Boost Creativity With These 5 Cheap or Free Ambient Sounds Sites & Apps

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I used to think the reason I loved to work in coffee shops was the high quality espresso. But after I started working from home more, I noticed it wasn't the espresso I missing though, it was the murmur of a coffee shop environment. The quiet noise of life buzzing and banging and beeping around me. Turns out, I'm not alone.

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According to the Journal of Consumer Research, ambient noise levels ranging from 50 decibels to 70 decibels can increase creative productivity. Like yesterday's latest ambient sound website pick, there are numerous other sources for simulating working from an assortment of locations from the comforts of your own home (including my beloved coffee shop).

Here's five cheap or free sources of low level noise for improving output:

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1. Coffitivity App: For only $1.99, this app re-creatres the sound of a coffee shop for hours on end. It's the murmur of conversation meets the espresso machine, all without the $5 lattes.

2. Celestial YouTube Video: For people who have a long project ahead, this video is 10 hours long. It's just celestial noise, which is a lot like white noise. It's great for sleeping and working, but maybe skip it if sleepy when working.

3. Rainy Mood: A website that plays a "storm of the day" for people who like the sound of weather? Yes, please! There's an app for iPhone and Android too, for rain simulation on-the-go.

4. RainyCafe: Want to mix the calm natural sound of rain with the pleasurable buzz of a coffee shop? Then RainyCafe is the perfect mix. Playing them together is surprisingly effective at putting me in a work-friendly zone.

5. Live 365 Radio: This online radio service provides hundreds of "ambient" themed radio stations with a mix of music, noise and sounds, 24/7. Most of this style of music won't interfere with thought, but provides a pleasant background noise. And it's all free.

There's a caveat to all this creative noise though. Like overdoing it on the coffee, researchers report any noise over 85 decibels stifles focus to the point of reducing creative output. So keep those volume dials turned down before getting to work.

(Photo Credits: Kzenon/Shutterstock; Elizabeth Giorgi; Coffivity)

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Tech, Home Office, Office

Liz is a writer and filmmaker from Minneapolis. She was nominated for a Webby and won an Emmy for Science of Watchmen, a documentary short about the physics in the comic book movie. She’s a tech obsessive, verified nerd and total Anglophile.

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