What Is White Noise? How Does White Noise Work? and Other Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is white noise?

The best way that white noise can be explained is that white noise, also called white sound, is not a "noise." White noise is actually a sound frequency or a signal that one hears as a gentle hiss, similar to the sound of wind rustling through trees, a waterfall, radio static or the ocean surf. To use a simple analogy, the color white contains the whole spectrum of colors of light. Similarly, white noise is created by using the entire spectrum of frequencies the human ear can hear.

In our state-of-the-art sound labs, we digitally create white noise by tuning and adjusting all of the sound frequencies to generate equal amounts of each frequency. We then test and calibrate the sound to ensure that all the frequencies are present in the correct amount, creating a soothing sound signal known as white noise.

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Where, when and how can I use white noise?

(For a chart about each of our different white noise sounds and their uses, visit our White Noise usage chart.)

Given today's hectic lifestyles, white noise provides an oasis of calm that can help you feel better and work more productively. You can even listen to the white noise through headphones, too!

Here are just a few of the many ways you can use white noise (ideal for infants and children too!)

  • As part of your regular sleep routine
    Play the white noise to comfortably mask outside sounds such as traffic, TV, snoring or other disturbing noises, for a good night's sleep.
  • Relieve insomnia, sleeplessness or restlessness
    Use white noise as an effective sleep aid, without drugs or pain medications! Its soothing sound is ideal for alleviating sleep disorders like insomnia, so that you can wake up more refreshed.
  • Enhance your work environment
    Improve concentration and productivity at the office by using white noise to mask distracting conversations, office equipment sounds or other noise.
  • Improve study skills
    Tune out noisy study areas, loud dormitories or even snoring roommates! White noise is great for improving attention spans and concentration skills.
  • Take white noise on the road!
    Take your own "comfort zone" with you when traveling. Mask loud, annoying outside hotel noises for a good night's rest. Never leave home without 100% Pure White Noise !

Click here for more tips about how to use white noise.

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Why do you offer so many different white noise sounds?

Which white noise sound(s) to use? For more information about each of our different white noise sounds and their uses, click here.

White noise offers a myriad of benefits, with some white noise sounds working better than others for specific uses. In addition, you may find some white noise sounds more pleasing than others.

For example, machine white noise, such as our Calming Electric Fan or Air Purifier White Noise, has a lower, more mellow tone that you might find more calming.

Babies, on the other hand, appear to enjoy the higher pitch of Vacuum Cleaner White Noise and Hair Blow Dryer White Noise.

Those suffering from inner ear disorders such as tinnitus and hyperacusis find Soothing Shower White Noise an ideal sound masker.

Which white noise sound(s) to use? For more information about each of our different white noise sounds and their uses, click here.

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Can I listen to / hear / sample white noise for free before I buy?

Yes! In fact, we encourage you to listen to the different white noise sounds offered, so that you can select the appropriate sounds that are effective for your situation as well as appeal to your sense of hearing. When you hear our white noise, you'll see (hear?) why it's one of the best white noise sounds available anywhere!

Every Pure White Noise® album listed on this website has a "Hear a Sample" link. Just click on that link and you'll be able to hear your selected white noise sound online, free. Click here for a complete listing of our white noise sounds, and then click on the "Hear a Sample" links of your choice.

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How does white noise help me relax or work as a sleep aid?

Life is full of disruptive sounds and noises, such as honking car horns, barking dogs, noisy neighbors, annoying snoring and screaming sirens.

Unlike playing music in such instances, white noise does not add to the clamor of noise. Instead, white noise contains equal frequencies of all sounds. Research has shown that a steady, monotonous stream of the same peaceful sound, such as white noise, can filter and mask distracting noises. This gentle continuous sound promotes a calm mood to help you relax and/or fall asleep.

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Does white noise mask office noise and acoustics, especially in a cubicle?


Even the workplace is not immune to distracting noise, especially within a cubicle office environment: background noise consisting of co-workers talking loudly on the phone, annoying office machines and other stressful bothersome sounds can hinder your concentration or invade your privacy.

White noise has long been used for sound masking acoustic systems in the workplace for its noise reduction and privacy benefits. To block noise and make it more conducive for you to concentrate on your work, especially in a cubicle, listen to our white noise CDs on your own personal CD player; use headphones if feasible.

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Is white noise good for babies, especially for colic?


The same soothing sonic benefits of white noise are quite effective in creating the right ambience for both parent and child to enable a safe yet natural sleep. Our customers have told us that our baby white noise mp3 downloads and CDs are particularly helpful in calming fussy or crying babies with colic, too. In fact, children under age 5 (and their harried parents!) can benefit from white noise.

White noise music is available in childrens lullabies, too, where each lullaby sound track is embedded with white noise and other therapeutic audio benefits, to help your child relax and sleep. Look for baby lullabies and nursery rhymes CDs and cassette tapes in our baby sleep sounds section.

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Can white noise help mask the symptoms of tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and hyperacusis (acute sound sensitivity)?

