Remove Background Noise in Audacity

This article teaches you how to use the "Noise Reduction" effect in Audacity to diminish background noise in an audio file.

10 Second Summary

1. Open an audio file in Audacity.
2. Select the part of the audio you wish to edit.
3. Click Effect.
4. Click Noise Reduction.
5. Click Get Noise Profile.
6. Click Effect again.
7. Click Repeat Noise Reduction.


Importing the Audio File

  1. Open Audacity. This program's icon resembles a blue pair of headphones with a red and orange sound wave in the middle of them.
    • If you haven't yet installed Audacity, you can download it for Mac or PC from the official site:
    • As of April 2017, Audacity is only partially supported for MacOS Sierra, meaning you may experience bugs while running it on renditions of Sierra.
  2. Click File. It's in either the top-left corner of the screen (Mac) or the top-left corner of the Audacity window (Windows).
  3. Hover over Import. You'll see this option about halfway down the File drop-down menu.
  4. Click Audio. It's the top option in the Import pop-out menu. Doing so will invoke a window in which you can select an audio file.
  5. Select an audio file. If your audio file in question isn't readily available on your computer's desktop, you may have to search through the folders listed on the left side of the window here. Once you find the audio file you wish to edit, click it to select it.
  6. Click Open. Doing so will open the music file in Audacity.
    • Depending on the file's size, importing it into Audacity may take a few minutes.

Reducing Background Noise

  1. Highlight the section of your file that you wish to edit. To do so, click and drag your mouse from one side of the section to the other, then let go of the mouse button. The section in question will have a dark-grey block over it, signifying that it is selected.
    • To highlight the whole thing, hold down Command (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) and press A.
    • It's best to select the whole audio track to ensure that the sound remains consistent after reducing the background noise.
  2. Click the Effect tab. It's either in the toolbar at the top of the screen (Mac) or in the toolbar at the top of the Audacity window (Windows).
  3. Click Noise Reduction. You'll find this option a little more than halfway down the Effect drop-down menu.
  4. Click Get Noise Profile. It's at the top of the pop-up window. This feature will determine what is noise and what is not, allowing you to filter out background noise while maintaining the integrity of the song or audio itself.
    • This feature works best if you select more than three seconds of audio.
  5. Click the Effect tab again. You should notice that there are now a couple of new options at the top of the drop-down menu.
  6. Click Repeat Noise Reduction. It's near the top of the menu here. Clicking this option will apply Audacity's perceived noise profile to the selected portion of the audio file, thereby removing some (or, in some cases, all) of the background noise.
    • If this process produces undesirable results, click the Edit tab at the top of the window or screen, then click Undo. After doing so, try highlighting a different section of the audio file.
  7. Save your changes. To do so, click the File tab, click Export Audio, and click Save. Your audio file should now have significantly less background noise.


  • Consider making a copy of the audio file you're editing before you save any changes.


  • Noise Reduction won't remove all background noise from a song, and it will occasionally remove all audio from a song (if this happens, simply undo the change and sample a different part of the song).

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