In general, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, like the rest of us, works best in a quiet environment. Noise from an open window, kids, dogs, appliances, fans, air-conditioners, ringing phones, shredders, coffee machines, or a loudly growling stomach can make NaturallySpeaking inaccurate.

So this is a perfect excuse to shoo away the dog and kids, shut off the phone, and drink the last of the coffee (and spit out the gum). If you’re at work, it’s an excuse to close the door to your office. (Lucky you, if you have one.)

Nuance recommends that the best way to do all your training is in the environment in which you plan to use NaturallySpeaking. If it’s a loud, busy place, do it there. If you change environments, rerun your audio tests.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking also works best where the environment deadens sound, such as areas with carpets, heavy drapes, or blinds. Hard surfaces such as hard floors, glass windows, granite counters, and metal furniture cause echoes that you don’t notice but that Dragon NaturallySpeaking may.

If your environment has become noisier than it was when you trained NaturallySpeaking, you may do well to repeat the training.

Besides acoustical noise — noise that you can hear — you may be surrounded by the hum of electrical noise. Electrical noise is the result of electricity and magnetic fields zinging around near your microphone or sound card. PCs, laptops, and monitors generate a lot of these fields, so try backing a bit farther away from your PC and monitor when you dictate.