Can Brown Noise Help You Focus? Let's Find Out

I wrote this article while trying out TikTok's latest trend.
Flavio Coelho via Getty Images

A sound resembling the roar of a river or strong wind reverberates around my room. As I type this, I’m listening to brown noise, the latest TikTok trend purporting to focus the mind and make work easier.

Whereas white noise (like the classic example of a radio tuning) is spread across the sound spectrum, cascading through low and high frequencies, its lesser-known counterpart, brown noise, focuses on deeper, low-frequency sounds.

Advocates claim that brown noise is more useful for aiding concentration and upping productivity than white noise. It’s also said to help with relaxation and sleep, according to Goodrays.

Though brown noise is nothing new, people are discovering it for the first time on social media, with the trend finding 50.4 million views on TikTok and inspiring more than 1,000 videos on Instagram.

Brown noise is difficult to describe, but perhaps that’s what makes it so effective – you can’t zone in on it. The sound is similar to what you’d hear when you’re on a plane trying to fall asleep. It’s like a warm, fuzzy noise, and it almost forces you to concentrate.

Usually, I like to work to music, but that can come with the distraction of singing to the lyrics or dancing. With brown noise, your mind feels at ease. It forces you to be still and pay attention to the task you’re doing.

People in TikTok’s ADHD community have been praising brown noise, saying that it helps to “silence overthinking”. But it’s not surprising the idea has also found wider appeal.

Working from home is now is the norm for many of us, and though it can feel like a luxury, it’s still easy to be distracted when you’re filing a report from your bedroom. Brown noise can help counteract this – at least that’s what I’ve found.

During my short experiment, I do feel like my mind is clear and I’ve gained a sort of tunnel vision focus.

So if you find yourself getting distracted today, try putting some brown noise in the background and maybe you won’t procrastinate from your next task.