White Noise vs Pink Noise vs Brown Noise
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Rumor has it that there are some types of colorful noises that can help you sleep well and reduces the background noise in your apartment.
Have you heard of it?
If you have problems with falling asleep due to the noises from the street or hum that will not let you concentrate, or you are a light sleeper that easily wakes up, no matter if it the reason behind it is a dog down the street barking or a washing machine in the apartment next to yours, you must have started your search for the solution a long, long time ago.
And since these noise machines are becoming so popular, you have probably heard of them.
But what are those exactly? The question is very simple, but the answer rarely is.
The most common thing that you would often stumble upon when searching for a hopefully satisfactory answer is that is a type of “noise” that would redirect your attention to its own buzz, and deceive the brain into thinking that there are no other noises.
That is a nice explanation, but not good enough, actually.
And when different colors of this so called noise started to show up, you must have been even more confused, didn’t you?
Well, I know that I did. So I started making some researches, and I have decided to share what I have found out about this mysterious noise with you all.
“Good” Noises and the Differences between Them
The true reason for you waking up in the middle of the night is not your sensitivity or the noise itself, but the very sudden change in the sounds around you.
When you are asleep, you are very relaxed, and any change can get you out of the balance.
So, the scientists made these machines that produce a kind of the noise that is not very intrusive, and that is constant so that when there is some change in your environment, your brain wouldn’t register it, and you would not fall out of the balance.
In other words, this beneficial noise is masking other noises and tricks your brain. It gets concentrated to the noise that these noise machines produce, so when there is a sudden leaky sink in the house, you will not get all jumpy about it.
It is not only that these machines can help you when you are sleeping, but they can help you if you find it hard to concentrate in general.
The fact is, when it is very quiet all in all, and when there is only one sound (no matter if it is repetitive like the leaky sinks or irregular like tree branches on the wind or a few cats fighting), that sound becomes accentuated and takes over all of your attention.
White Noise vs Pink Noise vs Brown Noise
Now I am sure that you are very well aware of the fact that white light contains all of the other colors of the rainbow, all of the frequencies that we can see.
But when they come together, they seem white to a human eye.
It is all the similar with the so called white noise. It, on the other hand, contains all of the frequencies that we can hear.
That would mean that the range that white noise covers can vary from about 20 Hz to 20.000 Hz. Hz or Hertz mean “vibrations per second”.
In other words, when all of these are played very fast and at random, your brain combines them and what you hear is a kind of a hiss.
If you have ever tried listening to the white noise, you must have noticed how high pitched it sounds.
And if you put a finger on your forehead and think about it, it might sound really unusual, and that it makes no sense at all.
If it is made up of all the frequencies played at random, how come that it sounds so high pitched and not somewhat like middle pitched, right?
Well, it might be so, but the way you hear the white sound has everything to do with the biology and the way us humans are made, and the way our ears and our brain detect and process what they hear.
When our ear hears a certain sound, our brain would amplify the higher pitched region of the sound, and in that way make it seem like it is much louder than it really is.
It is just the same with white noise. Your brain takes out the high pitched sounds from the whole that it is hearing, and makes it sound very high and squeaky.
I, personally, love the white noise. It reminds me of a pouring rain and cradles me to sleep.
However, if this high pitched sound does not suit you the best, you might try with the next one.
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Pink noise is the one that takes the way we hear things into account and so it balances the frequencies that there are in the whole.
Same as with the white noise, frequencies are played randomly, but the volume of the higher frequencies is a little bit dampened.
The higher the frequency is, the more the volume of it is lowered.
Now all of the sounds would seem equally strong, and the listening experience would not be as imbalanced as in the white noise.
The sound you hear will not sound as high as in white noise, since the highest ones, those that your brain amplifies would already be dampened.
Brown noise keeps the idea that has started to develop in the Pink noise and takes it even further.
But in this case, even more volume is taken down from the high frequencies, and that would make the sound you hear even deeper.
If you listen to the brown noise, it would sound really calm, somewhat like a huge waterfall, or whooshing of an ocean.
There is a popular belief that you would have to keep in mind if you decide that the brown noise is the one for you.
Allegedly, there is something that is called “brown note”.
It is said that there is a note that is too low for humans to really hear, but it can vibrate through your body (even your bowels), and it is possible that it can make certain involuntary movements in your body in the places you wouldn’t want anything to be moving involuntarily.
But rest assured! This myth has been busted, and no similar thing will happen to you, trust me; at least not from this brown noise.
But, if you think about the name of the noise, and if you take ignorant people, what else can you get.
How It Works
If you gave a try to these noises and you found that they do wonders to you, that they help you relax, or sleep, you are not alone in it. Many people do find it relaxing to play this subtle buzz.
You might also wonder how and why does it sound so relaxing. And once again, the answer would be human biology.
As I mentioned at the very beginning, your brain is made to detect even the slightest of changes in your surroundings, if those surroundings are overall quiet.
Now imagine that you are in a room with one hundred people and that everyone is talking.
Then imagine that there is a new person in this huge group of people who joins a conversation. You would never be able to hear the difference.
But if there is one person talking, and one more joins in, the difference would be very easy to detect. But it is still just one person.
So that is the point. When it is silent, any noise at all can activate your senses and bring your attention to it.
So this is when these noises step on the stage. They are constant “noise” during the night or the period when you need to concentrate, so they muffle and mask the other sudden sounds that might occur.
And however crazy it may sound, the solution to the noise can be and is more noise.
You might also like: What are the Effects of White Noise in the Workplace?
On White Noise vs Pink Noise vs Brown Noise
These were the three main colors of noise.
You are now free to try all of them, and be sure that they are perfectly safe. There is no any hocus pocus in them, and you do not have to worry about the rumors that come out of the names of these sounds.
Also, there are other “colors” of noises that you can try out, and hopefully enjoy.
There are a lot of apps and machines that you can use and combine the frequencies so that you can get the perfect one for you.
Now go, and get yourself a good night’s sleep.
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