Noisli: Type to the sounds of rain, trains, and waves

Relax during your stressful workday with Noisli, a website and app that mellows your mood with gentle background noises, shifting colors, and even a text editor.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read

Just a few of Noisli's sound possibilities. Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Microsoft Word has a ton of features, but it doesn't have soothing color-changing backgrounds and gentle rain noises to mellow you out while you type. If that's what you've been looking for in a text editor, then head over to Noisli for a different kind of word processing experience.

Noisli founder Stefano Merlo started the site as a side project late last year. He tells CNET it was born from "a personal desire."

"Since a long time, I was aware about the topic and the benefits of background noises to improve productivity and to better relax, but everything I found on the web wasn't satisfying my need and wasn't what I had in mind," he said. "So, I simply decided to create my own background noise generator."

The site lets you choose from a selection of background noises like wind, thunder, crickets, a fan, and waves. It also has an extremely stripped-down text editor. Since the website launched, the sounds on it have been played more than 9 million times.

"I receive daily many emails from all over the world thanking me for creating this service and in many cases telling me how Noisli improved their working day, study, sleep, or simply their everyday life," Merlo said.

"The service is mainly used as a concentration booster during work by coders, programmers, bloggers, writers, students, and translators," he added. "Noisli is also used by many teachers in the classroom as a base for creative writing classes or for exercises/games in elementary school."

He has also heard of it being used to help kids fall asleep at night, help puppies adjust to the sound of thunderstorms, and as a part of rehabilitation therapy for people suffering from tinnitus.

The iOS app version of Noisli (99 cents, 69 pence, AU$1.29) just came out Thursday to make the experience portable. It is pure simplicity. It features two pages of images corresponding to specific sounds. You choose your noises and can control the volume of each one. One entertaining way to approach this is to turn on all the sounds at once until you have a storm with waves, wind, thunder, a cafe with quiet chatter, and a train rolling along the tracks. There are also three different white-noise options to keep you busy.

Between the app and the website, Noisli has you covered for just about any environment. My personal favorite is the train-on-the-tracks audio. I always sleep well on trains, so triggering the sound puts me in a happy place. I've been listening to it the whole time I've been writing this article. I have to say, I feel pretty mellow right now.