What is pink noise and what is it for?

  • Sep 15, 2023
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What is pink noise and what is it for?

Pink noise is within the spectrum of sounds that are audible to humans and is a noise that helps you fall asleep and improve some cognitive functions such as memory and concentration. In fact, it is a relaxing and cool sound that invites calm and facilitates the transition from the subconscious to the REM sleep phase.

In this Psychology-Online article we will explain What is pink noise and what is it for?. With the information that we will give you, you will know that, although it is a less well-known sound than white noise or Brown has incredible benefits that increase sleep quality and enhance some cognitive functions.

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  1. What is pink noise
  2. What is pink noise for?
  3. Benefits of pink noise
  4. What is the difference between pink and white noise

What is pink noise.

Pink noise, also known as 1⁄f noise, is a sound with a random variety of all frequencies that are audible to the human ear. It contains the same intensity in each octave, but decreases 3 dB per octave. It's about a

balanced and pleasant sound that can be perceived in the sounds of nature, such as rain, wind or the sea, and have even been detected these auditory levels in the singing of some birds and some city sounds, such as traffic mild.

It's a sound less loud than white noise. Due to its effectiveness, it is widely used in some intensive care units and even to treat hearing disorders related to mild hearing loss or tinnitus.

What is pink noise and what is it for - What is pink noise

Image: Professional Audio

What is pink noise for?

Pink noise is a type of sound that is used to mask or block other unwanted sounds, such as background noise or loud, strident sounds. Unlike white noise, which contains all frequencies equally distributed, pink noise has a more balanced distribution of energy across the frequency spectrum.

The main purpose of this noise is to create a more relaxing and comforting acoustic environment. It is frequently used in sound therapy, in audio recording studios, or as an aid to sleep and concentration.

Effects on the brain and memory of pink noise

Regarding its effect on the brain and memory, it has been shown that pink noise can have many advantages, which we describe below:

  • Block discordant sounds or distracted.
  • Helps reduce stress and anxiety, thus improving mood and concentration. Here we explain How to manage stress and anxiety.
  • Create a more stable sound environment and helps improve sleep quality to promote a more restful rest.
  • May improve associative memory, promoting the ability to remember specific images or words.
  • It is used in the treatment and control of hearing conditions such as tinnitus.
  • Prevents distractions and improves cognitive performance in attention and concentration tasks.

However, it is important to note that the effects of pink noise can vary from person to person. another, due to individual differences in preference and degree of benefit experienced. This means that some people may find pink noise relaxing and stimulating, while others may not like it or it may not have a significant impact.

Benefits of pink noise.

As we mentioned above, pink noise is used to block unwanted sounds and create a more pleasant sound environment. For this reason, you may have a positive effect on mood, stress, sleep and concentration. Additionally, some studies also suggest that it could have benefits for memory and cognitive performance.

Like other sounds of similar frequencies such as white and brown noise, pink noise has other benefits associated with it:

  • Decreases the time to fall asleep: This noise can mask annoying sounds and help you relax at bedtime. If used at about 60 dB it can promote the appearance of Delta brain waves that are associated with sleep and meditation.
  • Helps relax and reduce stress: Several medical studies worldwide have concluded that pink noise helps mask annoying or noisy sounds that can distract us or generate tension. By blocking out these unwanted sounds, you help create a calmer environment, which can reduce stress and promote a general sense of well-being.
  • It enhances sleep quality: Pink noise is commonly used as an aid to falling asleep and improving the quality of rest. This happens because by creating a constant and uniform sound atmosphere, you can sleep pleasantly, without being attentive to distractions in the environment. In addition, some studies suggest that it may promote memory consolidation during sleep.
  • Stimulates concentration and productivity: In noisy or distracting environments, pink noise can help improve concentration and productivity. That is, this type of sounds provides a balanced sound environment and reduces possible distractions, allowing us to focus better on our tasks and increase our efficiency.
  • Promotes relaxation and physical well-being: Listening to pink noise promotes muscle relaxation and reduction of physical tension. By stimulating a relaxation response in the nervous system, the frequency can be reduced heart rate, lower blood pressure, and relieve the feeling of physical discomfort associated with stress.
  • Create a pleasant sound environment: This noise is used not only to block out unwanted sounds, but also to create a pleasant and comforting environment. It can be used in work spaces, waiting rooms or break areas to provide a more balanced and welcoming environment, contributing to an overall feeling of well-being.

Likewise, pink noise is used to put babies to sleep and reduce pain during childhood vaccinations. However, it should be noted that the benefits of pink noise may vary depending on individual preferences and sensitivity. Not all people respond the same way to this type of sound, so it is important to experiment and find what works best for each individual.

What is the difference between pink and white noise.

The main difference between pink noise and white noise is that while pink noise decreases 3 dB of frequency in the spectrum of sound octaves, white noise contains all audible relations to them levels. For this reason, pink noise is lighter and white is a little more noticeable.

In simpler terms, white noise sounds like a constant "ssshhh" with no change in the amplitude of the sound. For its part, sonically, pink noise is similar to white noise, but with a gradual drop in energy as the frequency increases.

The pink noise It is considered more pleasant and softer for the human ear, as it more accurately mimics the way we perceive sounds in the natural environment. Keep in mind that it is best to use this noise at a safe volume of around 60 dB.

What is pink noise and what is it for - What is the difference between pink and white noise

This article is merely informative, at Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

If you want to read more articles similar to What is pink noise and what is it for?, we recommend that you enter our category of Cognitive psychology.


  • Overath, T., Zhang, Y., Sanes, D.H., and Poeppel, D. ( 2012 ). Sensitivity to temporal modification rate and spectral bandwidth in the human auditory system: evidence from fMRI. Journal of Neurophysiology, 107 (8), 2042 – 2056. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22298830/
  • Naal-Ruiz, NE, Alonso-Valerdi, LM and Ibarra-Zarate, DI (2021). Data on electroencephalographic activity during exposure to pink noise modified by the frequency responses of three headphone models. Brief Facts, 39, Article 107528. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34786442/
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