Can’t sleep well because of unwanted noise, chronic pain, normal physical development and/or other factors? Then do not despair, because there are sleeping aids that can help you get the sleep you need each night, and one of these is in the form of soothing sounds such as white noise (and other noise “colors” such as white, brown and black noise).
What Is White Noise?
There are two categories of sound waves: frequency (or the waveform’s vibration speed per second) and amplitude (or “power”).
White noise is a type of noise that contains a mixture of all audible frequencies that can be heard by human ears, including low-, midrange- and high-frequency sounds.
Some noise types, called “colors,” get their names based on colors of light wavelengths.White light contains all frequencies in the visible range, giving white noise its name. It can also be thought of as having “20,000 tones all playing at the same time.”
It is good to know that there is a misunderstanding as to what qualifies as “white noise.” Many believe, for example, that all static sounds (background noise that masks other sounds) such as those from air conditioners or fans are types of white noise. In reality, however, our environment is a mix of white, pink, brown and other noise “colors.”
Pure white noise is said to resemble a “hissing shhh” sound that you hear once a TV or radio is tuned to an unused frequency.
White noise has potential benefits that you need to know.
White Noise Potential Benefits
Helps Improve Your Sleep
A 2012 National Sleep Association poll found that only 5 percent sleep with “sound conditioners” such as a sound machine, app or a fan and other household devices.
White noise helps in sleep because it is an effective tool for noise masking. In fact, studies have indicated that white noise can block out other sounds that can interrupt your sleep among other positive effects. However, some research suggests that pink noise does the job more effectively.
If you use a white noise machine on your app or phone, for example, to help your babies/kids sleep more soundly, you are more likely to listen to a continuous signal of mixed sounds at a low volume, sounds that are not too loud or seem choppy. The sounds generated are consistent and ambient, allowing the white sound machine to mask other distracting or disturbing sounds.
Researchers believe that white noise makes one’s hearing threshold level reach its limit, meaning that the presence of background noise can become less likely to interrupt the brain during sleep.
Time reported that, according to experts, “even if your bedroom is pin-drop quiet, sound machines can be helpful, if you’re the type of person unsettled by a total absence of noise, or if you’re a light sleeper who wakes from even the softest sound.”
May Assist In Studying Or Working
A 2017 study published in Scientific Reports found that the benefits of white noise for studying include enhanced learning for new information. According to the study authors, “research suggests that listening to white noise may improve some aspects of cognitive performance in individuals with lower attention.”
The study had investigated the impact of white noise on new word learning in healthy young adults. Half of the participants were listening to white noises while learning, while the other half completed learning in silence. The results demonstrated that the white noise group experienced “enhanced lexical acquisition.” The study authors also pointed out that white noise improved performance on memory tasks and speech recognition among children with ADHD.
Do note that though it works on some people, white noise does not provide completely amplify all aspects of cognition and it is still unclear whether it can actually decrease attention among others, such as those who focus better when working without noise. Overall, studies suggested that, depending on specific task demands, timing and other factors, white noise results in different effects on perception and cognition.
Reduces Agitation Or Stress
Certain studies have uncovered evidence that white noise can serve as a “simple, convenient, and noninvasive intervention that improves agitated behavior in older adults.” A particular study found that sound machines can improve the moods and behaviors of older adults living with dementia.