For some people, silence is golden; for others, not so much. If the quiet of your guest-free home is starting to feel oppressive, we’ve got some soundtracks you need to try.
The whole world feels quiet right now. No more buzzing coffee shops or bustling offices, at least for a while. But thanks to modern technology, we can recreate all kinds of experiences in our own homes—even the most familiar soundscapes. Liven up your home with one of these soundtracks!
Are you struggling through the transition from working or studying in a lively coffee shop to doing it in your silent home? If so, Coffitivity was pretty much made for you.
You can open it on your computer and play it right there—no app download or payment required (although there’s also an app version). It was designed with workers in mind. The website actually lists a peer-reviewed study that suggests ambient noise can help people be more creative.
Even if you’re not working, you might find the subtle buzz of background noise perfect for your kitchen or living room.
Brain.fm is another work-focused option for anyone who’s having work-from-home struggles right now. Although it requires a $7-per-month subscription, you can test it out first with five free sessions.
Like Coffitivity, Brain.fm provides research to support its claims that the right soundtrack (in this case, ambient music) can improve focus. Skeptics can visit the site’s science page to read white papers and other supporting evidence. You can log in and listen from your desktop, or download the app.
The ASMR rooms YouTube channel offers another easily-accessed source of ambient noise. If you’ve seen weird ASMR videos of people eating or doing random things (like cutting soap), don’t worry—these videos are far less odd. In fact, you don’t have to watch them at all; they’re all about subtle, relaxing sound.
Each video shows an animated room or setting from a pop-culture monolith, like Harry Potter or Game of Thrones. Soft sounds associated with the room play in the background.
The titles tell you exactly what you’re getting, making it easy to choose. For example, the clip above is called “Harry Potter Inspired – Hog’s Head Inn – Wizarding Village and Pub Ambience – Fireplace, Rain 1 Hour.” You certainly don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to enjoy an hour of soothing rain and fireplace sounds.
I Miss the Office
I Miss the Office is exactly what it sounds like—a noise generator to help if you’ve reached the point of pining for water-cooler sounds. Even better than a background-noise simulator, it’s an interactive tool that will provide at least a few minutes of funny procrastination.
The site features a minimal, surrealist office graphic, with stylized desks, chairs, and even a copy machine. You can click any object to add its noise to your imaginary office. The floating geometric shapes are your coworkers, who make their own sounds when you click them (ranging from harmless whistling to intolerably loud chewing). You can also add or remove coworkers to customize your level of office sound.
While some of the sounds can get amusingly obnoxious, the default is a (mostly) relaxing hum. It might not be your top background soundtrack, but as a fun piece of digital art, it’s worth checking out.
A Soft Murmur
If you’re looking for a customizable sound that’s actually soothing, you’ll definitely want to check out A Soft Murmur.
This free site’s default is an ambient mix of sounds, but the best part is that you can customize it. Each available sound has a toggle bar. You can turn the volume up or down for a unique blend, and mix noises like “Fire,” “Coffee Shop,” and “Singing Bowl.”
There are 10 sounds you can mix for free, or you can pay $9 a year to unlock more. You can set timers for sounds, save mixes, or select “Random Mix” when you want some background noise, but aren’t sure what you’re in the mood for.
Of course, the natural world is a free source of background noise. You might be able to open your window to hear some birds chirping or the occasional passing of a car. But if it’s still too quiet for you, these soundtracks will fill your home with (mostly) pleasant sounds that make everything feel a little more normal.