Thursday, February 5, 2009

sound and the brain

i ran across a website that was dubbed the best white noise generator on the web. it's called simply noise and basically features a generator to create white noise. and it works amazingly well. i've always wanted to have something to block out distractions, and here's a generator that will do it for you. it also features brown and red noise, which are still randomly generated signals but which have different power spectra. a brief explanation on Wikipedia will help, and also includes brief audio samples.

the brown noise sounded like a heavy downpour of rain, which is also super soothing. so then i found the downloads page which has a 60 minute audio of a thunderstorm! which is actually really awesome when you plug in the earphones all the way into your ears and the sound of the white noise permeates all 360 degrees of your mind. it's like rain pattering down on a hut in the tropics. and then when the first rumble of thunder comes out (not quite white noise anymore) you can feel the humidity. it's pretty relaxing.

i used to have some white noise ocean sounds, which weren't as good because there were intermittent instrumental parts.

a while ago, i ran across an article on binaural beats (thanks reddit and your randomness which expands my world). apparently there's some pseudoscientific claims that hearing two beats at some exact difference in frequency will induce your brain to produce certain sensations, such as awareness, focus, or relaxation. it all sounds super sketchy - almost like a brainwave drug, or scientology. but i tried it briefly on i-dose and if nothing, just having something playing in my ears kept me focused for a brief period. richsinn didn't think it had any effect on him, especially the coffee break. nowadays, i just drink a ridiculous amount of coffee everyday.

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