There are many people that seem to require silence when working. Whether it’s writing a blog post, finishing that third-quarter financial report, or analyzing return-on-investment, these individuals work best in absolute quiet. Nothing wrong with that.
Then there are the rest of us. Research suggests that most - if not all - people actually perform better with some ambient background noise. This is especially true for any sort of creative endeavour. If you’ve ever experienced deafening silence, then you likely fall in to this category.
Working in an office environment makes exposure to background noise rather easy. Too easy, in fact, as you’d be hard-pressed to get away from it. But what if you work from home? Many people turn the TV on, or listen to the radio, but these can actually be distracting. The trick is finding indistinct, subtle sounds. Luckily, there are a handful of tools available to give you all the soft noise you can handle.
This beautifully designed website provides you with three backgrounds to choose from: Morning Murmur (a gentle hum), Lunchtime Lounge (bustling chatter), and University Undertones (campus cafe). There is a pause button, and a sliding volume control to allow you to find the perfect level to match your mood and needs.
Also available as an Android app, iOS app, and Mac desktop if you’d prefer one less open tab on your browser.
This service goes a different route to the same destination. Instead of non-descript background chatter, it’s a colour noise generator. We’ve all heard of white noise (like an oscillating fan), but this website provides three types of colour noise to choose from: White (most effective at blocking distractions; great for reading, writing, studying, maintaining focus), Pink (great for melting away stress; relaxes mind and body), and Brown (effective for aiding sleep, pacifying children, soothing migraines). There is a sliding volume control, sleep timer, and oscillation button (volume automatically rises and falls). Simply select your colour, set the volume, and reap the benefits.
Also available as an Android app (99 cents) and iOS app (99 cents).
From the same makers as Simply Noise, this website offers the sound of rain.
The dashboard includes sliding volume control, sliding intensity control (gentle shower to heavy storm), thunder mode (often, few, rare), oscillation button, and a sleep timer. Nothing too fancy...just lovely background noise for those who find the sound of rainfall to be soothing and comforting.
Also available as an iOS app (99 cents).
The next few services combine some of the above features. Rainy Cafe provides background coffee shop chatter (similar to Coffitivity) AND rain noises (similar to Simply Rain), providing individual volume and on/off control for each. You can listen to the background noise, or you can listen to the rain, or you can listen to both at the same time. It’s a very minimalist website, but it gets the job done.
No apps available at this time.
As the name implies, this service focuses mainly on the sound of gentle rain. But it takes it one step further by providing a full screen background video of rain on a window pane (which does have an on/off button), and you can add the “song of the day” to the sound of the rain as well. It provides three volume settings by clicking on the speaker icon appearing at the bottom of the screen.
Also available as an iOS app ($3.99) and Android app ($3.99).
Last but not least, Jazz and Rain is pretty straightforward in terms of what it does...the name says it all. Its dashboard includes a sliding rain volume control and pause button, and a jazz volume control, skip and repeat buttons. Another nice feature is that the name of the music currently playing appears on screen, so if you hear something you love, you’ll know what and who it is.
No apps available at this time.
We all work differently, and some of us need it to be nice and quiet in order to focus on the task at hand. But if you fall into the opposite group, and especially if you’re working on something a bit more creative, these six services will provide a fantastic mix of rain, chatter, instrumental music, and colour noise. Any one of them works very well at banishing the deafening silence that is keeping you from getting it done.
Image credit - Mario Habenbacher