Does background noise help you focus during your workday?
Does ambient noise relax you when you’re trying to go to sleep?
Personally, I concentrate best in silence, but silence is not always an option in my office. So I’ve been exploring “white noise” websites, to see if I can find the perfect combination of sounds that simultaneously relax, inspire, and help me focus.
Here are four sites I’ve tested, with a brief commentary about each.
Since I own Blogging Bistro, it made sense that I would visit Coffitivity first. As you’d expect, Coffitivity recreates the ambient sounds of a café. My favorite: “Morning murmur.” App available for Android and iOS.
- Morning murmur
- Lunchtime lounge
- University undertones
A simple, web-based tool in which you can play one or more sounds simultaneously. I found “white noise” irritating – it sounded like a fan on steroids. “Night” with an owl hooting was nice, but that owl can get irritating after a while.
- Coffee shop
- White noise
This site offers the greatest variety of sounds and customized control (via a slider) of sound frequencies. Since I’ll be on an airplane this week, I tested “cabin noise.” Thankfully, the sound file didn’t include screaming toddlers or tipsy passengers!
This site has a ton of sounds to explore, offers the most comprehensive customization options, and is available as an iOS app. Thumbs up (or perhaps I should say, “Ears up”).
- Synthetic noises (white noise, grey noise, sweep noise, impulse noise)
- Natural noises (rain on a tent, distant thunder, waterfall, cat purr, etc.)
- Tonal drones (didgeridrone, bagpipes, Tibetan choir, Himilayan bowls)
- Brainwaves (isochronic, binaural harmonic, etc.)
- Voices (babble, coffee shop, etc.)
- Industrial (fan, laundromat, traffic, fireworks)
- Atmospheres (in utero, spaceship, ferryboat, froggy pond)
- Patternscapes (shortwave radio, African trance, clockwork)
With Noisli, it’s easy to mix-and-match sounds. And if you like staring at your screen while you’re listening to ambient noise, it has a color generator, as well. Free download app for iOS.
In addition to offering sound combos that enhance productivity or help you relax (rain + leaves is my favorite), you can create your own combos, such as a crackling fire at the seaside at night. Or a train passing by a coffeeshop during a thunderstorm (not recommended!)
- Water stream
- Summer night
- Coffee shop
- White Noise
- Pink Noise
- Brown Noise
Give ‘em a try!
I’d love it if you’d test some of the sounds at these sites and let me know two things:
- Which site and sound(s) you like best.
- Which sounds grate on your eardrums.