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Brown noise: The Sound of Randomness

Written by Kit Norman

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    Jan 21, 2023, 2 min read

    Have you ever heard the soothing sound of a waterfall or the gentle rustle of leaves in the wind and thought to yourself, "I wish I could bottle that up and play it whenever I need to relax"? Well, that's exactly what brown noise is - a type of audio noise that mimics the random, natural sounds of the world around us.

    But what sets brown noise apart from other types of noise, like white or pink noise? The key difference lies in its spectral density - the amount of power present in different frequency ranges. White noise is evenly distributed across all frequencies, while pink noise has less power at higher frequencies. Brown noise, on the other hand, has a spectral density that is inversely proportional to the frequency of the sound. In other words, lower frequencies have more power than higher frequencies.

    This gives brown noise a deep, rumbling quality that is often compared to the sound of a thunderstorm or a low-frequency hum. It's no wonder that this type of noise is often used in soundscapes and as a background noise for relaxation or sleep. In fact, some people even use brown noise to help alleviate symptoms of tinnitus, a condition characterised by ringing or buzzing in the ears.

    But where did the name "brown noise" come from? It's named after Robert Brown, the botanist who first described the random motion of particles in a fluid (now known as Brownian motion) in 1827. Just as Brownian motion describes the random movement of particles in a fluid, brown noise describes the random, natural sounds that we hear in the world around us.

    So the next time you're looking for a way to relax or fall asleep, try tuning into some brown noise. Whether it's the sound of a thunderstorm or a gentle stream, this type of audio noise can help you tap into the soothing, random rhythms of nature.

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