null

Your Mini Cart

What is White Noise vs Pink Noise vs Brown Noise?

What is White Noise vs Pink Noise vs Brown Noise?

You’ll often hear us talk about White Noise at The Sleep Store and it’s one of our number one recommendations for calming babies and helping them settle at bedtime and throughout the night.

But, what is white noise? And how does it differ from pink noise and brown noise? Did you know, in fact, there’s many other colour noises too (also known as sonic hues) and their colour depends on the intensity and distribution of energy?

What is white noise?

White noise can be described as a sound similar to radio or TV static or a humming air conditioner. Meghan Neal writes in The Atlantic that white noise is “a mixture of all the frequencies humans can hear (20 Hz to 20,000 Hz), fired off randomly with equal power at each — like 20,000 different tones all playing at the same time”.1

 

Because it covers all frequencies white noise can be used to mask background noises and help people, especially babies, fall asleep more easily and more deeply. It may also help people stay in deep sleep longer as it can mask loud, jarring noises which may otherwise wake a baby or adult out of a deep sleep. Think of all those toddlers & preschoolers jumping about whilst a baby is sleeping and a caregiver trying their very hardest to keep them quiet. White noise can help to mask those sounds, because it contains all frequencies at an equal intensity. Using white noise means the baby can stay asleep longer and caregivers don’t have to stress so much about keeping the bigger little ones quiet. Now that’s a win in our eyes!

YOGASLEEP

Sold out
VIEW PRODUCT

What is Pink Noise?

Pink noise is similar to white noise in that it covers all frequencies that humans can hear, however the energy isn’t distributed equally across all of them. Our friends at Yogasleep share that “in pink noise, as the numbers get bigger, the difference in power becomes smaller, so the high pitched sounds are softer.”2

 

This essentially means that pink noise sounds ‘deeper’ or ‘lower’ sounding than white noise. So pink noise can seem less intense and less ear-piercing than white noise. A real life example of pink noise may include wind or rain. Like white noise, pink noise can also help improve sleep. Some studies say that pink noise can help improve memory the next day.

YOGASLEEP

Sold out
VIEW PRODUCT

What is brown noise?

Yes, there’s a 3rd type of noise! Brown noise is similar to pink noise, but has an even deeper sound. According to Yogasleep, brown noise is similar to white noise in that it “also generates sound randomly, but unlike white noise, energy decreases as frequency goes up and vice versa.”3 Brown noise has more bass in the lower frequencies and could sound like roaring waterfalls (think Huka Falls) or thunder rumbling in the distance.

YOGASLEEP

Sold out
VIEW PRODUCT

White, Pink & Brown Noise - The Sound Rainbow

Thanks to Yogasleep for this visual of the Sound Rainbow. Accessed 17 May 2022, from https://yogasleep.com/blogs/give-sleep-a-chance-blog/pink-noise-the-full-sound-spectrum 


Is white noise, pink noise or brown noise best for sleep?

The answer is, it really depends on your preference. White noise is excellent at masking loud and jarring sounds, which may be handy if you have a toddler or young children in the house, but equally brown or pink noise can be just as effective at calming, settling and creating a deeper sleep. Many white noise machines do offer pink and brown noise options as well, be sure to check this out when choosing the best white noise machine for your family.

References:

1.Neal, M. (2016, February 16). The Many Colors of Sound. The Atlantic. Accessed 28 May 2021, from https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/02/white-noise-sound-colors/462972/

2 and 3: Szkotak, M (2021, Aril 2). Your Guide to Pink Noise, White Noise, & Brown Noise. Accessed 28 May 2021 from https://yogasleep.com/blogs/give-sleep-a-chance-blog/pink-noise-the-full-sound-spectrum 


White Noise Comparison Chart - Mains Powered Sound Machines

Table scrolls right on mobile

Whish Multi-Sound Machine Nod Sound Machine and Night Light Dohm Natural Sound Machine Dohm DS Sound Machine Dreamcenter Duet
Yogasleep DreamCenter white noise machine
Yogasleep Duet Sound Machine

Feature

Simple controls & easy to read buttons, two timer options

Nightlight, timer, easy to read controls

Modern style

The Classic

Colour changing nightlight, timer, easy to read controls

Nightlight, timer, wireless speaker connectivity

Sounds

16 Sounds including 4 nature and 4 specially composed “Sleep Songs”.

20 sound options including, shushing & womb sounds.

Natural real fan sound - adjustable for near infinite tone choices

Natural real fan sound - adjustable for near infinite tone choices

24 sound options including, 8 sleep songs & 7 nature sounds

30 sound options including, shushing & 9 nature sounds

Pink, Brown and White Noise

White and Brown

Pink, White and Bright White

White

White

Pink, White and Brown

Pink, White and Brown

Volume Control

Yes

Yes

2-speeds with range of fine tuning

Single-speed with range of fine tuning

Yes

Yes

Battery

No

No

No

No

No

No

Timer

Yes

Yes

45, 90min or 8hrs

No

No

Yes

45, 90min or 8hrs

Yes

45, 90min or 8hrs

Maximum Decibel @ 12”

79.8dB

83.5dB

65.1dB

64.9dB

83.5dB

83.9dB

Nightlight

No

Yes, dimmable

No

No

Yes, colour changing

Yes, dimmable

Cord Length

3’ micro USB cord

3’ micro USB cord

6’ power cord with plug

6’ power cord with plug

3’ USB C cord

3’ USB power cord


White Noise Comparison Chart - Portable, battery powered sound machines

Table scrolls right on mobile

Travelcube Baby Soother with Voice Recorder Travel Mini Sound Machine Go Travel Sound Machine Hushh for Baby Rohm Travel White Noise Machine Pocket
Yogasleep Pocket Baby Soother White Noise Machine

Feature

Portable and compact, fits in any suitcase.

Travel sized with nightlight & voice recorder plus timer options

Travel sized with nightlight

Travel sized - No batteries needed

Compact and portable -nightlight and child lock

Travel size, No batteries needed

Easy to recharge. timer options & available in varierty of cute, travel sized shapes

Sounds

6 sound options including Brahms, rain and waves.

5 sounds including womb noise, ocean surf & voice/sound recording

6 electronic sounds including gentle surf, stream & Dohm.

11 electronic sounds including ocean,

3 electronic sound including deep & bright white noise plus gentle surf

3 electronic sound including deep & bright white noise plus gentle surf

6 electronic sounds including Dohm High, gentle surf & lullabies

Pink, Brown & White Noises

White & brown

Brown & Pink

Brown & White

White, Brown & Pink

White

White

Brown & White

Volume Control

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Battery

Yes - USB
rechargeable

Yes - USB
rechargeable

Yes - USB
rechargeable

Yes - USB
rechargeable

Yes - USB
rechargeable

Yes - USB
rechargeable

Yes - USB
rechargeable

Timer

Yes

30, 60 & 120mins

Yes

No

No

No

No

No

Cord Length

3’ USB C cord

3’ USB C cord

3’ micro USB cord

3’ micro USB cord

3’ micro USB cord

3’ micro USB cord

3’ micro USB cord

Maximum Decibel @ 12”

76.0dB

77.2dB

76.5dB

67dB

78.3dB

78.3dB

76.8dB

Weight

200g

235g

136g

110g

107g

107g

139g

YOGASLEEP WHITE NOISE UNBOXING

Watch our Comparison Videos:

Corded Mains Powered Machines
Portable, battery operated sounds machines