By Roland Godefroy (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Are you the type of person who likes to listen to the rain fall but don’t get rain when you want to? Maybe you’re the type that likes to listen to the crackling fire but you don’t want to start a fire in case it gets out of hand. Do you perhaps like to listen to a whole lot of people chatter in the background but can’t bring yourself to go outside and even pretend to interact? In that case these websites are for you.
I came across this by accident when I was watching a YouTube video. It was a Jacksepticeye video and he was commenting on the sound mechanics of a game and he mentioned websites where you can customize and listen to soothing noises. I’ll leave a link to that video here in case you’re curious and want to check it out.
Anyway let’s get back on topic, in one of my previous posts I talked about how listening to music can help you calm down when you are stressed (put link here) and one on how ASMR can help calm some people down (put link here). It therefore doesn’t take a huge leap of logic to think that listening to certain sounds can help calm us down too, sounds like birds chirping or rain falling or a waterfall or the wind or fire crackling or people talking in the background, heck maybe you like the sound of cars running in the distance, I don’t know. The point is most if not all if these sounds have a bit of a calming effect on us when we sit down and just listen to them.
Now I did try to find some kind of evidence on the internet to support my claims, one thing I found was this question on quora.com where someone asked why people find the sound of rain calming and the answers people gave. One person put down listening to the noise as akin to a type of meditation, one associated the sound with fond childhood memories, one put the sound to be akin to a lullaby and the last person just said that some people like white noise and find it to be calming. It was nice to know people’s opinion on the subject but it’s not exactly a good amount of evidence.
I looked around some more and I did find these articles. One is from livescience.com titled, “Why Does the Sound of Water Help You Sleep?” written by Adam Hadhazy. This one talk about how our brains are hard wired to be scared and alert when we hear certain sounds when we are awake or asleep, since these mean that there is danger nearby and we need to be ready to fight for to flee. Meanwhile other sounds like the sound of water are considered peaceful sounds by our brain since it means nothing disturbing is happening and so we have no need to worry and can relax. It also talks about how these calming sounds, when they are loud, can drown out all other sounds that would trigger our brains into alert mode.
Another article from huffingtonpost.com titled, “Why Being Near The Ocean Can Make You Calmer And More Creative,” written by Carolyn Gregoire, also talks about how are brains respond to certain sounds in different ways, but in this one they describe it from a meditative perspective. Water sounds can put us into a mood of “soft fascination’ says the article, and this benefits us the same way as mindfulness meditation.
But the main reason I am writing this post isn’t because I want to explain how and why soothing sounds work, but to mention the websites where you can make and listen to these sounds.
First we have asoftmurmur.com. This website lets you listen to 5 different background sounds:
You can control the intensity of each sound and you can mix and match the sounds as you see fit, so you could listen to a thunderstorm with a lot of rain or you could listen to a fireplace with a roaring wind, it’s entirely up to you. It’s got a very simple interface and they even have an app for android which is free to download.
Here’s another website called jazzandrain.com. This one only plays the sound of rain but they also give you the option of playing a selection of jazz music alongside it.
Then there’s this website called coffitivity.com. This one has an assortment of people talking in the background for you to choose from. They have both an android and an iOS app that you can download for free.
And finally we have calm.com. This website gives you both calming sounds as well as calming visuals to go with it. You can choose between:
- Mountain Lake
- Rain On leaves
- Sunset Beach
- Silent Clouds
- Planet Earth
- Summer Meadow
There are a bunch of other websites that offer similar services, here’s a link to a website page that has a long list of them, check them out if you want to. So go ahead, check out the websites, find one (or more) you like and enjoy all the soothing sounds you can find, to your hearts content.