall.
  • Buy thermal drapes for your windows. They stop outside sounds as well as the flow of heat.
  • Place a carpet on the floor to block the sound from downstairs.

Level 2: Bulletproof soundproof solution

how to read in a noisy environment?

If you work at home and own the place, you can call a professional to soundproof your room. This solution will be expensive but will also give you more freedom and long-term satisfaction.

Things to keep in mind:

  • There are several ways to soundproof your house. Soundstop panels can be installed on the walls and rubber mats placed on the floor.
  • Check out at 3-5 companies who do the soundproofing. Don’t pick the first one and try to bargain.

how to read in a noisy environment?
how to read in a noisy environment?

Move into a quiet location

how to read in a noisy environment?

Your living place

how to read in a noisy environment?

Moving out of your rented house or apartment might seem like a radical solution. Still, if you are tired of background noises and working at home, this might be the simplest long-term solution. You need to take care of your health and your stress level.

Plan your move correctly. Ideally, you should research different areas and investigate the noise level. You don’t want to move to another noisy place!

If you find a place you like, visit it at different times to ensure that the noise level is acceptable.

Identify potential problems. Do not move next to a football stadium or a nightclub. Avoid bars and places where there are high concentrations of students.

At your office

how to read in a noisy environment?

If none of the solutions above hadn’t worked for you at your office, try to find another room inside the building you work at. You may talk to your HR department or boss to find a space for you.

Some offices have a conference room reserved only during meetings or when a client comes to discuss a contract.So you may consider this option.


Libraries are considered as one of the silent heavens, which is the perfect place for studying. Though it takes time to travel, the best part is that the individual concentrates better and can give a quality output.

What if you don’t have the opportunity to move out or even change the room?

how to read in a noisy environment?
how to read in a noisy environment?

Relax and take a break from the noise

how to read in a noisy environment?

Background noises can be extremely stressful and detrimental to your health, or you have just become tired of them. Good ways to regain your concentration are:

  • Take a walk outside and breathe fresh air
  • Do stretching exercises
  • Do breathing gymnastics.
  • Do a little cardio workout (10 push-ups– 3 times) or/and (10 squats – 3 times)
  • Do small jumps (20 jumps – 3 times)
  • Meditation outside. This is an excellent rejuvenation practice.

Rejuvenation practice

Go outside and find a bench somewhere near your office or home. For the best results, it better to be a quiet place. Sit down. Close your eyes. Do deep, and slowly inhale for 8 seconds. Hold for 12 seconds. Slowly exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat 10-12 times.

Try mediation apps. There are great yet free ones on the market.

Medical fact

It is recommended to take a break every 20 or 30 minutes, as they are beneficial for your joints and muscles and help reset and relax your mind. Mental energy would be lost if the individual studies too long without breaks.


how to read in a noisy environment?

Final Thoughts

In this “How to Read in a Noisy Environment: The Definitive Guide,” I tried to list all possible solutions to the problem—starting from as simple as buying a pair of earplugs to changing your neighborhood to a quieter one.

I hope that you have found the solution to your specific situation.

How to Read with Understanding: The Definitive Guide

How To Read with Understanding
How To Read with Understanding