Mind hack: turn down the TV volume

Lowering the TV volume a little more each day can help you improve focus. UC San Francisco neuroscientist Michael Merzenich told Prevention magazine that the technique trains your brain "to filter out background noise." TV-Brain Workout


  1. And all the “I don’t watch TV” snobs come out of the woodwork…

    Bad is bad no mater what the medium. At least bad TV wastes less time than a bad book.

  2. Yup the I don’t watch TV…

    cause I was gonna say:
    Not watching any TV at all helps even better!

    Besides, with Hulu and a thousand other ways to see things on line… who needs it? It’s practically designed to kill your focus.

  3. Nice idea but I think it’s got flaws. For starters, every channel has a different kind of “volume” as does every show. Some shows are loud, some are quiet. I guess if all you do is watch Law & Order marathons then this could work. But if you switch around, no.

  4. I’m afraid this won’t work for me, not because I don’t watch television, but because I always set the volume of anything, radio, television, computers, at the threshold of clear hearing. I never understood why people play their devices at such loud volumes. It is simply uncomfortable, which also prevents me from attending concerts at most public venues.
    Of course, I know a large part of my future tax dollar will be spent on Medicare/Medicaid provisions for cochlear implants provided to the large proportion of my peers and succeeding generations who are in the process of making themselves profoundly deaf in the irrational pursuit of cool. Madison Avenue loves you, suckers!

  5. Is one still an “I don’t watch TV” snob if the reason one doesn’t watch it is frugality, or lack of time?


  6. The “I don’t watch TV” snobs all have 60″ HDTVs bought 2 years ago so they can fully see the “one show the only turn on the TV for”. Or the game that they can’t miss.

    Either that, or they’re all just watching porn on the internet like everyone else.

  7. Television? Of course, I listen to Television. They’re my all time favorite band. Get “Marquee Moon”, right now!

  8. We use the Mute for commercials without exception. It takes the sting out.
    Also, in the rare case of you seeing that same old commercial with the sound on, it is a refreshingly new experience.

    That’s my advice. Mute it. Mute it as much as you can.

  9. Almost all tv is better with mute on. Except “The Backyardigans” which is better with sound on/video off.

  10. Here’s a fun experiment/trick. While you’re watching TV turn the sound down until it’s just audible. About 10 minutes later you’ll find you can turn it down even further & still hear fine. Repeat 3 or 4 times.

    Next day turn on the TV without re-adjusting the volume. You’ll be amazed, it will be almost completely inaudible yet you were listening to it fine the previous night.

  11. Wow, and the “I know all about you based on one or two offhanded comments” brigade has decided to stop by as well. Yippee for us, thanks for adding to the conversation knifie.

  12. On a semi-related note, am I the only one who leaves closed captioning turned on all the time? Honestly, I find it easier to read dialogue a lot of the time than to make it out from the audio… of course, my brain’s already been proven to be a bit wonky when it comes to auditory processing anyway.

    (I wish more shows on Hulu had captions… >_>)

  13. OK, I’ll admit I’m one of those unwashed unintellectual TV-watching plebes. Shockingly, however, I’m selective in what I watch, prefer not to watch crap and don’t watch advertising if I can help it. I also read the occasional book – yes, I know, they’re those things with the pages and the words.

  14. My CC button goes “not available.” Do you have to pay or sign up for it or something? Or is Big Brother all like, “We know you’re not deaf. No.”

  15. I guess I’m a “no tv” person coming out of the woodwork… but does it count if I don’t own a tv because after playing video games so much tv is just not interesting? Mostly since it doesn’t have a character I can’t develop. :-)

  16. @codeman38 I also always have them on.
    Beyond the reasons you mention I also like seeing what music is playing at times. Watching House introduced me to Massive Attack.

  17. @codeman38

    Haha, I thought only I did that. I don’t remember when it started but I have always enjoyed TV at or below the threshold of hearing (at least for the rest of my family) and with closed captioning on. I find it almost complements the audio….I can’t really explain it but it’s like you subconsciously absorb both together. Most of my friends think it’s weird, they just don’t understand my fascination with CC.

    To add to the original article though, I agree. I credit my good hearing to my low volume TV watching, as little of it as I do. Despite this I still blast music at deafening levels, it’s just the way I like it.

  18. I do this with my headphones, too. Of course, that then means on the subway, I can hear the music in my neighbor’s headphones…


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