Green Noise vs. White Noise: Noise Colors Explained

Last update on Nov, 30, 2023

Does sound really have a color?

Noise is an ever-present part of our lives. From the hum of a car engine to the sound of the wind, noise surrounds us. However, not all sounds are created equal.

You may be familiar with the term "white noise," or perhaps you've used it as a sleeping aid to help mask background noises. But other noise colors exist. One, in particular, continues to gain popularity—green noise.

In this blog, we'll explore the concept of green noise and how it compares to white noise. Additionally, we'll delve into the science behind different noise colors and their effects on our hearing health and wellness, including relaxation, concentration, and sleep.

What Is Green Noise?

Green noise is a variation of white noise that emphasizes mid-range frequencies. The result is often a more natural, balanced sound when compared to white noise that produces a slight "hissing," which can sound like the static of an old television set. 

What Does Green Noise Sound Like?

Green noise may sound like a gentle, calming hum or a low, continuous rumble, depending on the specific combination of frequencies used.

Some people describe it as a natural, organic sound that is akin to the sound of an ocean wave or a gentle stream.

Green Noise vs. White Noise: How Are They Different?

White noise is created by combining sounds from all different frequencies equally. It's commonly used in the background to mask distracting environmental sounds and has been thoroughly researched to determine its effects on relaxation and sleep. While further studies are necessary, experts believe that white noise may help people overcome disruptive background noises that can disturb their natural sleeping patterns. 

Benefits of Green Noise

Unlike white noise, which has equal energy per frequency octave, green noise amplifies mid-range frequencies with a consistent intensity.

Simply put, it limits the high tones of white noise, resulting in a sound that is perceived as soothing and natural.

Although green noise has not been studied to the degree of white noise, you may find it to help promote deeper relaxation and sleep. 

Why Do Noises Have Colors?

Noise gets its unique color from sonic hues, also known as the noise spectrum. Therefore, each noise's color relates to its signal's power spectrum or its frequencies.

According to experts, the practice of naming noises after colors originated with white noise. Researchers chose this system to classify noise as it mirrors how they measure light on the electromagnetic spectrum.

For example, white light includes all visible light, and white noise contains all audible frequencies. Most colors of noise take their name from a color of light with similar spectra.

How Noise Impacts Our Hearing Health

Noise pollution

We live with different noises each day, but some can negatively impact our hearing health, mood, and overall well-being. Exposure to noise pollution, for instance, happens more frequently than you may realize.

Noise pollution refers to any unwanted sound that can harm human health and the environment, resulting in stress, high blood pressure, and permanent hearing loss.

Common sources of noise pollution may include:

  • Traffic
  • Industrial machinery
  • Construction
  • Loud engine, muffler, or music

Find out how noise levels are measured with this helpful guide.

To combat the adverse effects of noise, people should remove themselves from these areas or wear earplugs to help prevent hearing damage or injury.

Additionally, if you live in an area in close proximity to heavy traffic, schools, or other sources of loud background sounds, you might consider using white noise, green noise, or other colors (pink, brown, blue, etc.) to help focus, relax, or fall asleep.

Again, these noise colors aim to help mask other sounds and create a consistent, calming sound environment. 

Prioritizing Your Hearing Health Journey

By understanding the impact noise has on your hearing health, you can make informed decisions about your exposure to loud sounds and take proactive measures to prevent hearing damage.

At Amplifon Hearing Health Care, we're here to help you take the next step in your journey. From checking your benefits for coverage to connecting you with a local hearing care provider, we'll help you navigate the complexities of hearing health insurance.

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