Learn about white noise therapy and how it helps you falling asleep or masking the buzz produced by the tinnitus.
What white noise is
When we talk about white noise or white sound we are referring to a constant and monotonous noise comprising all the frequencies that human ear captures with its same amplitude or power.
This noise masks the background sound and induces a relaxing and calm state to the mind.
The sound from the radio or the TV without tuning, the whistling of the air conditioner or the raindrops are some examples of white noise, where no frequency stands out above another.
Multiple relaxation therapies use white noise, as science attributes its calming effect to the capacity of the noise to mask the rest of the sounds. In listening to white noise, the ear and cerebral cortex saturate and the rest of the sounds are not able to overstep this hearing barrier.
Relaxation through white noise
Lately the usage of white sound has been extended in order to help babies and children to fall asleep. This technique began being used in Neonatal Intensive Care Units, as it emulated the sound of the maternal uterus and helped babies to sleep better.
Hearing is the only sense that continues working while we are sleeping, therefore, some sounds with altered frequencies can disrupt sleep.
By using white noise we can achieve masking the ambient noise and avoid startles. But there is a risk, it can create and lead to certain dependency when approaching sleep. Furthermore, babies stop learning the masked sounds, which are also important for their development.
White noise technique for sleeping it is also used in adults who have trouble sleeping, as this kind of noise is capable of covering other sounds with which we live daily such as traffic, neighbours, etc. White sound has the ability to calm and soothe the mind, as these are sounds that hearing gets used easily and helps to avoid hearing startles during the sleep.
White noise contraindications
Constant exposure to this kind of sound while sleeping causes that the hair cells in the inner ear remain active during the sleep. This is the moment where the body carries out the regeneration processes, according to the neuroscientist Seth Horowitz’s article published by BBC Mundo. Keeping active the hearing cells can make the body harder to regenerate this zone.
White noise as tinnitus treatment
People suffering from tinnitus hear a constant buzz or ringing in their ears.
This ailment has no cure at the moment, but in some hearing re-education therapies white noise is used.
White sound is used in patients with tinnitus as training. With this training it is intended to re-educate the auditory pathway. This way, an attempt is made to reduce tinnitus contrast, its sound over silence, and correcting the over excitation of the auditory pathway. With this technique, the person suffering from tinnitus could progressively achieve to overshadow the buzzing, as the white noise is used in both ears simultaneously without masking the tinnitus.
What about you, have you ever heard about the white noise? Have you ever used it? Let us know your related experience in the comments below.