The Sleep Health Foundation has found that between 33% – 45% of people in Australia sleep poorly or not long enough most nights. This leads to fatigue, which can cause poor mood, lower productivity and a range of health problems. White noise machines can help people get to sleep by blocking disruptive ambient noise. Read on to find out about the most popular white noise machine Australia has on offer in 2019.
What is white noise?
White noise was discovered in the 1800’s when scientists such as Thomas Edison began experimenting with sound frequencies. What these scientists discovered is that there is a spectrum of sound frequencies, similar to the spectrum of light. These findings lead to the invention of early audio devices.
White noise is the combination of all of the notes in the audible spectrum being played at once, consistently. This is similar to the concept of light, where all the colours seen at once create white light. Below is a sample of pure white noise.
The sound created by white noise is unique because it has the ability to block out other noises and sounds. This is because it includes all audible frequencies which means other ambient noises get lost in the fray and will only reach your ears if they are significantly louder than the white noise.
How does white noise help with sleep?
Often people have trouble falling asleep when there are irregular and distracting noises in the environment. Sounds like this, that are sudden or unexpected, can also wake someone from their slumber.
The brain still hears during sleep. Research has shown that noises during sleep can shift a person’s sleep stage and change their heart rate and blood pressure even though they stay asleep.
White noise creates a masking effect for these other noises so that there is less distractions in a person’s sleep environment. White noise can be effective at drowning out traffic noises, a snoring partner, rowdy neighbours, etc. The soothing white noise is a constant background noise, which allows the brain to ignore it and fall asleep.
You may have experienced this effect yourself when you have slept with a fan or air conditioner, or there is a soft constant rain falling on the roof. People often report that these sounds relax them and help them get to sleep. If you are one of those people that love sleeping with the soft hum of the fan, then a white noise machine would help you sleep.
What is a white noise machine?
A white noise machine is very simply a machine that plays white noise. They are usually used as a sleep aid but can also be used to aid concentration, block out unwanted sounds, combat over-stimulation (often in children with ADHD) or help with tinnitus.
They are particularly popular with parents of newborns, because unborn babies experience a form of white noise while in the womb. Replicating this outside the womb can soothe anxious babies and block out environmental noises that often wake babies (particularly during daytime naps).
Types of white noise machines
White noise machines fall into two main categories, electronic or mechanical (sometimes referred to as digital or analog).
Electronic white noise machines
Electronic white noise machines usually come with soundscapes. Some people prefer this to the drone of white noise. They will feature sounds such as rain, waves, campfire, rhythms etc.
Sometimes these recordings play on very short loops (sometimes as little as 10 seconds) which can frustrate some people. The best white noise machines will be non-looping and they electronically generate their sounds. This (and sound quality) will be the main difference between a cheap white noise machine and a quality white noise machine.
With these machines, you have the ability to fine tune your white noise, making certain pitches louder. This can help if you are trying to block out a certain sound, like snoring.
Mechanical white noise machines
These machines are a real fan in a box that is contained so it wont create a breeze or make you cold. You can adjust the volume and pitch on these by moving the vents and changing the fan speed. Sometimes these ones aren’t as loud, but the sound created is more natural and quite soothing.
Mechanical white noise machines come without other sounds or music. These machines are durable but there aren’t many on the market anymore.
Factors to consider when buying a white noise machine
There are a few things to look at when choosing the right machine for you. Most of it just comes down to personal preference but here are some points to think about:
Price – Know your budget before white noise machine shopping.
Battery or plug in – Decide whether you need to use your white noise machine somewhere where you can’t plug it in. Also, check out the battery life in the machine to make sure it fits your needs.
Speaker size – Although you can play white noise through your phone, the speakers on your phone or earphones will not be large enough to play real white noise. The sounds they do offer may be sufficient for your needs though.
Portability – If you want to travel with your white noise machine or move it from room to room often then there are some nice small, lightweight travel options.
Timer – Some white noise machines will play all night, others (usually the ones that can run on battery) have a timer so they will shut off after a certain period of time.
Sounds – Think about whether you want the option to have environmental sounds and rhythms with your white noise.
We have researched and found the most popular and highest quality white noise machines. Take a look at the table below to find out what they are. Click on the name of the machine to find out where to buy it.
The information on this table is correct at time of publishing as far as we know. Please be aware that prices may change. If you know of any corrections please contact us.
Please note: This article is not to be used as medical advice. Always speak to a medical professional before using sleep products to make sure they are right for you. This post contains affiliate links.