What is a white noise machine?
A white noise sound machine is a special device that generates steady soundwaves to reduce fluctuations between background sounds and other acoustic elements (e.g., door slamming). This will improve the quality of your sleep and prevent sleep interruptions.
For individuals who struggle to fall asleep, white noise will create an ambient sound environment that facilitates the process.
Throughout several studies, sleep specialists confirmed the positive effects of white noise machines and how they improve the quality of life.
In this article, we will cover the history of these machines, their mechanism of action, the different sounds they produce, and their main indications.
The history and evolution of white noise machines
According to reports, white noise was first identified in the 1920s and was used as a test signal since it was generated by the sum of all the audible frequencies in equal proportion.
However, the first domestic white noise machine dates back to 1962, when a traveling salesman manufactured this machine to imitate the sound produced by the air conditioners (AC) in the motels he stayed in.
The main problem this salesman faced was the inability to fall asleep when he was home because he got used to AC noises.
Since then, the white noise machine has undergone multiple modifications to improve user experience and enhance the quality of sleep.
How does a white noise machine work?
As explained above, white noise describes a set of soundwaves that may occur naturally in the environment (e.g., rainfall) to block other noises, such as traffic, construction work, and neighbors talking.
The logic behind this invention is the discovery that our brains do not get aroused from deep sleep by ambient noise, but rather by soundwave fluctuations.
For instance, if you live in a house near a river or any source of running water, you will notice that sleeping with this noise is no problem at all.
On the other hand, if you live near a busy street, you might get startled several times during the night because of car honking or door slamming.
In a 2016 study, researchers analyzed the effects of white noise on sleep quality in 60 participants who were admitted to the hospital for coronary artery disease management.
At the end of the study, they concluded that “the use of white noise is recommended as a method for masking environmental noises, improving sleep, and maintaining sleep in the coronary care unit.”
For optimal results, the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends keeping the noise machine at least 7 feet (200 centimeters) away from your bed.
As for the location of the white noise machine, you should always place it between you and the source of external sounds.
For instance, if you live near an airport and the disturbing noises come through your window, place the machine next to the window, so it acts as a noise buffer.
The different sounds produced by white noise machines
High-quality white noise machines are capable of generating a myriad of sounds that resemble natural environments.
Here is a shortlist of some commonly produced sounds:
- Nature sounds (e.g., running water, ocean, rainfall, river, thunderstorm)
- Baby soothing sounds
- Mechanical sounds (e.g., fan sounds, air conditioning, train sounds)
- Relaxing sounds
- Outdoor sounds
- Babbling brook sounds
- Fireplace sounds
- Country sounds
Indications of white noise machines
White noise machines are beneficial for several groups of people, including:
- Insomniac patients
- Individuals living in noisy environments
- Babies and infants
- Office and hospital workers
- People with snoring issues
- Patients with tinnitus
For more information about the uses of white noise machines, check out this blog post.
The importance of choosing a high-quality white noise machine
While you might be intrigued by incredibly cheap white noise machines, you should be aware that the price of the device is proportional to the quality and pureness of the produced sounds.
You see, companies that produce high-quality white noise machines invest a big chunk of money to hire sleep specialists, design experts, and engineers to come up with the best possible device. Consequently, you can enjoy a good night's sleep without having to worry about the effects of that sound on the ears.
On the other hand, buying a white noise machine from a shady website for a few bucks might cause more harm than good.
A major characteristic that you should be looking for in high-quality white noise machines is the non-looping feature. In other words, when the soundtrack ends, you will not hear a moment of silence before running the track again.
In a nutshell...
White noise machines are useful tools to improve sleep quality and help patients who deal with chronic insomnia.
Hopefully, this article provided some background about the function and benefits of white noise machines.
If you're looking for the right sound machine, please don’t hesitate to check here which not only has the 36 high fidelity sounds and 8 different night light options to lull you to sleep, but also got the best battery backup.