Though not definitive, recent research also suggests that noise-induced stress may decrease dopamine availability in the prefrontal cortex, where the hormone controls the flow of information from other parts of the body. Stress resulting from background noise, then, may decrease higher brain function, impairing learning and memory.
I work in a cubicle farm. I hate it. Before I was fired, I worked in the corner cubicle right next to the hall and next to the conference room. There was so much traffic and noise it was a miracle that I got anything done at all. After being removed from that position in November, until today I was sitting in a cubicle with a printer. All day long, that printer would whir up, and people were standing behind me shuffling paper. I’m sure that some people don’t mind and would tell me to quit whining, but it put a lot of stress on me. On days when the printer was being used a lot, I was shaking by the time I went home. Sorry, those of you who love cubicles, I just can’t take having people standing behind me all day. It creeps me out and makes me really uncomfortable.
Finally, a computer came in so I got moved to a cubicle that doesn’t have a printer, but it’s still in a high traffic area, and people can still sneak up behind me. I’m going to have to get a mirror or something. And I’m going to have to start freelancing or get into an industry where professionals can have offices rather than work in noisy cubicle farms.
While I’m whining about cubicles, here’s a good one. Every office has that one butthole who likes to walk around, come up behind you while you’re deep in concentration on a task, and yell out “Hey, wake up over there!” Thanks, butthole, not only did you make me break my concentration, but now I have to worry about everybody thinking I’m sleeping at work. I hate you people. You know who you are.