White noise, ambient music, and other background audio can have a positive effect on productivity and focus. There are a number of excellent generators online that will create quality ambient noise that doesn't distract from the task at hand.
Music is a great tool for this, but there may be times when even the most subtle ambient tune can grab focus away. Sometimes you just want to listen to nothing, or next to nothing, while you work.
For many people, physical ailments like tinnitus can cause uneasiness in otherwise quiet situations. A constant tone or ringing in the ears that appears amplified by the absence of ambient noise can be a major distractor.
This is where white noise and ambient sound generators can come in handy. They make up for silence and provide a soothing, easily ignored backtrack that enables you to put your focus in your work.
Ambient noise has been shown to increase productivity, aid the listener in maintaining focus, and enhance calm.
Open air offices with a lot of background noise can have a damaging affect on productivity. In Julian Treasure's TED talk (embedded above), he revealed that noisy work environments can cause as much as a 66% drop in productivity.
By replacing this noise with something more soothing, productivity levels can be raised significantly.
In this article, we will take a look at a few free noise generators that can help you get more done during the day.
The American Tinnitus Association has been working with individuals, researchers, and organizations to find a cure for one of the most common hearing disabilities in the world. Tinnitus affects millions of people, and can range in intensity form a mildly annoying to debilitating.
The ATA Sound Mixer allows you to create a personalized mix of ambient noise including: nature sounds, weather, birds, specific animals, and more.
You cannot only mix up to four of these ambient sounds, but vary their intensity, volume, and audible patterns to meet your specific needs.
What's more incredible, is that you can save your mix as an MP3 file and take it with you wherever you go, with no Internet connection necessary.
Noisli is a two-part Online tool that not only offers a range of soothing background noise to help you while you work, but it is also a really cool Web-based distraction-free text editor with full Markdown support.
It has a great collection of looped ambient sounds to choose from, including: rain, thunderstorm, wind, trees, waves, water, fire, and even a coffee shop.
SimplyNoise is about as simple as noise generators get. You have the option to choose between white, pink, and brown noise. You can also set oscillation and a sleep timer that turns the sound off after a period of time.
This noise isn't based on any real-world sound. It's static, and because of this your brain will be less likely to pick up on the loop points, making it appear as one constant stream of random sound.
myNoise takes a scientific approach to free online noise generation. Every aspect of this utility has been carefully considered by Dr. Ir. Stéphane Pigeon, a signal processing engineer from Belgium.
myNoise delivers frequency shaped audio that combines multiple individual sounds in a configurable mix that can be customized to meet the listener's taste.
For example, the rain noise generator has different sliders representing thunder, the muffled sound of rain hitting a tarp, the light bubbling sound of water dripping, and more.
There is also a free iOS app available.
Whether you are using ambient noise to cover up the noise of a busy office or simply filling in the silence of your home office, these tools can be a great option for you. Who knows, it might even help you get more done.
If music is your preference, we have a great write-up on music services.