Why Is White Noise Beneficial to Everyone?

Why Is White Noise Beneficial to Everyone?

Last update: 05 May, 2018

Learn about the health benefits of white noise for babies and adults in this article.

What is white noise?

The word “noise” has different meanings. A noise can be an interference, a distortion or a non-articulated sensation at the auditory level.

This word originates from the Latin nausea, which referred to a feeling of discomfort or annoyance.

White noise is a signal that doesn’t have a certain pattern. It’s the result of combining all audible frequencies, ranging from 20 to 20,000 Hertz.

White noise is characterized by its frequencies (low, medium, high) that  have an equal amplitude level at the same time.

The same happens at the optical level with white light. This is why white noise was given that name.

White noise and health

There are several studies on the health effects of white noise, but none of them is conclusive. More studies are needed to determine its effects on the human body.

White noise is said to benefit health because it encourages meditation and concentration. In the same way, these noises help fight insomnia by promoting relaxation.

Studies conducted on animals have found that those who were exposed to other noises retained fewer things in their memory than those exposed to white noise.

The relationship between different kinds of noise

White noise integrates other noises; it doesn’t eliminate them. Since the brain is listening to thousands of frequencies at once, it isn’t able to distinguish a particular one at that time.

The correct use of white noise can help mask certain noises coming from the street. Among them are the noise of traffic, neighbors or construction work on public roads.

In this way, you can rest, study or work, as the white noise helps increase your level of concentration.

Tinnitus is an auditory phenomena characterized by hearing sounds that don’t occur outside the ear. These sounds generate anguish and insomnia.

With the help of white noise, this condition can be significantly reduced.

White noise and babies

There is often talk about the benefits that white noise can have on babies. Some experts say it has a relaxing capacity for the little ones in the house.

The white noise integrates or absorbs any noise that could disturb the child. After a few minutes, babies can reach a state of relaxation and achieve calmness.

By increasing the degree of relaxation, white noise helps children sleep longer. These factors help reduce stress in babies.

Fatigue resulting from activity and movements during the day or over-stimulation can stress a newborn.

Why Is White Noise Beneficial to Everyone?

Another hypothesis about the benefits of white noise in newborns indicates that the sound environment inside the uterus during pregnancy closely resembles white noise.

That’s why it generates a feeling of pleasure, security and calmness in the baby.

Another benefit of white noise in babies is to calm crying. As a result, they avoid being stressed for too long.

Specialists say it’s important for children to not get used to sleeping with white noise. It must be used only on occasion, not every night.

White noise and adults

In adults, during the REM sleep stage, contact with white noise works as a brain stimulant. It helps us reach a state of relaxation that creates a beneficial environment for sleep.

Currently you can find a lot of devices that emit this type of noise. There are applications for mobile devices available that have several options of white noise to choose from.

At the moment, all these innovations tend to focus on offering a solution to fall asleep.

Specialists recommend avoiding very frequent contact with this type of noise at a high volume. In children, the noise level should not exceed 50 decibels.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Maqueda Blasco J., Ordaz Castillo E., Cortés Barragán R.A., Gamo González M.F., Bermejo García E., Silva Mato A., Asunsolo del Barco A. “Efectos extra-auditivos del ruido, salud, calidad de vida y rendimiento en el trabajo; actuación en vigilancia de la salud” Escuela Nacional de Medicina del Trabajo. Instituto de Salud Carlos III. Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación. Madrid. 2010.
  • Pantley, E. (2016). The no-cry sleep solution for newborns: amazing sleep from day one. McGraw-Hill.
  • Spencer, John & J Moran, D & Lee, A & Talbert, David. (1990). White noise and sleep induction. Archives of disease in childhood. 65. 135-7. 10.1136/adc.65.1.135.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.