JUN 04, 2024 10:47 AM PDT

Pink Noise Benefits in ADHD

WRITTEN BY: Greta Anne

A meta-analysis published in Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry sought to explore the effects of white and pink noise on cognitive performance in individuals with ADHD. They incorporated data from 335 participants across 13 studies, employing a random-effects model to accommodate potential variability among studies. Eleven studies included pediatric participants, while two involved adult college students. Most studies involved participants diagnosed with ADHD, with a few including those exhibiting elevated ADHD symptoms without formal diagnosis.

"The noise provides stimulation to the brain without providing information, and so it doesn’t distract,” said Joel Nigg, PhD., one of the authors of this study, to ABC News. The primary meta-analysis revealed a statistically significant positive effect of white and pink noise on cognitive performance in children and young adults with ADHD or elevated attention problems. 

One study included in the meta-analysis specifically examined the effects of pink noise. This specific study assessed the impact of pink noise on a small sample of participants with ADHD. The study found a positive effect of pink noise on cognitive performance, contributing to the overall effect observed in the meta-analysis. Although the sample size was limited, and further research is needed to generalize these findings, the inclusion of pink noise highlights the potential for various types of noise to benefit individuals with ADHD.

Using the GRADE criteria, the researchers rated the confidence in the effect size as moderate. This rating reflects some concerns about potential bias due to difficulties in masking participants and incomplete outcome reporting. However, the overall evidence suggests a reliable positive effect of noise interventions on cognitive performance in ADHD.

The findings from this meta-analysis suggest that white and pink noise can modestly improve cognitive performance in individuals with ADHD or high attention problems. This supports the optimal arousal theory of ADHD, which hypothesizes that external noise may help individuals with ADHD achieve an optimal level of arousal for cognitive tasks. 

This meta-analysis provides valuable evidence that pink and white noise can enhance cognitive performance in individuals with ADHD. The intervention's safety, ease of use, and low cost make it an attractive option for clinicians and individuals seeking alternative or complementary treatments for ADHD.  

Sources: Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, ABC News 


About the Author
Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)
Greta holds her PharmD and is a writer at Labroots. She also has a strong background in neuroscience & psychology. When she is not working as a pharmacist or a writer, she enjoys fostering her creative initiatives such as traveling, working out, spending time at the beach, and cooking!
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