Remember when you were just a small tot and your mom would caution you to be quiet as your dad is having a pre-dinner nap after a hard day in the office? Although some people can sleep through all kinds of rackets, others are easily awakened by a barking dog or a passing car. But now there is a new device that deadens all types of noise – the white noise machine. To make the most out of this device, you have to know more about what is a white noise machine and how it can help you.
Although it is not really white this white noise machine is similar to white light that combines all frequencies as one. It has a random signal that is considered as white noise for its spectrum is flat above the widest possible bandwidth of the medium. This means that white noise has the propensity to camouflage sounds coming from a broad extension of frequencies. The sound comes from a device that produces a sound that is indiscriminate in random character. It may sound like waves lapping the seashore or the breeze blowing through the trees.
When you invite white noise to your bedroom, you are using a principle called sound masking. The device does not eliminate the unpleasant sound but instead it masked the frequencies using the white noise signal
Is it not strange for you to bring inside your slumber chamber “noise” to help you fall asleep? It may sound contradictory but its effectivity has been proven to work as the noise simply blends with whatever are external sounds in the overall background as barking dogs, running motorcycle or noisy neighborhood. It seems that your brain is paying less attention to unpleasant noise and turning your attention to the white sound.
Seth S. Horowitz, a neuroscientist, explains that in the evolution of hearing, it has developed a kind of alarm system that operates even when you are asleep. Your ears become used to the sounds in your environment unless they alarm your cognitive radar as being worthy of attention. It is the context of the sound that keeps you awake, not necessarily the volume. The system of hearing is discriminatory as it makes possible for some people to sleep in the midst of a boisterous rally. It is the same reaction when you are startle and wake up from the noise of an ambulance siren many blocks away.
Throughout its amplification in a wide range of frequencies, white noise system has been constant. When real white noise is electronically generated, due to lots of high frequency energy, you hear unpleasant sounds like a radio or TV statics; it is unpleasant to the ear so there are other types of white noise sounds.
When used as a general description, white noise has become a colloquial term to stand for myriad of sounds:
These are sounds imitating nature. Many love the sound of rain, waves lapping the shore, waterfalls falling on rocks, chirping of birds or crickets, the wind traversing in the rainforest, echoes from the jungle and etc.
Noises from machinery are not welcome by many but its continuous monotonous rhythm can lull you to sleep. Noise coming from an air conditioning units, washing machine, electric fan, electric egg beater, and etc., are sleep-inducing.
The sound you imagine coming from an ambient landscape is a potential noise maker for sleep. Listen to the sound of an aircraft interior, crackling woods in a campfire, crowd noise in a horse race, a fleeting train running along a railroad, and etc.
These types of sound are preferred by most people to put them to sleep instead of the raw tone of pure white noise.
White noise is as colorful as a rainbow, it boosts of many colors to include: brown, blue, green, grey, pink, red and violet, to name a few. Colors differ as they are representatives of precise spectral density and have varied apps in other fields as in acoustics, engineering and even physics.
Pink noise tops as the most commonly used alternative to true white noise. It has been systematically filtered to lessen its power as the frequency arises. Unlike white noise that has equal intensity across frequencies; pink noise maintains the same equal intensity across octaves. Studies on pink noise as a potential sleep aid gave promising results. They promote better sleep as they drown out sounds that usually keep you from falling asleep or waking you up in the middle of sleep. Such devices do not emit the harsh sound as a white noise, but more on pink noise whose power runs its course in more elevated frequencies, or other colors of noise.
Pink noise is a signal whose frequency spectrum has power spectral energy that is opposite to the frequency of the signal. Every octave in pink noise bears an equal amount of noise power.
Uses of white noise
Some tips that won’t cost you a penny for a white noise machine
A number of researches confirmed that white noise sound machine has no harmful effects on humans. Another study, although unrelated to sleep, showed that white noise benefits ADHD patients in alleviating concentration and their cognitive performance.
There were issues linking white noise to health risk in infants when scientists claimed too much white noise exposure affects infant’s brain development. However, it is wise for parents to use white noise for babies on special occasions so it will not cause lasting damaging effects. It is best to consult baby’s pediatrician for any special concern.
Noise machines utilized their own measurement and color coding technique. This enables specialized users to recognize noise and sound based on individual needs and usage. Specialization of needs is dependent on professions and individual requirements. Individual needs are special ones required by various activities such as a student needing a favorable environment to study, office workers who need a quiet office to work with concentration, a baby who is starting to adapt to the world outside the mother’s womb. The more with professionals as psychiatrists and doctors who need certain sounds for therapies and treatments, and patients suffer from certain conditions ranging from insomnia to anxiety and even tinnitus. These conditions are overcome with special devices known as a white noise machine. The “white” is the color code given to noise having a particular frequency spectrum.
Now that you have learned what a white noise machine is, use it to your best advantage.