What is Pink Noise? Get the Scoop Here.

what is pink noise

photo: OnePixel

What is pink noise exactly and how can it be used? Learn more about this 'color' of sound and how you can utilize it here!

Noise can be thought of as having a variety of “colors” based on the sound frequencies that the human ear can hear, ranging from 20 hertz to 20,000 hertz. All-encompassing white noise is composed of all sound frequencies that can be picked up by humans with every frequency equally distributed. While white noise is better understood due to extensive research, pink noise and its uses are gaining worldwide attention. Learn more about what is pink noise below!

What is Pink Noise Anyway?

It’s called pink noise because light with a similar power spectrum would appear to be this shade. As explained by Live Science, white noise and pink noise both contain all the frequencies that are audible to humans but the way their signal power is distributed among those frequencies is different. White noise has equal power per hertz throughout all frequencies, while the power per hertz in pink noise decreases as the frequency increases.

With pink noise, every octave carries the same power or a consistent frequency. The human ear hears pink noise as being “even” or “flat” and perceives white noise as “static.” Pink noise can be found in numerous biological and physiological processes including our heart rate variability. Examples of pink noise out in nature are leaves rustling in trees, waves crashing on the beach, and rain steadily falling.

Listen to this soothing example of pink noise below!

Pink Noise Research

According to Prevention, pink noise slows down your brain waves and also helps regulate them, which improves sleep quality.

To better understand how pink noise impacts human during sleep, China’s Peking University recruited 50 individuals and exposed them to either pink noise or no noise during nighttime sleep and daytime naps while monitoring their brain activity. At the end of the study, 75 percent of the participants reported more restful sleep when exposed to pink noise. In terms of brain activity, the amount of restorative sleep increased 23 percent among the nighttime sleepers exposed to pink noise, and more than 45 percent among those who napped.

Researchers are not claiming that pink noise is superior to white noise since the two types of sound have not been officially compared. More studies are needed to better understand pink noise and its influence on the sleep cycle.

Uses for Pink Noise

Audio engineers often use pink noise to equalize loudspeakers during testing and it’s also utilized in sound mixing within different musical genres. Since pink noise is believed to boost productivity and concentration levels, it is also found in office settings to mask distractions.

Check out pure pink noise in the following clip!

Pink noise can easily be found via curated playlists and apps created especially for different activities. If you struggle with getting quality sleep, winding down, or need help focusing, experimenting with different types of sound at a variety of volumes is worth a try. Everyone has their personal preferences, so testing out different combinations is highly recommended to find what works best for you.

Now you can answer the question ‘what is pink noise?’ and share your findings with others! 

Sources: University of California- BerkeleyCleveland Clinic