Ambient sounds can help relax you when you’re feeling anxious or just trying to sleep at night. The idea of listening to sounds might seem absurd if you’re trying to sleep. After all, wouldn’t most people want silence? But believe it or not, ambient sounds actually can soothe you into a slumber. While it’s true that certain types of sounds can be distracting, especially sounds that are unpredictable and loud, ambient sounds have the opposite effect. And there are tons of sites where you can find sounds that are perfect for your needs.
Benefits of Listening to Ambient Sounds
There has been a lot of scientific research on the benefits of ambient sounds, and the results have shown that they can do wonders for focusing your mind in all sorts of situations. They work by stopping your mind from wandering.
When you’re focused on your work or trying to go to sleep in silence, this allows your mind to wander and get distracted. But if you have ambient noise in the background, your brain has to multitask between what you’re trying to focus on and the ambient sounds, so it can’t wander off. And because the sounds aren’t too distracting, this allows you to focus on what you’re trying to do: sleep, relax, or focus.
If you’re having trouble concentrating when you’re studying or working, listening to ambient sounds can:
1. Improve your concentration
Listening to ambient sounds while trying to concentrate is easy because the level of distraction from the noise is moderate, which helps increase your concentration levels. It also encourages abstract thinking while you’re focusing on or learning a new task.
2. Reduce stress levels
Research shows that patients whose windows face parks recover faster than those whose windows face brick walls. The study went on to show that ambient sounds that reflect nature could help reduce stress levels as it helps people recover from sympathetic activation when a stressful event occurs.
3. Improve your work’s quality and quantity
Whether you’re studying for a written exam or working on a creative task, listening to ambient sounds can help you produce more work in terms of output and improve the quality of the work you create. At least that’s what Sage Journals Psychology of Music says. So, if you’re trying to write many essays or blog posts or solve creative problems, you might want to put that ambient music on in the background.
4. Increase your creativity
According to Smithsonian Magazine, listening to ambient sounds can help increase your creativity levels. Provided that the noise is modest, you’ll be able to activate the same part of the brain that helps spark creative thinking.
5. Improve many areas of life
Listening to ambient sounds can also boost your mood, reduce your stress levels, and improve your job satisfaction. If you have trouble getting to sleep, ambient sounds can be a great tool to help you settle your mind and drift off. These ambient sounds help focus your mind away from distracting or negative thoughts so that your body will let you drift off to sleep, relax, or focus.
7 Best Types of Ambient Sounds
The sounds you choose as your favorite will depend on your needs and personal preference. For falling asleep, many people choose nature sounds, such as thunderstorms, waves, or wind. Synthetic sounds like white or pink noise also work well for helping you to drift off. People tend to prefer more active and dynamic soundscapes, such as the sounds of a busy cafe, for productivity and focus.
While the exact sounds can vary wildly, they do share some important features. For ambient sounds to work for keeping you focused or relaxed, they can’t be too unpredictable, and the noise level shouldn’t shift too dramatically. The perfect ambient sound would be something that your brain can zone out from while you focus or go to sleep. What you don’t want is a sound that’s so exciting or stressful that your brain focuses on it.
7 Best Ambient Sound Sites
You don’t need to worry about finding ambient sounds to listen to. Plenty of creators have put together ambient noise players that you can use with an extensive range of sounds. Let’s take a look at some of the best ambient sound sites!
myNoise has a comprehensive collection of ambient noises. There is every sound under the sun on this site. You’ll find ambient sound categories like natural noises, industrial spaces, vocal, acoustic, and fantasy.
The sounds are also entirely customizable. When you click on a sound, you have a series of sliders that you can use to lower or raise the volume on each aspect of the sound. So, for instance, with the Distant Thunder sound, you can adjust the sound level of the thunder, rumble, and rain (as well as combinations of each).
You can use myNoise through your web browser, or you can download the app for Android, Apple. You can even use it on Alexa. If you’re a Spotify user, you can listen to myNoise albums, and you can even tune into their Spotify stream. You can add a timer for the sounds to automatically shut off after a certain length of time, animate the slider display, and you can even set a meditation bell to play every minute.
So this ambient sound player is made by the same people as myNoise, but it is a much more paired-down version. myNoise can be relatively complicated to use just because of how customizable and comprehensive it is, so if you’re looking for a more straightforward interface and user experience, Noises Online could be a better choice.
On the landing page, the main feature is two rows of icons. All you have to do is click these icons, and it will start playing your ambient sounds. There are natural water, rain, and wind sounds. You’ll also find a crackling fire, a coffee house, cocktail voices, animals such as birds and frogs, wind chimes, meditation music, and synthetic noises.
