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Posts Tagged ‘background noise’

Have you ever lived in a place where:

Your party animal neighbor is still living his 1980s frat house dreams.

The tenants upstairs are running a log splitter in their kitchen every night from 6 P.M. to 2 A.M. while roller skating over ball bearings and gravel.

You know for a fact that your neighbor is raising velociraptors. You can’t see them, but you hear them.

The reclusive guy who keeps to himself at the end of the street nevertheless likes to let his truck idle in the right-of-way for, oh, an hour before he goes to work at 0 dark thirty.

You have a term paper due and the world is conspiring to shred every ounce of your concentration as the neighbor dog barks endlessly at an invisible gnome, someone down the hall has to listen to The Price is Right at an ungodly volume, and Fast and Furious wanna-bes are living life a quarter mile at a time as they race around the ‘hood with glasspack mufflers.

I’ll bet you have. Oh, the stories we all can tell about the lack of empathy other human beings can have for those in closest physical proximity, including pets.

After endless such experiences, I finally snapped one dog barking-saturated Fourth of July, went to the store, and bought a nice beefy Bluetooth speaker and Amazon Fire tablet. The purpose? To play good quality white noise with substantial bass as loud as I wanted to. Ear buds hurt after a while and no one should have to walk around with their ears plugged. Pets can’t.

I already had some little white noise machines that play soothing ocean sounds, rain, and other nature sounds. They’re great. But they don’t block rude and unnecessary noise. There are a lot of allegedly relaxing music options out there too. Many, however, play that shimmery New Age stuff that can induce a feeling akin to having an out-of-body experience under anesthesia. Too much piano mood music can make one, well, moody. No thanks.

Now I just select a good noise video on YouTube and leave it playing on the big speaker. It’s soothing for animals and people. It can help you concentrate, relax, or sleep. Neurodiverse people, especially those with ADD, can find this helps them function better.

Background noise is commonly referred to as white noise. To block out others’ noise, though, you need something with a good bass rumble. Enter brown noise.

That’ll do it. You might want standard white noise though.

Some of the best sources of white noise come from everyday appliances.

Some people favor a higher frequency of noise screen, pink noise.

A combination of white, brown, and pink noise can be useful depending upon the situation.

Nature sounds can be very relaxing. Please note that some of us might find thunderstorms relaxing, but they can terrify our pets. If your furry one is afraid of thunder, then playing such a soundtrack is just as bad as putting The Best of My Neighbor Bob’s Illegal Fireworks, May to October 2009 on repeat.

Sometimes these nature sounds are meshed with indoor sounds to create a glorious ambiance.

Using noise as a shield basically lets you create your own environment, somewhat like your own personal holodeck. On that note, space sounds are popular noises as well.

Note how these types of sounds function as noise screens or shields, which is different than indulging in the modern phenomenon of ASMR, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. ASMR is meant to induce not just relaxation, but to trigger that distinctive tingly feeling you get on your scalp from certain noises. Noise shields primarily help provide peace and sanity.

Side note: ASMR has gotten weird. So many ASMR-ists flutter their hands, dress provocatively, and make gross mouth noises into the microphone. The latter is almost guaranteed to make some misophonia sufferers feel extreme distress. If you want to fall asleep in five minutes with something ASMR-ish, try a calm spoken word channel like The French Whisperer.

Now, a few warnings. YouTube and other sites have commercials. You usually have to listen to a couple of ads before the actual video starts. So if you’ve soaked your feet in Epsom salts, are good and sleepy, climb into bed, and want to bliss out to jet airplane engine noise, just be forewarned that you will likely be subjected to bizarre TikTok ads with disjointed music first.

Commercials can pop up during these videos too. You might zonk out to heavy rain on a tent sounds, and at 2 A.M. you’ll be jolted awake by some pingy, dingy ad trying to convince you to rush to Home Depot and buy flooring. 1. Why does every ad contain bouncy xylophone or guitar music? Someone please find a string bass, an accordion, or hire Swedish heavy metal band Sabaton. 2. Being startled out of slumber by a perky ad is the next worst thing to your neighbor tipping a bookcase over in the middle of the night.

Also be aware that unexpected noises can pop up during otherwise relaxing videos. You might drift off to rolling ocean waves, then are audibly attacked by some foghorn or flock of rabid seagulls and have to scrape yourself (and the pets) off the ceiling.

DO NOT drive or operate machinery while listening to this. Just nope.

Connectivity issues can and do occur. Sometimes Bluetooth signals are interrupted. Sometimes the internet goes out. Obviously it’s not foolproof.

Noise shields can block out a lot. They do not, however, block out the inexplicable things neighbors do that register on the Richter scale, like those who body slam everything they handle (frozen chicken? wham!), walk around with 20-pound concrete shoes, routinely knock over vertical objects, or endlessly scoot around furniture so it vibrates against the floor (a current daily favorite where I live beginning at 5-something A.M.). Noise shields can really lessen the effect of impact noises and drown out a host of other noises. But heavy impact noises can still get through.

Pardon any profanity. This video does nail why noise screens are necessary.

There are entire YouTube channels dedicated to good noise. They offer a library of sound. Here are a few examples.

Relaxing White Noise

The Guild of Ambience

Randall’s Rest & Relaxation

Randall is a master noise mixologist. He is always combining noises to create the ultimate white/brown/pink/fuzzy/bubbly noise experience. This man deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for his dedication to sound screens and sleep aids.

As a bonus, there are ambiance channels to help calm pets and keep them company too. There are videos for dogs, videos for cats, live bird rooms, and other delights for the furry and feathered. These includes aquariums, games, and squirrel and bird watching.

