The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


Broadband noise provides students with a focus strategy

Kaylee Yoon (‘26)

For some students, the presence of some sort of noise is essential to a successful studying environment. From white noise to brown noise to pink noise, there are many options from which to choose. But the question that remains is: how do such noises affect one’s ability to study?

First and foremost, what are the differences between these three types of noise? All three noises can be referred to as broadband noises, meaning that they contain all of the frequencies present in the audible sound spectrum. The low-frequency end of the spectrum contains sounds similar to that of an air conditioner. The high-frequency end of the spectrum sounds more akin to birds chirping. Similar to how white light contains all of the colors of the color spectrum, white noise contains all of the frequencies of the audible sound spectrum (from 20 to 20,000 Hertz). The three noises differ, however, due to their proportions of energy at different frequencies. White noise is known for having an equal distribution of energy at different frequencies. Brown noise, on the other hand, focuses more on low-frequency sounds and puts less emphasis on high-frequency sounds, like those present in white noise. Pink noise can be seen as a median between white and brown. Pink noise acts similarly to brown noise by prioritizing the lower frequencies but does not sound as deep as brown noise does. Additionally, yellow, green, blue, black and red noise exist. These work similarly to the three mentioned above.

Listening to white, brown, pink or other types of noise while studying can reduce distractions, thereby improving one’s focus. By creating a constant humming sound, these noises can assist in tuning out background conversation, music and other possibly distracting sounds. White noise is especially known for being effective in masking sounds.

Cherry Hill East psychology teacher Mrs. Sherri Orlando notes that the best technique for productive studying is minimizing interference.

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“[Minimizing interference] is why, I would imagine, people are focusing on the different frequencies of sound because it’s stimulating, right, but it’s not something that is going to distract, like listening to music,” Orlando said.

Unlike broadband noises, music typically includes lyrics. Such lyrics can be distracting when studying because your brain starts focusing more on the words in the song rather than the material on your desk. The human brain cannot focus on more than one thing at a time, so listening to music while studying can hinder concentration.

Orlando also noted that a big distraction when it comes to studying is a student’s cell phone.

“For you guys especially, for studying, your phones are one of your biggest hindrances to concentration and productivity because whenever you have an interference, whether that be somebody interrupting you, checking your latest message…you drop what’s in your short-term memory,” Orlando said.

Orlando explained that when you shift your attention by checking your phone, the information that you’ve collected in your short-term memory decreases by at least half, if not removing it completely.

Listening to broadband noises can be beneficial for any type of learner, not just auditory learners. However, different frequencies can be better suited for different people. Some people are sensitive to high frequencies. In that case, they would reap more benefits from listening to brown noise, which focuses more on the lower frequencies.

Orlando mentioned how she struggled to concentrate well in silence as a student. She preferred studying at a coffee shop where there was a natural “white noise.” When listening to music, she would listen to either instrumental music or music in a different language so that the lyrics would not serve as a distraction.

People who have trouble focusing would most likely experience the greatest benefits when listening to broadband noises, as they help minimize distractions. However, broadband noises can be helpful to all types of learners by helping to create an environment suited for studying.

Personally, I found listening to brown noise very helpful when completing reading homework. I tend to lose focus easily while reading, so I wanted to see how broadband noises would affect my productivity. I tested out listening to white and pink noise, as well, but decided that the brown noise was most appealing to me. I found that I was able to stay on task for a longer period of time when listening to the brown noise than without listening to it.

Orlando mentioned that broadband noises might not have as much of an impact when used during more cognitively demanding tasks.

“If [the task] is cognitively demanding enough, you block [the background noise] out anyways. It’s like, have you ever been listening to a playlist and you’re doing something and you’re in the zone and then, before you know it, your playlist is over and you don’t even remember having heard that song?” Orlando said. “You blocked out any of the information coming in because the demand [of the task] was so high.”

Overall, broadband noises help mask distracting noises, resulting in better concentration. You can find broadband noises on most music platforms, like Spotify or YouTube.

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About the Contributor
Jillian Koenig
Jillian Koenig, Eastside Editor-In-Chief
Jillian Koenig is one of the Print Editors-in-Chief for Eastside this year. When Jillian isn’t busy working on the current Eastside issue, she can be found discussing anything and everything about Taylor Swift, watching Legally Blonde (a cinematic masterpiece) or diving into a Panera Bread grilled cheese. Along with Eastside, Jillian is involved in Girls Who Code, Cum Laude, FOP and girls’ tennis at East. She’s so excited for another successful year for Eastside and to make more memories with the editorial board!

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