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The Different Types of Noise and White Noise EXPLAINED

Types of Noise

Music is a form of art, and like any other art form, they also come in wide ranges. Before it sounds like audio music, it’s simply just noise!

What type of noise exactly? Let’s say audio music falls under airborne noise. 

If you don’t understand what we mean, this guide is perfect for you! We’ll teach you all there is to know about the different types of noise!

Table of Contents

What Are the Different Types of Noise?

1. Continuous Noise

Continuous noise is the kind of noise that’s produced continuously and remains stable and constant over a given period.

If you ever feel like analyzing continuous noise further, you can use a sound level meter with octave bands analysis.

You may even want to investigate the noise with 1:3 octave bands, which can provide even more data about the frequency content source of the noise you’re monitoring.

Examples of Continuous Noise:

  • Machinery operating with no interruptions
  • Car honks from traffic
  • Engine noise
  • Ventilation systems

2. Intermittent Noise/Variable Noise

Intermittent noise is one of the types of noise that increase and decrease rapidly. A COMPLETE OPPOSITE to the continuous noise, it’s a combination of noisy and quiet.

Different variable noise sources could cause the intermittent noise to change.

They come from loud bursts that you notice but are not surprised by. Many people would trade their souls to avoid this type of problem.

When measuring these sounds, it also needs a sound level meter but you need to know the duration of each occurrence and the time between each one.

Examples of Intermittent Noise:

  • Washing machine
  • Workplace
  • Aircraft flying
  • Train passing by

3. Impulsive Noise/Impact Noise

On the other hand, impulsive noises are not easily recognized. It’s a startling burst of sound and surprising noise from nature that causes people to stop or look up to see what’s going on.

These types of noises are heard in public events and usually when anything goes wrong. Imagine always causing scenes in public!

A sound level meter or personal noise dosimeter that can calculate peak values is needed to measure these types of noise level.

Examples of Impulsive Noise:

  • Waiters dropping a pile of dishes
  • Construction machinery equipment
  • An argument on the street
  • Neighbor doing a DIY project
  • Someone shooting high-powered air rifles

Do keep in mind that in a deafening silent environment, a single loud noise can cause hearing damage.

4. Low-Frequency Noise

Low-frequency noise is one of the hardest types of noise to reduce and to prevent the harmful health effects of noise pollution, the noise level must be reduced to tolerable and acceptable levels.

If monitoring these types of noise takes place outside, you may want to consider an environmental monitoring kit.

You can analyze the low frequencies that make up noises by using a sound level meter with third-octave band analysis.

You may also need to look at the C-weighted measurements and the A-weighted measurements. If you are clueless about the different frequency weightings, you can read about them on this source here.

Examples of Low-Frequency Noise:

  • AC units
  • Road vehicles
  • Industrial machinery
  • Clock ticking

What Are the Different Types of Noise Colors/White Noise for Sleep?

Just like art, sound has colors too! They’re called sonic hues and these types of noise refer to the power spectrum of a noise signal.

They are determined by how energy is distributed over various frequencies, or the speed of sound.

1. White Noise

White noise is a random noise with a flat spectral density. It is also named analogous to a white beam which is a mixture of all visible wavelengths of light. See that? There’s even science to it!

Pure white noise sounds like that “shhh” that happens when the TV or radio is tuned to an unused frequency. It’s a mixture of all the frequencies each human ear can hear!

People use white noise machines as sleep aids or audio as a solution to things that make annoying noise levels.


  • Radio or Television
  • Hissing radiator
  • Dyer equipment

2. Brown Noise

This noise is also called a red noise. It contains even more bass than pink noise, more like the rumble of strong winds, a rushing river, or pounding surf.

It’s deeper and has higher energy at a lower frequency. This is considered a “good noise” and has the most soothing sound.

Though brown noise is deeper than white noise, they sound similar to the human ear. The deepness of brown noise can induce sleep and relaxation.

For instance:

  • Waterfalls
  • Strong wind
  • Strong river current

3. Pink Noise

Basically, pink noise is a white noise with less high frequency. They don’t exactly sound like nature.

It keeps the frequency within the octave.  It is often lower-pitched in a sense and softer like rustling things.

Pink noise is simply background noise, it filters the sound space that distracts you. It’s a steady background noise that helps you sleepy faster at night.

For instance:

  • Waves crashing on the beach
  • Humming
  • Rainfall

4. Black Noise

This refers to ABSOLUTELY-COMPLETELY SILENCE. Just like the color black, black noise is the absence of sound with zero power at all frequencies.

A type of noise where the dominant energy level is zero throughout all frequencies, with occasional sudden rises.

Impact Noise and Airborne Noise in Soundproofing

No idea on soundproofing? Don’t know what DIY Soundproofing materials would be best to use in your home?

There are several ways on how you can effectively soundproof impact noise and airborne noise to dampen the din of construction, airplanes, honking horns, and other noisy intrusions going on in and around your home!

Noise is transmitted through vibrations. So, any booming piece of equipment produces vibrations that can transfer loud noise to adjacent rooms.

If you’re into audio recording, you’re very familiar with this struggle. In order to fix the result of your audio equipment, tones, and workplace, here’s a possible solution:

Impact Noise/Structure-Borne Noise

Impact Noise Diagram

Impact noise is the most difficult noise to stop. But there are various noise levels of reducing.

Different homes experience different impact noises due to the way the home was built and with the range of noise it reaches.

Fear not! We’ll help you go over the various levels of soundproofing to help reduce the unwanted noise sources, issues, and sudden loud bursts from your neighborhood!

  • Cover the existing walls and ceiling with some extra layer of ½-inch-thick drywall. It gives extra protection to some noise interference and a plastic polymer layer adhered to the back surface, which dramatically cuts noise.
  • Cover walls with thick blankets, moving pads, tapestries, or quilts. The panels are made from superior noise-dampening materials, such as soft foam rubber, dense polyester fiber, and cork.

Airborne Noise

Airborne Nosie Diagram

Airborne noise will always exist and is challenging and tricky to stop. This is as opposed to structure-borne sound that results from an impact or a continuous vibration process.

A noise against a part of a building fabric resulting in sound from an adjacent vibrating surface.

The amount of airborne sound in a space can be reduced by acoustic absorption, which reduces the amount of sound reflecting into space from the surfaces enclosing it.

One of the excellent ways to soundproof airborne noise is by:

  • Installing resilient channels, which are Z-shaped metal strips that go between the wall studs and drywall. The flexible, springy channels create what’s known as a decoupled wall, which effectively stops sound waves from passing through the wall.
  • If your room has a hard surface floor; wood, tile, or laminate, the simplest solution is to lay down an area rug to help absorb noise.
  • Buy an extra-thick pad under the rug for additional sound protection!


You can now practice your audio recordings with better information, if you ever question yourself on what you’re doing, just visit this article again!

You’re not only filled with a better sound source but also in a better position to reduce unwanted noise from outside your home and even inside!

About the Author


Andrea has always been bombarded by the hustle and bustle outside her home. Living in the city doesn’t get any quieter. The never ending noise from construction, traffic, and dogs barking on the streets day in and day out drove Andrea to a breaking point.

For 3 years, Andrea committed herself to studying DIY hacks, performing soundproofing experiments, and installing noise-free solutions. Now, she lives a quiet life free of the stress from noisy environments.

She hopes to share this knowledge so that others don’t have to endure the noise reigning in their ears and live a peaceful, stress-free life.