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Understanding the Spectrum: White, Pink, and Brown Noise Explained

Mar 20, 2024

When it comes to soundscapes that promote relaxation, concentration, and sleep, white noise, pink noise, and brown noise are frequently mentioned. But what distinguishes one from the other? Let's break it down into simple terms to understand their differences and utilities.

White Noise
Imagine white light containing all color frequencies; similarly, white noise combines all frequencies that humans can hear, typically between 20 to 20,000 Hz, at an equal power per hertz. This creates a 'static' sound, which is excellent for masking other noises that might be distracting or disruptive.

Pink Noise
Taking a step down, pink noise also includes all audible frequencies, but the power per frequency decreases as the frequency increases. This results in a 'deeper' sound compared to white noise, often compared to steady rain or wind. It's found to be soothing for many and is thought to improve sleep and memory consolidation.

Brown Noise
With brown noise, we see an even further reduction in higher frequencies. Also known as Brownian noise, it has a strong emphasis on lower frequencies, making it sound even deeper and more potent than pink noise — picture the deep, sustained rumble of a thunderstorm or a waterfall. Some studies suggest that brown noise can help with relaxation and concentration, particularly for those who find higher-pitched noises to be bothersome.

Ultimately, the choice between white, pink, and brown noise can be a personal preference, though each sound has its own unique characteristic that can cater to different needs. The best way to determine which is right for you may be to sample each sound and see what works best for your relaxation, studying, or sleep regimen.

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