Best background noises for ADHD concentration

It’s really hard to ignore sensory input when you have ADHD. Irritating external stimuli – especially intrusive sound – makes it even harder than usual to concentrate. One thing I’ve found that helps me a lot is having neutral background noise playing through my (noise cancelling) headphones as I work. Here are my top tracks:

Apps & web pages with concentration audio


Browser, iOS, Android. Free. (Premium app options £0.79-£10.49)

An utterly fantastic website with 150+ sound generators to choose from. They’re categorised by situation – e.g. “I need to focus in a noisy environment” and even “I am a student with ADHD”.

Each generator can be mixed to your preference. The reviews below each tool link to the writer’s own settings. It’s such a clever site.

Some of the best:

  • Unreal Ocean (my favourite – and it keeps the dog calm)
  • Examination time (weirdly effective, considering my less-than-stellar academic career)
  • Speech blocker (the white noise generator, calibrated specifically to drown out background talking)

I haven’t experimented with the “brain hacking” sounds/isochronic tones yet – if any of you do, can you let me know how it goes? is free to use, although the creator (Stéphane) asks for contributions from those who can afford it.

A Soft Murmur

Browser, iOS and Android.

You can mix various background noises like fireplace, waves, storms etc., changing the levels to suit you.

Free version is great, or you can pay £2.39 for the full version with more sound effects (like coffee shop).


Works similarly to A Soft Murmer. It features fewer background noises, but comes with other perks:

  • You can play music over the top (Clair de lune is default)
  • Once you’ve stopped fiddling, a calming image overlayed with a timer appears – so you can see how long you’ve been working/studying

YouTube videos with good focus/relaxation tracks

Train journey background noises

I find train sounds very relaxing. In fact, often drift off on train journeys.

These tracks (hah) are also pretty good focus tools, though, which is counter-intuitive but effective!

Storm noises

Thunderstorm background audio was what put me onto this whole “noise for concentration” malarkey in the first place. Although I get a bit nervous when IRL thunder comes to visit, the recorded version is just right to drown stuff out.


Classical music is meant to improve focus – and there are tonnes of specialised channels that make specific concentration music – but I haven’t found many melodies that work in the same long-term way as more general background noise does.

However, there are a few tracks I turn to when I need a shorter boost of motivation or concentration.

I wish that there were more tracks featuring cannon fire.


I hope this list is helpful – if you have any favourites of your own, let me know and I will add them!

This is ace. I hadn’t tried any tracks with drums. Suggested by @jwitcraft

Featured image: Photo by Sai Kiran Anagani on Unsplash

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