Distractions and the Software Engineer

I have been a software developer for a number of years and I find there are many sonic distractions in the office that prevent me from concentrating.  Sometimes it is something small like someone eating an apple in a loud way or something big like a boisterous meeting conducted in an adjacent cubicle.  A lot of developers listen to music but even music can sometimes be distracting especially if it has words.  So, over the years I have compiled a few sources of noise that doesn’t distract, to block out the ambient noise.  Here is a list of some good noise sources that cover sounds, but aren’t a distraction themselves.


SimplyNoise is my favorite noise generator because it simply plays white, pink or brown noise.  You’d be surprised at how much ambient noise this can block out.  I like the brown noise best because seems softer than the others.  SimplyNoise also has an app for iOS and Android.


Similar to SimplyNoise, PlayNoise is a noise generator which has all the colors and options SimplyNoise provides only with a simpler interface.  PlayNoise has no mobile apps.


This site is quite amazing.  You can pick an environment, like outside in the rain or maybe a boat floating in the sea, and then you can set the volume and frequency of all the ambient sounds.  Too much thunder?  Make them softer or less frequent!  Ambient-Mixer also has iOS and Android versions.

Music For Programming

This is a simple site that provides a list of music that “aid concentration and increase productivity”.  I’ve listened to the first few “episodes” and they are great!


This is a free electronic radio site that also has apps for all major phones.  It is great because it has many, many channels some of which are just chill ambient sounds.