Can a person hear white noise?

What is white noise and why does it help you sleep?

White noise helps you fall asleep

Hearing is the only sense that remains fully active during sleep. This is intended to warn people of dangers. However, there is the disadvantage that you are disturbed or even woken up by noises while you are sleeping.

People who are very susceptible to it noisewaking up in their surroundings will benefit from white noise especially. The white noise suppresses interfering noises and suppresses ambient noise. So if noises occur while sleeping, they do not reach the sleeper's consciousness and do not wake the person.

However, experts warn against treating sleep disorders with white noise only, as this will fix the sleep disorder for the moment, but not the underlying problem.

Distractions are often a nuisance even in a concentrated atmosphere, for example when working, reading or studying. Telephone or email distractions can be easily turned off by closing programs or putting cell phones on mute. On the other hand, it becomes more difficult with ambient noise. Because, as already described above, the sense of "hearing" cannot be switched off.

Numerous employees in Germany are exposed to high levels of noise on a daily basis, including external sources (e.g. from construction sites) as well as internal sources such as colleagues or clattering keyboards. The consequences of this are particularly relevant in psychoacoustics, because the psychological effects of noises are often concentration problems and, as a result, a lower level of performance.

In this case, many use music, podcasts or radio plays. The ears then perceive little or no ambient noise through headphones. However, there is a risk here that the new source of noise becomes a distraction. White noise can mask ambient noises and in these cases help to increase concentration and thus to keep the level of performance permanently at the same level.

White noise as a sleep aid for babies

Many babies have trouble falling asleep for a variety of reasons. White noise can help here. The white noises manage to block out the surrounding noises, and the soothing noises remind the babies of the noises in the womb and thus have a calming effect.

Many parents are already wondering whether white noise as a sleep aid is harmful for babies. Long-term studies are not yet available, but the following points should be observed:

  • The white sounds to fall asleep should not run continuously, as they no longer contribute to calming down. In addition, babies should have different hearing experiences in order to develop their hearing.
  • The sounds should not be set too loud and not too close to the bed. It is essential to check the volume directly on the cot.

Does white noise help against tinnitus?

White noise can also occur with Tinnitus can be used. Here, noises are used against the tinnitus. The white noise does not follow any sound pattern (in contrast to music) and thus stimulates the brain. This calms down the hearing center and noises in the ears fade into the background.

There are various devices that can be used to play the white noise, including all mobile devices that can play back sounds. But there are also special ones Tinnitus hearing aidsthat generate a permanent noise and thus ensure that the tones heard cover the tinnitus.

More tips on Treatment of tinnitus you'll find here.

Youtube and apps against background noise

White noise can mask irregular noises with a monotonous sound. White noise apps and YouTube radio plays play the white noise and enable greater concentration or better sleep. Some of the sounds are also available and downloadable as MP3 files, so the sounds can be used anytime and anywhere.

Noise canceling apps can also filter ambient noise or even completely suppress it. With so-called noise canceling, an integrated microphone picks up the ambient noise. Then these are converted into counter sound and thus neutralize the sound waves that occur. Noise canceling headphones also work in a similar way to the apps; an additional app is no longer necessary.

Pink noise: what's the difference?

White noise always remains the same in volume, even if the frequency changes. Pink noise, on the other hand, becomes quieter the higher the frequency rises. Pink noise is also often referred to as 1 / f noise. The name comes from the fact that pink noise becomes quieter in inverse proportion to the frequency (ie “f”).

The blending of high and low frequencies makes pink noise most likely to sound like ocean noise. In addition, pink noise is said to have the effect of extending deep sleep phases and improving memory performance.

In contrast to pink noise, brown noise sounds more like stormy weather conditions and thus depends heavily on the listener's preferences. Examples of this are: thunderstorms, rain showers, open fires, distant thunderstorms or the noises of a hairdryer. The name does not come from the color, but from the Scottish botanist and namesake of the Brownian molecular movement, Robert Brown.

Both pink and brown noise can help with tinnitus and offer supportive treatment approaches. Just like the white noise, pink noise can be played by a generator.

There are numerous apps, online radio plays on YouTube and MP3 files for the diverse sounds, tones and noises. So everyone can test the noise and find the one that's right for him.