HomeBrown Noise: Meaning, Characteristics And Benefits Explained

Brown Noise: Meaning, Characteristics And Benefits Explained

People use sound to knock off external disturbances so they can sleep well. From white noise, and pink noise, to brown noise, these random assortments of audible frequencies have come up as an effective method to provide sound sleep to a person. Forget white noise, because brown noise is the latest trend on TikTok!

While white noise is considered a more relaxing noise, pink noise is about more power in lower frequencies. However, there is another noise called brown noise, which has been proven as an effective tool for concentration, focus and a goodnight’s sleep. So what’s it all about? Read on to learn more about brown noise.

What Is Brown Noise?

Brown noise, also known as Brownian noise or red noise, emphasises lower-frequency sounds. Unlike white noise and pink noise, this sound has the deepest intensity of all noises. In simpler terms, consider this noise as a low roar or rumbling. Wondering why it’s called brown noise?

Well, you may have read in school that noises have different colors and the color of each noise is based on its frequency. For instance, just like the lowest frequencies of visible light, the lowest frequencies of sound are red in colour. However, this noise is considered “brown” because it closely resembles Brownian motion. FYI, the highest frequencies are violet.

Brown noise shares similar features with white noise as it contains all frequencies. However, what sets brown noise apart is the fact that it places more emphasis on lower frequencies. This means that the higher-pitched sounds are quieter and the low tones are louder.

Still confused? Brown noise can be understood as a little less “sharp” than white noise because of its soothing characteristics. Some examples of brown noise include Crashing waves, heavy rain, shower, strong waterfalls etc.

How Does It Differ From White Noise And Pink Noise?

Without going into many technicalities, let us consider white noise as the sound of a whirring fan, radio or television static, vacuum, or humming air conditioner. On the other hand, pink noise can be understood as the sound of rustling leaves, ocean waves or the sound of rain.

Even though there isn’t much research on their comparison, it can be concluded that white noise is more static than pink noise. But again, pink noise is often associated with relaxing sounds that help with better sleep.


On the other hand, “Brown noise has even fewer high frequencies than white or pink noise, and you’ll recognize it as a lower sound,” explains Anahita Mehta, a researcher for a sound pitch at the Kresge Hearing Research Institute at the University of Michigan. “Examples would be the deep roar of an ocean wave crashing or thunder rolling.”

What Are The Benefits Of Brown Noise?

While many people claim to have overcome stress using brown noise, Anahita Mehta from the University of Michigan explained that “Maybe you find it relaxing to hear the sounds of the sea, so if you listen to brown noise that sounds like waves crashing, and it helps you, that’s great – as long as you’re listening at a low volume. However, there’s no strong evidence that listening to brown noise reduces stress.”

As there is little evidence of the effect of brown noise, we can only speculate if this frequency really works. However, as people’s interest has grown in the benefits of brown noise, these are the few benefits which can be inferred from the studies conducted on small groups of people.

  • Reduces Stress

Science suggests that more effective methods for reducing stress include deep breathing, meditation and guided imagery. However, some researchers have claimed that brown noise is an effective tool to help elicit the relaxation response.

The same has been claimed by people across various social media platforms. Well, Brown noise may be a little harsh but it can certainly have a calming effect. For instance, the sound of ocean waves can help reduce stress and create a calm environment.

  • Improves Sleep

Based on a few studies, rhythmic brown noises like heavy rain and crashing waves can help lower the heart rate and regulate your breathing. This ultimately helps you experience a sound sleep.

  • Improves Concentration

In recent times, many TikTok users have claimed that brown noise helped them improve their concentration and enhance their focus. But again, there is no conclusive evidence to support the theory that this frequency helps improve concentration.

However, apart from these anecdote testimonies on TikTok, small studies suggest that if it works with white noise, there is no reason it won’t work with brown noise. “The findings would need to be reproduced by other studies, but if it works for white noise, then theoretically, there’s no reason why it wouldn’t work for brown noise,” stated Joel Nigg, director of the Oregon Health & Science University Center for ADHD Research in Portland, Oregon.

Nigg also explained how brown noise can strengthen the part of the brain that “filters out extraneous information, called auditory masking”. In simpler terms, the brain may discard noises you don’t wish to hear while amplifying the noise you want to hear.

  • Masking Tinnitus

“Brown noise sounds a little less “‘sharp” than white noise because it has rounder, more soothing characteristics, suggests Dr Amy Sarow, clinical audiologist at Michigan Ear Institute. She also stated that brown noise can help people with tinnitus, a condition which causes constant ringing in the ears. Studies suggest that brown noise helps reduce the ringing and in some cases, helps to eliminate the condition altogether. 

If you’re wondering if brown noise is more effective for focus or sleep than any of the other types of this immersive noise, the answer is no, said Yamalis Diaz, an assistant professor in the department of child & adolescent psychiatry at N.Y.U. Langone Health. Yamalis specializes in A.D.H.D. and revealed that “no research suggests a specific kind of noise is the key. Frequencies can activate and stimulate the brain in different ways.”

Where Can You Access Brown Noise?

Recently, brown noise has gained a lot of popularity across the internet. People claim that the noise has helped them calm down and sleep better. If you’re wondering where can you find brown noise, please note that there is no need to purchase a CD or sound machine. There are plenty of free playlists available on YouTube where you can find this noise. You can also download sound apps like BetterSleep, Sleep Sounds and Calm. Did you try brown noise?

I am Mallika Singh, a lawyer and writer by profession. Writing gives me a sense of freedom and independence. I am a keen observer and an ardent reader. When not at work, you can find me at the stable. Horse riding is another passion that keeps me going.


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