You can click on multiple icons and add various sounds together. And even adjust the volume of each so that it sounds just right. You can also alter the tone and the liveliness. If you find a perfect mix, you can save it to use again.
Just like myNoise, Noises Online is completely free to use.
Taking the simple interface a step further, A Soft Murmur is seriously minimalist. And that can be perfect if you’re trying to relax. There are ten sounds to choose from: rain, thunder, waves, wind, fire, birds, crickets, coffee shop, singing bowl, and white noise.
Similar to Noises Online, you can mix sounds and save that mix. You can even share it with your friends. You can also set a timer for the ambient sounds to shut off after a certain period. Another nice feature is the “meander” button. When you press this, it will adjust the volume of each active sound up and down at random.
You can use A Soft Murmur for free, but you can also choose to pay to upgrade if you want more ambient sounds. You will then also automatically get any new sounds that are released.
Noisli is an excellent option if you want to listen to ambient sounds while you write. You have the opportunity to mix and match a variety of sounds, just like with many of the other sound players. Or you can listen to specially curated playlists for specific situations. You can customize the sounds and save them to your favorites. And you can set a timer for the sounds to stop playing after a certain length of time.
What sets Noisli apart from the pack, however, is its built-in text editor. It’s entirely minimal and distraction-free. It supports Markdown syntax, which is a straightforward way to add formatting to your work, and it has a word counter so you can keep track of what you’ve written. And that’s it. If you ever struggle to write without getting distracted, then using the Noisli text editor along with its sounds could be a game-changer for you.
You can use Noisli for free, but you can get extra features if you pay to upgrade. These include shuffling the sounds, using oscillation, unlimited listening, saving more favorites, and access to more playlists.
Defonic is simply beautiful. If you’re a visual person and art can help you get into the right mindset, then Defonic is a great choice. Its background is this gorgeous animated, dynamic artwork of a city, sea, and boat scene that changes depending on if you select daytime or nighttime.
Other than that, Defonic is a minimalistic sound player. There are a few rows of icons that you can click to play the sounds. Like many of the other players, you can mix the sounds together. There are various ambient sounds, including waves, rowing, fire, purring, nighttime, jungle (birds start flying in the background when you click this one), fan, coffee shop, trains, bells, and more.
Their selling point is that they’re immersive, and when you listen to the sounds with the background gently bobbing around, you start to feel like you’re there (especially with the sounds that it reacts to). And being immersed in such a peaceful and relaxing environment is the perfect environment for going to sleep.
You can use Defonic for free, but you do get extra features if you upgrade. Upgrading includes more sound options, sound collections, ASMR sounds, and access to Vibes (a sound creator for PC).
If you’re looking for a collection of ambient sounds, you might turn to your Spotify app. Many people who create ambient sounds upload their content to Spotify. If you’re looking for a specific type of sound, you’ll surely find songs, playlists, and even creators who specialize in that sound.
For example, if you’re looking for coffee shop ambient sounds, you can find tracks that you put on repeat or playlists of coffee shop sounds that you play all day long. You’ll likely find any sound you’re looking for, whether rainfall, whale noises, or nature sounds.
You’ll need to pay for a subscription to remove ads from the platform, but if the ads don’t bother you, you can listen using a free version of their account.
If you’re looking for a vast collection of background noises, you’ll find thousands of ambient sounds on YouTube. Whether you want to listen to static or something serene like a fireplace, you’ll be able to find every ambient sound on YouTube too. If you’re using your ambient sounds for meditation but want to try something new, you can check out the Declutter The Mind YouTube channel, which teaches you how to meditate in silence. You know, if you’re up for the challenge. The focus meditation is excellent for students who typically use background sounds to help them study.
If you’re looking for some ambient sounds to try right now, consider watching this rainfall YouTube video below:
The benefit of YouTube’s ambient sounds is that you can look for videos that last for over three hours so you can have them in the background as you study, work, or focus on a crucial task.
YouTube monetizes via ads, so you’ll likely hear ads pop up during certain times. You can pay for YouTube Red to remove ads from your listening experience.
Ambient sounds don’t work for everyone in every situation, but when they do, they can have a significant impact on your productivity with your work and study, as well as on helping you to relax and to drift off to sleep. And with this many free ambient sound players to choose from, you’re bound to be able to find a soundscape that works for you. So, take some time to explore different background sounds to help you focus or study. And feel free to check out some ambient sounds right now.