Mask Sound with
a White Noise Generator

Fight noise with white noise! A white noise generator covers over irritating sound by producing steady, soothing background noise.

Have you ever found that you were able to sleep better with an air conditioner or fan running, or perhaps with the sound of rain falling outside? If so, then you're already familiar with the concept of white noise as a way to mask distracting sounds. White noise is used as background noise that is created to "drown out" annoying noises.

Uses for White Noise

White noise is popular for helping people sleep, and it's also useful for helping students study, or for anyone who needs to concentrate. It calms and soothes babies, and is useful for travelers who find it hard to get to sleep in different environments with their unfamiliar noises. If traffic sounds, ticking clocks, and other people's conversations are bothering you, white noise can be a good solution. If white noise by itself doesn't quite do the trick, don't forget that you can use ear plugs at the same time; the combination of the two might be the magic solution that brings relief.

Many office environments install white noise systems to help minimize distractions for office workers, and also to maintain speech privacy. Most workers and visitors never notice the white noise (and if they do, they attribute the sound to the building's ventilation system), but if it is turned off, a multitude of small sounds suddenly becomes noticeable in the unsettling silence. Water fountains in hotel lobbies and other public areas serve a similar purpose, besides adding aesthetic beauty.

A specialized use for white noise is in treating tinnitus (ringing in the ears). White noise can often bring immediate temporary relief from the annoying sounds of tinnitus, and when used as part of a well-designed treatment program, it can help in training the brain's neurons to ignore the sounds.

Sources of White Noise Sound

There are many sources you can use to generate sound-masking background noise (generically called white noise):

Considerations When Choosing a White Noise Generator

When choosing a white noise generating source for yourself, here are some things to consider:
  • The volume that the device is capable of producing, and how adjustable it is. Some sources may not be loud enough to mask the noises you're trying to deal with.
  • The variety of sounds that are available. Do you want the option of hearing nature sounds, or just pure white noise sound?
  • Whether the noise generated is random, or is a recording of a loop that repeats. If the repeating loop is too short, some people start noticing the repeating patterns, which becomes a distraction in itself.
  • Whether it has an audio-out jack, in case you'd like to use it with headphones or a pillow speaker.
  • Compactness and portability, especially if you plan to use it for travel.
  • Cost. (Some sources are free!)

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