How To Reduce or Eliminate Distractions When You Have an Acquired Brain Injury

Keep it quiet;

Go to an area with the lowest level of background noise possible,in group situations have the fewest amount of people possible in a group situation,ask people to take it in turns talking. Close the door if possible in a busy area

Background music on low;

Use the background music on low using headphones to reduce,blockout intermittent noise,people on the telephone or office conversations etc.

Ear plugs/ noise counceling headphones;

Ear plugs or ear protectors can be brought in a hardware store or online. You can use them to block out any distracting noise. You can buy good quality headsets or noise counceling headphones they can be extremely beneficial at reducing or blocking out noise without music playing. People may interrupt you less if you have headphones on/in.

Use a filter;

After an acquired brain injury some people develop tinnitus. You can get ear filters/hearing aids themselves are provided by audiologists. The type you will require will depend on your hearing test results to see what discrimination (the ability to hear the spoken words in the mist of background noise) “by filling out some of the background noise you can hear better even though you are hearing less.”


Eliminate clutter in your work space as clutter is very distracting for me mind as well as making it harder to find documents etc.set up your work space to minimise distractions these distractions include windows,the fridge,busy walkways at home or at the office. Face your desk to the wall instead of a window or hallway.

Redirecting your focus:

Practice redirecting your focus to get back on task if you find your mind wondering through practice it can be improved. Talking to your self saying “stay focused ” this will help in many everyday situations.


  1. Turn on the answering machine
  2. Don’t answer your phone when trying to get work done.
  • Door sign:
  • Put a do not disturb sign on your door let your colleagues,friends and family know what the sign means.
  • Go invisible:
  • If your working on the internet and you are signed up for instant messaging or voice over internet services,put a sign that you are unavailable or pick the invisible option.
  • Over stimulating environments:
  • Avoid overstimulating environments if you struggle with filtering issues an inability to filter out exstrenuous auditory or visual stimulus the best way to avoid this don’t go to over stimulating environments consider having dinner in a small quiet Resturant rather than a large noisey one.if your friends are planning to go to a bar/pub which is busy invite your friends to come to yours for drinks instead.
  • Basic needs:
  • We all have a hard time paying attention when we are tired,hungry or need to go to the bathroom even without a brain injury.
  • Set a clear goal or objective:
  • Set a clear goal in your mind for what you are doing,preferably written down on a schedule or paper on plain view as a memory jogger as this will help you return to your task after being distracted.
  • Write it down:
  • If you are asked to do something or think of something you need to do/remember either write it on apiece of paper or set reminders in your phone. With any distraction you may not remember the information later if you don’t have it written down.
  • Highlight:
  • When reading information you need to retain use a highlighter to help keep your focus and attention it will also help you keep track of where you got up to if you get distracted or go for a break.
  • Notes:
  • When speaking from your notes use your finger to track where you are on the page and so if you are interrupted with a question you can carry on where you left off. medication may be another alternative.
  • Some information in this blog is taken from the book: The Brain Injury Survival Kit [Paperback] [2008] 1 Ed. Dr. Cheryle Sullivan MD

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