Sound plays a crucial part in changing one’s mood. When you listen to a pleasant sound, your mood is elevated, while unpleasant noise annoys you. However, white noise is an exception. It helps one to sleep better, reduce stress, and sometimes recover from tinnitus.
White noise is a type of noise containing many frequencies with equal intensities. Although noise usually accompanies displeasure, white noise is an exception – it has sound, but it’s not offensive but rather ambient.
Noises provided in natural settings are representative white noises – such include rain fall, ocean wave, river, wind in the trees. Other white noises include sounds produced by electronic machines like fans and refrigerators. These white noises are perceived as meaningless sounds and work as buffer to protect against sharper noises.
Calming and repetitive characteristics of white noise is helpful in various ways. When the surrounding is too quiet, it is easy to become sensitive to any sound. With white noise, however, you won’t be distracted by other quiet environmental noises. It can also camouflage the annoyance caused by tinnitus, a ringing in the ear occurring without any stimulus.
White noise is also effective when you want to soothe a crying baby. Since the outside world is uncomfortably quiet compared to the womb, babies feel more pleasant and comfortable in enough noise. When your baby cries uncontrollably, gently rub a plastic bag near his or her ear to make a white noise.
Definition of a pleasant white noise depends on each person. Because people perceive each white noise differently, one has to try different white noises to find the best fit. If you find white noise unpleasant, try pink noise or brown noise, which boost or emphasize the lower frequencies.
When you use white noise as a sleep aid, try not to grow addictive to it. Listen only when you have trouble sleeping, 1 to 2 hours before the sleep. When insomnia continues over two weeks, please see a doctor.
Original document available from www.koreadaily.com/news/read.asp?art_id=4154594
Translated by Heewon Kim