Overall, noise shields are a great defense against the constant audio assault many of us are under. If you ever do decide to go on offense, though, the vibrations from this Spongebob Trap Remix could dislocate someone’s brain. This does not constitute legal advice and I do not play a lawyer on TV either. I’m just sayin’…

Now, let us return to the point at hand and chill out with the soothing tones of a peaceful flowing river. Just make sure your bladder’s not listening too.


©2022 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Cosmos

In the course of our lives we will inevitably run into a circumstance in which we desperately need quiet but don’t have it. One way of creating a more controlled environment in which we can study, sleep, work, build tall towers out of overcooked breakfast sausages, or otherwise function is to utilize white noise.

This week I had a chance to share some of my favorite white noise websites and figured I’d post them online too. After all, most American adults don’t get nearly enough sleep, and sometimes we need a little buffer between us and the rest of the world to focus on the tasks at hand.

First, check out the Relaxing White Noise channel on YouTube. Aaaah… Skyscraper, Gentle Creek, Space Odyssey, and Interstellar Voyage are just some of the options, along with one of the most effective white noise sources known to man, the box fan. Previously box fans were only practical during sweltering summer months. Now you can enjoy the ambiance year round.

Next, drift on over to Yogaduke’s channel. While I personally don’t practice elements of eastern religions, there is still a wealth of useful audio pleasures on here. Think Rain on a Tent, Rain in the City, Driving in a Thunderstorm, Waterfalls, Fans, and Hotel AC. Yogaduke also has a video for cats that is on the Top Ten list of feline-approved videos in my household, Feeding the Birds. (Disclaimer: If you’re playing the relaxing sound videos and this one happens to come on, you could very well be awakened by a cat pounce to the chest and excited nananana chattering as your cat zeros in on its virtual prey.)

Saunter along over to Randall’s Rest and Relaxation station. Randall has some of the most innovative and effective white noise combinations this side of the Mississippi (although in truth, I don’t know where Randall is). Rain + Fan + Cat + Heart is amazingly soothing. Fireplace Sounds… Night Forest Ambiance… River Sleep… and LOUD fans in all shapes and sizes. Diesel Vibrations… Midnight Train… I thought he’d hit his peak with 12 Fans for 12 Hours, but then he went and recorded 31 FANS!! Oh wait, he now has an epic 64 FAN MEGA VIDEO!

While you might be asking yourself how some of these sounds are relaxing, different sounds work for different people. Sounds can link us to pleasant childhood memories, conjure up happy thoughts, or provide an escape from the cares of life and those three doctor bills still sitting on the dining room table. Play around, experiment– some of these even help babies sleep. But do be cognizant that right when your 6 month-old has dropped off into La La Land, that Final Countdown YouTube ad featuring Europe and a microwaved burrito might well blast them into a perpetual state of screaming. Beware the YouTube ads.

Calmsound.com offers some common nature sounds like rain, thunder, and the ocean, similar to what you’d get from a store-brought noise machine. They also offer Fairy Glen and Country Garden. You can spend a pretty penny on noise machines that don’t offer nearly what the Internet does, but Bed Bath & Beyond has a basic $19.99 model, the HoMedica SoundSpa Sound Machine, that works quite nicely in non-Internet or non-speaker accessible rooms. It does not involve seagulls. And save the 20 percent off coupon in the junk mail flyers for additional savings (you know you usually recycle that).

MyNoise.net, hands down, has the coolest feature of any white noise generator online or otherwise– an equalizer. You can adjust the frequencies of the noises making up each theme, which is hugely helpful to those with hearing loss. This is also useful if you find a calming sound that is suddenly interrupted by a jarring bird call or primate yell. Just turn down the bird. This site allows you to customize a number of background symphonies. It has presets, a mute function, and you can adjust to brown, pink, white, or grey settings. I often find brown or pink noise to be more effective than white.

MyNoise.net has a free app as some sites do and certain noises can be downloaded as albums. Not all are free. Categories include Synthetic Noises, Natural Noises, Tonal Drones, Brainwaves, Industrial Noises, Voices, Atmospheres, Soundscapes, Magic Generators, and Pattern Scapes. The tonal drones are particularly intriguing. Try out Bagpipes, Canyon, Didgeridrone, Ethereal Choir, Ice World, and Stardust. Ice World can help you create your own personal Fortress of Solitude. Didgeridrone isn’t as hip as the famed Adèle & Zalem Didgeridoo Duet, but still has the power of slumber from Down Under. 

SimplyNoise.com has brown, pink, and white noise. It has a timer and an oscillation feature. This can sound like annoying TV static on its own, but when used to mask more grating sounds, it can blend into the background. Similarly, SimplyRain.com has the same features but showcases a rain sound with the option to omit thunder, have a little thunder, or a lot of thunder. Here in the Northwest many of us find the sound of rain relaxing as it’s our natural white noise. Thunder rattles some but others of us go racing outside to witness the fireworks of a good storm or at least secure a window seat.

There is no substitute for the background sounds of nature. But as we build ourselves these increasingly artificial, human noise-saturated environments and continue to cut ourselves off from the wonders of creation, it is necessary to rediscover the original recipe for beneficial sleep and calm. Those watery, windy, wave-lashed, warbling and wavering wild sounds that soothed our ancestors for so many generations still have a purpose and might be needed now more than ever.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to conclude before I head butt the monitor in a state of bliss from listening to all these demos. Midnight Diesel Engine with Cat Accordion Liver Idling Jungle Centrifuge, take me away…

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Now I know the secret of making the best persons; it is to grow in the open air and eat and sleep with the earth. –Walt Whitman

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©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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