Ever since I was a child I have been fascinated with with different objects that give off certain sounds. For as far as I remember I would always rush down the stairs whenever the washing machine was on its final spin, sit with my back against it and drift off into a world of relaxation. This would give me the feeling that can only describe as pure ecstasy, a feeling in which I can imagine not even heroin would be able to beat. I’ve indulged myself in this practice for years now. As I’ve got older I’ve discovered many more noises which send me to planet chilled, nowadays I can’t get to sleep without the fan on in the background or listening to a washing machine on youtube. For a man who has had trouble sleeping since he was a child this gives me the ability to sleep much faster and sounder than I ever could with plain silence…
So am I weird? Despite what my friends have told me, apparently I’m not. The noises I refer to that have became a daily fix if you’d like are known simply as white noise.
So what is white noise?
Without getting into all the boring and long scientific explanations of white noise it can be explained as simply noises that contain many frequencies at equal intensities.
It is called white noise as a kind of reference to white light. White light is all colours, or frequencies of colours combined together. In a similar way, white noise is a combination of all the different frequencies of sound we are able to hear.
Apparently when we are in the womb, the vibrations and sounds we hear are equivalent to white noise. Have you ever saw a wain having a tantrum or crying uncontrollably and then stop instantaneously the minute the hoover or something comes on? The sounds are believed to remind us of the womb, giving us that familiar feeling of safety.
Who does it effect?
People who take comfort in white noise are in the millions, across the world. It is very common amongst people despite the lack of coverage it receives. I put a status on Facebook a while back about how my washing machine comforts me and to my surprise, I got around 30 likes on it! A girl I know also commented on it saying how she liked to sit with her back against it, which made me realise I was not strange and a lot of other people were exactly like me!
White noise is a fantastic way of helping you sleep as well. Thousands of people purchase white noise machines in order to help them sleep. Some people use the sounds of rain or waves crashing etc. This is also white noise. It affects so many people, so many people who don’t even realise it!
What can be classed as white noise?
There are so many different machines, appliances etc. that give off white noise sounds. A fan, AC units, vacuums, aeroplane engines, washing machines, car engines, radio static, industrial units, ambient sounds, fridges/freezers. The list is simply endless.
As well as the above people have developed white noise machines, and white noise apps you can download. One app in particular has had over 42,000 ratings which just shows how many people have downloaded it! If you do need white noise to sleep or to be comforted then you should check these apps or machines out. A quick search into Amazon and it brings up nearly 2000 results, so you will be spoiled for choice!
A recent study showed the levels of white noise that babies are being subjected to can be harmful. I have tried to research this claim as much as I can and cannot reach an exact conclusion. There are many people/scientists saying that it can, but also a lot of them saying it is not. It should go without saying however if you are listening to white noise or your child/baby is then you should listen to it at a safe level. Just like music, if you listen to it with the volume way up there is a chance you can damage your hearing or in worst case end up with tinnitus! Listen to either at a normal level, and you should be ok. I have been using white noise daily for more than ¾ of my life and my hearing is good. I went for a medical recently and that confirmed this.
If like myself you do find comfort in white noise, just remember you are not weird and you are certainly not alone. If white noise does affect you or you have any questions then please get in contact with me or leave a comment, I would love to hear from you!