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When it comes to working and getting things done, traditional belief leads most people to think that silence is key. Noises are what distract individuals from their work and prevent them from accomplishing the things they need to accomplish. However, more and more tests reveal truths quite opposite to this conventional way of thinking. Although too much noise can certainly be distracting, silence is not the answer either. So where does the answer lie? The answer is quite simple: background noise.
In fact, the answer is so simple it benefits us in ways we don’t even realize. As the nature of background noise goes, it’s so subtle that we may not even notice its effects, even when under our noses, or rather, under our ears (so to speak). After all, it’s no wonder why coffee shops like Starbucks are so successful. Being able to sit in a coffee shop for hours is a concept quite new to cafes, and although the majority of the appeal has to do with not being thrown out of the shop, being able to do whatever you like, including working on the computer, may be the bigger pull.
For many people, coffee shops such as Starbucks have become the office away from home, and, as science suggests, it is entirely connected to the power of background noise. In public places such as these, background noise is at such a level that it provides just the right amount of distraction to the worker, and may in turn be the reason why, if even on a subliminal level, working in such coffee shops is so popular. More specifically, such background noise markedly enhances creativity.
If you want the sort of benefits background noise can give, you don’t have to be in a coffee shop. There are many background noise generators, and here are eight that we think provide the most value.
iSerenity is a website with ambient tracks you can listen to. The website consists of only one page, with a simple white interface. All you need to do to listen to a track is click on the link. If you open the links in multiple tabs, you can layer as many sounds as you like.
Rainycafe is a one page website that includes two toggles: one for a café track, and another for a rain track. You can toggle both at the same time, and adjust the volume of each.
Noisli is a fantastic background noise generator with a uniquely simple interface. All you need to do to access the different sounds is to scroll down, but instead of letter descriptions, you see symbols. These symbols are universal symbols for items we have all come to understand as water, fire, forest, wind, etc. Multiple tracks can be played at once, and the volumes of each can be altered with ease. It is also available in the App store.
When you reach raining.fm, you are prompted with a dialogue box that asks if you would like access to more rain sounds, followed by a name and email type boxes. This can be easily “x-ed” out of. Slightly more complicated than the other generators mentioned above, raining.fm includes a colorful 2D grid interface with three options: rain, rain with a light thunder, and rain with a heavy thunder. To activate these, click the related symbol on the right. Volume controls are available, as well as a timer you can set that will determine how long they will play. All three sounds can be layered to the user’s liking.
MyNoise’s noise machines are encompassed by an extensive library of background ambient tracks for the user to choose from. The sounds are separated in categories. Clicking on a sound brings you to another tab with the related sound. Similar to Noisli, Mynoise also has an app.
Simply Noise is a site that automatically starts playing noise. The controls for this noise are at the top of the screen. The user can choose from white noise, pink noise, and brown noise. Simply Noise has an app you can purchase from the App Store for just one dollar. Their web version also has a download section where users can pay for tracks.
Ambient Mixer is an online library filled with many ambient tracks uploaded by different users. The tracks are displayed with beautiful thumbnails in a grid format. Many of the names for the tracks are creative, such as “A Sailing Ship on a Stormy Day” and “Fantasy Town”. Most of these tracks allow you to adjust the volume of any of their different layers.
Ambiance app is another online library application filled with ambient tracks, and all of them are available on an array of devices, including iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android, and desktop. There are more than 3,500 free sounds you can choose from. The site does not have the sounds, but instead ways to download them to your device.