Noise has health effects, and it can be good or bad. Good music may soothe the mind and emotions, but be careful not to have it too much. Even that could damage your health if it goes out of control and becomes noise pollution. And lots of folks today can’t tell whether the sound they enjoy is still good music or just pure noise pollution. So I thought of sharing here the health benefits of white noise.
Noise pollution can lead to bad stress or distress, hypertension, sleep loss, tinnitus or even hearing loss. The music you think you’re enjoying through your earphones may be pleasing to you but it may turn out to be nothing but noise pollution already. This is especially so when it interferes with meaningful conversation and diminishes your quality of life. Compared to hearing God’s voice, for instance, good music is mere noise.
Sleep is essential to good health. However, there are millions today who do not enjoy 8 hours of good sleep, especially at night. Noise and vibrations caused by sharp wee noises get in the way of good sleep and affects health and moods. That’s why they came up with a good thing called white noise. It’s about capturing light, soft, gentle sounds that soothe the mind and induce sleep. It’s noise that’s pleasant and prods the mind to relax. And they captured this “noise” in a machine so anyone can easily get the health benefits of white noise.
It’s like the soft sound of gentle waves on the shore and you’re some good distance from it—not too far so you can’t hear it nor too near so you hear it too much. Just a soft and light, lullaby-like, mesmerizing sound that makes you relax and give in to sleep. Later, it puts you into a deep sleep. Some white noises are designed for calm, composure and mental refreshment conducive for office work.
I’ve tried listening to some white noise that scared me more than it relaxed me. The ideal is air sound. Not the sound of the wind but gently rushing air. It settles your brain and puts you in relaxing mode, helping you ignore any disruptive noise that may be lurking in the background or surroundings. Better if the white noise continues through the night, keeping you from having micro-sleep disruptions that break the flow of a healthy sleep. Then you wake up in the morning thoroughly refreshed in mind and body. That’s among the health benefits of white noise.
White Noise for Babies
Having a hard time putting your baby to sleep? It’s probably due to the noise around you. Babies can sometimes be so sensitive even to wee noises. When my kids were infants it so pissed me off when I had just struggled to put them to sleep and then a small, tiny, minuscule noise—like a creak on the wooden floor—jolted them awake again. But white noise machines blur, weaken or drown unwanted noise so that only its pleasant “noise” dominates the surrounding.
But it’s a wonder how infants can go on sleeping soundly with lullaby songs or mom’s humming music. Perhaps, lullabies and mom’s humming music are white noises, too. But I wonder if they can work on adults as well. In my case, I don’t need lullabies or white noise. My problem is, the moment I hit bed I’m off to sleep. Fact, I can even sleep standing in a bus. No kidding.
But Caution Here
However, any noise, be it white, black or otherwise, can be harmful when abused or if it goes out of control. According to audiologists, the human ear can withstand only around 20 to 30 decibels (dB). Imagine what an 85dB noise does to someone exposed to noise for 8 hours due to his job? Eight hours of noise pollution from traffic, co-workers, machines in the workplace, noise in malls and the environment can eventually cause serious health problems like tinnitus or ringing, roaring or buzzing sound in the ears or head that makes you crazy. It can later lead to hearing loss. It is caused by exposure to loud noise. So careful with your earphones, millennials.
Thus, audiologists warn against putting white noise machines very near infants or increasing the volume to thoroughly drown out other noises. We have the tendency to do that when we see that a certain sound puts out unwanted noise around us. Like when there’s street drilling outside so we turn the music volume full blast, thinking we’ve gotten rid of the noise. Actually, we just replaced one noise with another noise that’s equally harmful to health.
When using white noise machines for babies, here’s what Tracy Saunders, registered Audiologist from the College of Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists of Ontario, has to say:
“I realize that the easiest answer is not to use sound machines at all. But that advice may not be practical for some. For people (such as myself) that do believe sound machines can help improve a child’s quality/quantity of sleep, I would insist on the low volume/far away strategy.” [From Hearing Solutions]