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“BRING ON THE NOISE”

Illustration by Daniel Zender

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”

-Aristotle Onassis

In college, I could never study in the library. Besides having uncomfortable chairs, it was just too quiet. Even now, while charting, it helps me to have some background noise. My preference is to type while listening to Power 105.1 Breakfast Club interviews. Joshua Rothman of The New Yorker discusses how Western society has used distraction to exert autonomy being “active and rebellious.” He postulates that we should embrace our “unfocussed selves” and that perhaps our diversions (i.e. social media) have become too predictable.

While the adverse effects of environmental noise on a person’s attention have been proven, some studies show that low noise or chatter helps the brain identify the most important information more easily. Moderate noise aids in creative thinking. Intuitively, it is easy to understand how noise could make it difficult to concentrate and process information. However, this distraction, in turn, promotes more abstract processing, sort of a “service road” or alternate route of thought. The extra work the brain has to do in order to circumvent the distraction boosts creativity.

This makes me think about life’s ambient noise and its effect on the spiritual mind. To be honest, I have been struggling to focus enough to execute certain personal and professional goals. It is like my worries won’t just “shut up!” These emotions won’t let me live. I keep telling myself “Girl, you have work to do!” It makes me think on the other side of this “noise” is an amazing breakthrough or discovery. During this time, it has become imperative to be still. The challenge is that in the quiet, feelings scream louder than ever. I am still learning to master the emotions and channel it toward creativity. Even here, it has taken me three days to write this short entry. Pardon the transparency. There is so much more work to do. I pray my mind sits perched just above the chaos to complete each task. If not, I’ll harness the noise and call myself a rebel.

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Dr. Dee is a board-certified neurologist with specialty training in clinical neurophysiology committed to educate the community on how to live more healthy lives.


References:

1. PLoS One. 2014 Nov 13;9(11):e112768. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112768. eCollection 2014.

“Different effects of adding white noise on cognitive performance of sub-, normal and super-attentive school children.”

Helps SK, Bamford S, Sonuga-Barke EJ, Söderlund GB.

2. Nielsen, Emily G., “The Coffee Shop Effect: Investigating the Relationship between Ambient Noise and Cognitive

Flexibility” (2015). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 3197.

3. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014 Oct; 11(10): 9938–9953.

Acoustic Noise Alters Selective Attention Processes as Indicated by Direct Current (DC) Brain Potential Changes

Karin Trimmel, Julia Schätzer, and Michael Trimmel *Paul B. Tchounwou, External Editor

About me

Decontee Jimmeh , M.D. is a well-known and respected neurologist serving Birmingham and surrounding locations in the U.S. As a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana and Temple University School of Medicine, Dr. Dee is a sought-after voice in the world of neurology. Her expertise and understanding of these conditions are coupled with…

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PO Box 43473 Birmingham, AL 35243