The difference between types of noise
Are you experiencing stress or insomnia?
Do you find that silent meditation is not right for you?
Noise is one of the best forms of therapy. Sounds such as pink noise, white noise and others can help you relax and create a unique sense of well-being.
Of course, many of us watch the rain pounding against the window pane or the ocean waves lapping against the shore, never thinking that the pink noise coming from them has a big impact on our comfort experience.
However, by paying attention to the color of sound, one can practice a unique form of mindfulness during each day, which in turn can help improve sleep, relieve stress and alleviate physical ailments.
Understanding the colors of noise
We often think of the colors of noise in physics, electronics or audio engineering. Different colors of noise have different properties. The “sense of color” you get in noise signals is very similar to musical timbre or tone color. Like these audio signals in the sound spectrum, different frequencies of the noise spectrum sound different to human ears.
If you dissect a sound wave and decompose it into its components, you get several characteristics:
Frequency – the rate at which the waveform vibrates every second.
Type of noise – a loose analogy for light colors
What is white noise?
Put all seven colors of the rainbow together, and what do you get?
Like color, if you put all the bands of the noise spectrum together, you get what we call white noise .
If you look at it through a spectral analyzer, you can see a flat spectral density. The beauty of white noise is not in its physical nature, but in what it can do. You can hear white noise in music, especially in percussion.
People also often use occasional white noise to help with tinnitus, insomnia, or blocking out background noise. You’ve probably heard it before, as it’s the kind of sound that occurs when there’s interference on TV.
What is pink noise?
Pink noise has become a phenomenon in recent years. It is considered by many to be a cure-all in the noise spectrum. Pink noise includes a myriad of natural sounds, including the rustling of leaves, falling rain and ocean waves.
Many call it “inverse 1/f-noise” or “flicker noise” because of the fact that its power density decreases by 3 dB per octave.
Compared to white noise, which is often attributed to the hum of an air conditioner, the buzzing of fans, or static electricity, people conclude that pink noise is a better choice for concentration and sleep. The sound tones of pink noise are much deeper than those of white noise, reducing the negative impact of harsh sounds that awaken a person from a dream or meditative state.
Because pink noise can mask out various sounds and unwanted background noise, it is an ideal choice for concentration. Many people who suffer from chronic tinnitus have even found pink noise to be beneficial.
Noise Spectrum Colors
Brown Noise vs. Pink Noise
Even deeper in the noise frequency spectrum than pink noise is brown noise , which consists of low-frequency bass tones. Brown noise decreases by 6 dB per octave, which gives it a much higher power density than pink noise.
Some examples of brown noise include low, rumbling frequencies such as thunder or waterfall.
Contrary to popular belief, brown noise gets its name not from the color of the noise, but from the fact that it results from Brownian motion , a signal akin to a “random walk” pattern. Brownian noise was named after Robert Brown, a Scottish botanist who was the very first scientist to take up the study of Brownian noise fluctuations in the early 19th century.
Many people use the term “red noise” as a synonym for “brown noise,” although this terminology is used rather loosely. Some people use the term “red noise” to refer to a system in which the power density decreases as the frequency increases.
Blue Noise vs. Pink Noise
Blue noise, otherwise called azure noise, consists of very little low frequencies and more high frequencies, making it quite difficult to distinguish. We like to think of blue noise as the hiss that occurs when a watering hose kinks.
At high volume, blue noise can be quite pungent. For this reason, it is rarely used in therapy devices. Blue noise is unique in that its power density increases by 3 dB per octave.
The best application for blue noise is the dithering process of audio engineering , which smooths out the sound, reducing audible distortion. If you position the retinal cells as blue noise, you can get good visual resolution.
If you go a little deeper than blue noise, you get purple noise, otherwise known as magenta noise. You can think of purple noise as a more intense cousin of blue noise. Purple noise can be very sharp at high volume because it has tons of energy concentrated in the high frequencies.
Gray Noise vs. Pink Noise
Gray noise is a lot like pink noise in that it sounds the same at every frequency . If we look at the gray noise curve, we see that it is a psychoacoustic A-weighted equal volume curve, which gives us equal power at each frequency.
Unlike the white noise spectrum, gray noise has equal power on a linear frequency scale.
Gray noise is better calibrated by the human ear, although, oddly enough, we don’t have any better examples of gray noise. Since everyone has a slightly different hearing curve, there are many different examples.
In the medical field, specialists use it to treat tinnitus or hyperacusis, an increased sensitivity to everyday sounds.