Yes! Tinnitus is the medical term for "ringing in the ears." Tinnitus may also be a symptom of Ménière's Disease, an inner ear disorder. Hyperacusis is a condition where all sounds are painfully too loud.

Among their recommendations for alleviating tinnitus symptoms, many audiologists and the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery suggest masking the ringing sound: play a competing sound at a constant low level, such white noise, to mask the tinnitus and make it less noticeable. The Hyperacusis Network notes that "White noise contains all frequencies, and therefore very gently stimulates all the nerve cells in the these subconscious networks, allowing them to be more easily programmed, or reset, so that tinnitus signals are no longer detected. It also reduces the contrast between tinnitus and otherwise total silence."

For hyperacusis sufferers, listening to white noise for a specific period of time every day can help improve the tolerance of sound. White noise therapy is not a cure, yet it may help improve the quality of life in a noisy world.

Be sure to check with your physician or audiology professional to determine if our white noise would be a beneficial masker for your particular case of tinnitus, hyperacusis or Ménière's Disease.

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Does white noise ease the vertigo and dizzy spells associated with vestibular or inner ear disorders?

Absolutely! For some people, dizziness or vertigo can also be a symptom of ringing in the ears (tinnitus) or Ménière's Disease. Here, too, playing white noise can help ease those dizzy spells.

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How does white noise help those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), autism, sensory integration and learning disabilities?

The benefit of white noise for anyone is that it can help lessen the noisy distractions of one's physical environment. That's why it's used to help people relax, sleep, and concentrate better.

Individuals with ADD/ADHD, hyperactivity, impulsiveness and other similar disabilities are more easily distracted by different sights and sounds within their surroundings. By masking or cancelling out extraneous sounds, white noise can be a very effective part of an overall program to promote greater focus, concentration, and productivity, as well as improved interpersonal behavior.

ADD/ADHD is recognized as a disability under federal legislation (the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Americans With Disabilities Act; and the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act). White noise may be an appropriate and reasonable accommodation at school for children with ADD/ADHD, and in the workplace for adults with ADD/ADHD.

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Is it true that white noise can help pets, especially dogs?

Yes, it is true! White noise is often recommended as a behavior modification tool, to help manage your pets' behavior, especially to relax them.

Many dog owners play white noise as an anti-bark control to stop their dogs from incessant barking at loud noises or if they're suffering from separation anxiety or fear. White noise also helps comforts your scared or nervous pet, especially if it's experiencing some form of pet phobia.

And, pets love to fall asleep to white noise, just like humans!

In addition to these tips on how to use white noise for pets, be sure to check with your veterinarian.

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How are these white noise albums better than white noise generators, white noise machines or sound conditioners?

The white noise sound conditioner machines and generators seen in stores or magazines may not be producing white noise with the full frequency spectrum. In reality, they may actually be creating controlled static, which does not offer the audio therapy qualities or the soothing tone of 100% pure white noise.

Our white noise CDs are carefully created to deliver soothing white noise benefits without purchasing any expensive machines, or lugging one around with you.

Best of all, you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars to enjoy the benefits of white noise!

After all, isn't it much easier and more cost-effective to just pop a pure white noise CD in your CD player and relax whenever and wherever you wish?

More importantly, with a CD or mp3 player you have full control over the bass, treble, volume and other sound settings that will make each white noise download and CD more effective for you and your surroundings.

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Can’t I just run a fan, vacuum cleaner or other motor sounds to create white noise?

No! When you run an actual machine or motors such as vacuum cleaners, fans or blow dryers, all you get is noise; white noise is a sound frequency.

Pure white noise combines all sound frequencies together, with equal values of low frequencies all the way up to very high frequencies.

With real electric motors, you have no control over loudness, tone, sound frequency or pitch, which can cause ear fatigue and irritability from prolonged exposure. (Can you imagine listening to a vacuum cleaner or blow dryer all night?) It also may not make a lot of sense running a fan or air conditioner in the dead of winter!

That’s why our white noise downloads and CDs can be an ideal solution. In our studios, we carefully record, re-mix and digitally master the sounds of nature or machines to create white noise at its finest. With white noise on your CD or mp3 player, you’ll have full control over the sound such as volume and tone to customize its benefits for your individual situation or mood.

This meticulous melding of frequencies creates a very soothing, restful bed of sound that's conducive to higher productivity in your work or studies, as well as setting the mood for rest, relaxation and sleep, or masking or blocking out noises.

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Can I download free white noise sample sound files?

Yes! Each Pure White Noise album has mp3 sound samples so you can click and listen or download and listen. Just look for teal the "Listen before you buy!" sound sample link on each album's product page. To listen to the sound samples, you will need either RealPlayer or Windows Media Player. Both are free, and easy to download.

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Who can contact if I have more questions about your pure white noise albums?

Please feel free to contact us at info@purewhitenoise.com for any questions you may have about our Pure White Noise downloads and CDs.