White noise machine

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A clock radio that includes a white noise machine.

A white noise machine is a device that produces a sound that is random in character, which sounds like a rushing waterfall or wind blowing through trees. Often such devices do not produce actual white noise, which has a harsh sound, but pink noise, whose power rolls off at higher frequencies, or other colors of noise.


White noise devices are available from numerous manufacturers in many forms, for a variety of different uses, including audio testing equipment, sound masking products, sleep-aid devices, and power-nap machines. Sleep-aid and nap-machine products may also produce other soothing sounds, such as music, rain, wind, highway traffic and ocean waves mixed with—or modulated by—white noise. White noise generators are often used by sufferers of tinnitus to mask their symptoms.

Sound and noise have their own measurement and color coding technique, which enables specialized users to identify noise and sound according to respective needs and utilization. These specialized needs are dependent on professions and particular needs, as different needs are required by varied activities such as a psychiatrist who needs certain sounds for therapies and treatments on a mental level, and patients who suffer from certain conditions ranging from insomnia to anxiety and even tinnitus, these conditions are overcome with special devices which are designed to create certain sounds that overcome such conditions at a mental level. This device is known as a white noise machine, where “white” is the color code given to noise having a particular frequency spectrum.

The sounds generated by digital machines are not always truly random. Rather, they are short pre-recorded audio-tracks which continuously repeat at the end of the track.

Manufacturers of sound-masking devices recommend that the volume of white noise machines be initially set at a comfortable level, even if it does not provide the desired level of privacy. As the ear becomes accustomed to the new sound and learns to tune it out, the volume can be gradually increased to increase privacy.

Manufacturers of sleeping aids and power-napping devices recommend that the volume level be set slightly louder than normal music listening level, but always within a comfortable listening range.


Most modern white noise generators are electronic, usually generating the sound in real-time within audio test equipment, or via electronic playback of a digital audio recording.

Simple mechanical machines consist of a very basic setup, involving an enclosed fan and (optionally) a speed switch. This fan drives air through small slots in the machine's casing, producing the desired sound.

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