Ambient Noise!

Do you like using ambient sound generators at all? These have been around for years–I remember gizmos you could buy that made “running water” sounds that you could play softly overnight, and as these got more sophisticated you had choices: You could have a “babbling brook”, or “waves on the shore”, or “rainfall”, and the like, all in the same gizmo.

Now, of course, all of this is digital and you can do it anywhere, just with your computer or even your phone. It’s even better if you have a bluetooth speaker with decent sound. For the last few weeks at work I’ve been using the engine sound of the starship Enterprise-D, which gives my work room a pleasant rumble underneath everything else going on. Another benefit is that when playing a six- or twelve-hour long sound video, your speaker stays on. The bluetooth speaker I have at work has a time-out that’s really short, and if it plays nothing in that time frame, it shuts off. That’s kind of annoying. Playing the ambient sound doesn’t hinder my playing music; I just open YouTube in a second tab and play away. I might have to dial down the volume on the Enterprise, but that’s fine.

There are a lot of ambient sound videos on YouTube beyond the Enterprise. Here’s one I started using today, because it suits my mood this time of year: Ancient Library Room. This one has a crackling fireplace, it’s raining outside with occasional thunder, and you can even occasionally hear someone writing with a scratchy pen or quill. I like this one. I might pair it sometime at home with some pine-scented incense I have someplace.

And there are so many more! Like water? There are streams of varying roughness. There are ocean sounds, and you can make your workplace sound like a coffee shop, if you want. I love this stuff and it does help me focus a little, if mainly by shutting down some of the other persistent sonic interruptions and helping to ground my brain a bit.


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