Based on the sheer number of background sounds and options that exist, I know I’m not the only person too easily distracted.
Which are your favorite white noise or background sound apps to use? And why?
Given that my little corner of suburbia is filled with the ever-present drone of lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and other yard work, having something soothing that helps cut the distractions is something I spend a lot of time considering.
I’ve used the various coffeeshop and nature sounds at Freedom.to, but have always been a bit annoyed that I have to have a web browser up for them. (My goal is fewer distractions, not a web browser rabbit hole.)
And sure, I can lock out different websites with a Freedom session, which I like. But, I find I want to fiddle with that an exclude some of my biggest time wasters if that web browser is open.
I’ve used Noizio from my SetApp subscription. I had one blend of different sounds that I really liked, but then I started noticing an audible glitch in my blend that became a new distraction. And, it’s macOS/iOS only, which is a bit of a problem on the occasions when I’m using a PC.
I’ve now moved to Portal on my various Apple devices. Again, the Mac/iOS limitation is a bit of an issue. And I’ve had to turn off some of their video motion settings so the background movement doesn’t cause vertigo.
I like the Portal’s choice of locations from different parts of the world. Their spatial audio is also nice. I don’t have the Philips Hue or Nanoleaf lighting for their syncing, but I can see where that would enhance my workspace.
The guy who runs the site has been collecting and producing soundscapes for a decade or so. The slider controls for a particular soundscape allow you to add more of what you like and remove what you don’t. It’s brilliant through a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones.
Access is via browser or iOS app, so it may not work for you. As a way to avoid browser distractions, when I’m running MyNoise from my PC, I’ve dedicated a browser (fittingly enough, Opera) that I only use for MyNoise.net–with the URL to my favorite soundscapes preloaded on separate tabs.
Another fawning lover of https://mynoise.net here — this tool is a total labour of love by a dedicated single developer (Dr. Ir. Stéphane Pigeon | Biography) with an obsession to detail. High quality sounds and a totally brilliant mixer and randomiser to subtly evolve the soundscapes over time.
It really frustrates me that so many apps and “products” have sprouted in this space, all with big publicity budgets but no where near the quality and variety of mynoise. The iOS app is just wonderful.
Music is great, but sometimes the “homogeneity” that mynoise can build up works better, at least for my brain…
EDIT: oh, and i just discovered active noise-cancelling headphones — what an amazing effect but by themselves they leave too much “empty space”, but mynoise fills that up perfectly — I used on an overnight train and coach journey to work and it was amazing.
It depends on what I am writing at the time. If it is fiction then it has to be silence. Someone over on NaNoWrimo puts this out as John Cage’s 4’ 33" on repeat; I like that idea. Environmental noise is okay be that the occasional vehicle or gaggle of school kids going passed my house that is okay. Workmen with a pneumatic drill would make me stop writing but thankfully that has so far only happened once. Other writing with Scrivener, Xcode, MacVim, or whatever I not fussed about media generated noise — although like Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones I find modern (pop/rock/hiphop/country/etc) music
Would I deliberate play background noise? No. So no app for me.
When I work in a noisy environment, I talk to myself. Only very quietly. I read to myself text that I read or write. Or I think quietly speaking. Sounds strange, but after a short time, I am so concentrated that I no longer notice the noise.