Green noise lies in the middle of the frequency spectrum and has a limited frequency range, which is centered around 500 Hz . Oddly enough, green noise supposedly represents the atmosphere emanating from nature.
Orange noise is quite strange, as many people describe it as the sound of an untuned ensemble. To most ears, this noise is rumbling and cacophonous.
At the very bottom of the spectrum, well below the blue, pink, and brown noise, is black noise. Black noise is what we like to call the Simon and Garfunkel frequency, or the sound of silence.
The spectral density of black noise is approximately zero at each frequency.
Where do these colors come from?
While one cannot hear or see the colors of noise, one hears a multitude of sound waves flowing in and out of each other at various frequencies. To clarify, frequencies are oscillations of waveforms that occur every second.
This phenomenon is not like synesthesia, in which people begin to hear certain frequencies or sounds when they see certain colors. Noise consists of an infinite number of frequencies from a single source. What makes noise unique is that it is impossible to measure the amplitude of the frequency, even with the high-end equipment available today.
To better understand what these types of noise are, we must divide them into different ranges, including:
We can then measure these frequency bands with a spectrum analyzer. We then use the measurement in watts to calculate the noise power for each band, giving each color a different name.
Healing properties of noise
Although the pink noise spectrum is the most popular in health care, scientists around the world use different frequencies to treat insomnia, anxiety and memory loss.
People often use the pattern of pink noise at night to induce deeper sleep, which, in turn, can bring our brains to a state of recovery that optimizes our focus and concentration during waking hours.
Deep sleep is essential for creating and securing memories. Scientists believe that a lack of restorative sleep as we age is one of the main causes of memory loss.
All in all, using noise for health, whether to improve concentration, sleep, mood or motivation, is a promising trend that seems to be getting more popular by the day.
Do colors have noise?
Yes. Different colors have different noise properties. Most of the noises we associate with lie in the white, pink, brown and blue spectrum. Each color can be used for a variety of purposes, especially in the medical world.
What color noise works best for anxiety?
White noise may be one of the best colors to help with anxiety, especially if you have trouble sleeping at night. The steady hum of white noise is great for insomnia. You can also try pink noise to treat the same conditions.
Can I turn on white noise all night long?
Yes. You can turn on white noise throughout the night. However, you should not turn it on during the day. Although white noise can be relaxing, it is helpful to take a break to allow your system to recover.
What color noise is best for concentration?
When it comes to concentration, attention and productivity, pink or white noise is best. Such noise can range from the ambient noise of the local coffee shop to the sound of water flowing gently downstream.
Has any baby ever died in SNOO?
SNOO is completely safe for babies. It was designed to be the safest infant bed in the world. So far, there have been no reported cases of death or injury associated with the SNOO. Moreover, many people praise this bed for its safe sleep benefits.
At what age should you stop white noise?
If you’re concerned that excessive use of white noise may be addictive to your child, we recommend waiting until they’re three years old to start gradually weaning them off it. We recommend gradually turning down the sound a little bit each night until you can’t turn it on at all.
Is the rain a white noise?
Although the sound of continuous rain may resemble white noise in many ways, not all rain sounds are part of the white noise spectrum. This is because the environment in which it rains can affect the colors of the noise.
Is pink noise safe?
Yes. Pink noise is safe for people of any age who want to use it to sleep, reduce anxiety, or concentrate. However, if you are very sensitive to sound, you may find that it can be a little annoying or irritating.
Is the fan a white or pink noise?
Although many people associate the buzzing of a fan with white noise, these sounds usually have nothing to do with actual white noise. In fact, the sound of a fan is a mixture of pink, brown, green or blue noise.
What is the most relaxing sound for falling asleep?
Many people say that white and pink noise are some of the best sounds for falling asleep. However, many people also swear by ASMR, ocean sounds, rain, oscillating fans and soothing music. It’s up to you to check it out for yourself, because each person’s hearing is different.
What is meant by 1/f-noise?
1/f-noise is a unique low-frequency noise in which the power of the noise is inversely proportional to the frequency. People can observe 1/f-noise in music, biology, and economics, although scientists first discovered it in electronics.
Why does everything sound louder at night?
The fact that everything seems louder at night is due to a psychoacoustic effect. Because there is less ambient noise or background noise at night, even the quietest sounds sound louder. Also, at lower temperatures, sound travels faster and better.
Is sleeping with sound bad?
Sleeping with sound can have a positive effect on people who suffer from insomnia, although it should be approached with caution. If you regularly sleep with the wrong kind of noise, it can negatively affect your health and worsen your insomnia.