The Wonders of White Noise


In the course of our lives we will inevitably run into a circumstance in which we desperately need quiet but don’t have it. One way of creating a more controlled environment in which we can study, sleep, work, build tall towers out of overcooked breakfast sausages, or otherwise function is to utilize white noise.

This week I had a chance to share some of my favorite white noise websites and figured I’d post them online too. After all, most American adults don’t get nearly enough sleep, and sometimes we need a little buffer between us and the rest of the world to focus on the tasks at hand.

First, check out the Relaxing White Noise channel on YouTube. Aaaah… Skyscraper, Gentle Creek, Space Odyssey, and Interstellar Voyage are just some of the options, along with one of the most effective white noise sources known to man, the box fan. Previously box fans were only practical during sweltering summer months. Now you can enjoy the ambiance year round.

Next, drift on over to Yogaduke’s channel. While I personally don’t practice elements of eastern religions, there is still a wealth of useful audio pleasures on here. Think Rain on a Tent, Rain in the City, Driving in a Thunderstorm, Waterfalls, Fans, and Hotel AC. Yogaduke also has a video for cats that is on the Top Ten list of feline-approved videos in my household, Feeding the Birds. (Disclaimer: If you’re playing the relaxing sound videos and this one happens to come on, you could very well be awakened by a cat pounce to the chest and excited nananana chattering as your cat zeros in on its virtual prey.)

Saunter along over to Randall’s Rest and Relaxation station. Randall has some of the most innovative and effective white noise combinations this side of the Mississippi (although in truth, I don’t know where Randall is). Rain + Fan + Cat + Heart is amazingly soothing. Fireplace Sounds… Night Forest Ambiance… River Sleep… and LOUD fans in all shapes and sizes. Diesel Vibrations… Midnight Train… I thought he’d hit his peak with 12 Fans for 12 Hours, but then he went and recorded 31 FANS!! Oh wait, he now has an epic 64 FAN MEGA VIDEO!

While you might be asking yourself how some of these sounds are relaxing, different sounds work for different people. Sounds can link us to pleasant childhood memories, conjure up happy thoughts, or provide an escape from the cares of life and those three doctor bills still sitting on the dining room table. Play around, experiment– some of these even help babies sleep. But do be cognizant that right when your 6 month-old has dropped off into La La Land, that Final Countdown YouTube ad featuring Europe and a microwaved burrito might well blast them into a perpetual state of screaming. Beware the YouTube ads. offers some common nature sounds like rain, thunder, and the ocean, similar to what you’d get from a store-brought noise machine. They also offer Fairy Glen and Country Garden. You can spend a pretty penny on noise machines that don’t offer nearly what the Internet does, but Bed Bath & Beyond has a basic $19.99 model, the HoMedica SoundSpa Sound Machine, that works quite nicely in non-Internet or non-speaker accessible rooms. It does not involve seagulls. And save the 20 percent off coupon in the junk mail flyers for additional savings (you know you usually recycle that)., hands down, has the coolest feature of any white noise generator online or otherwise– an equalizer. You can adjust the frequencies of the noises making up each theme, which is hugely helpful to those with hearing loss. This is also useful if you find a calming sound that is suddenly interrupted by a jarring bird call or primate yell. Just turn down the bird. This site allows you to customize a number of background symphonies. It has presets, a mute function, and you can adjust to brown, pink, white, or grey settings. I often find brown or pink noise to be more effective than white. has a free app as some sites do and certain noises can be downloaded as albums. Not all are free. Categories include Synthetic Noises, Natural Noises, Tonal Drones, Brainwaves, Industrial Noises, Voices, Atmospheres, Soundscapes, Magic Generators, and Pattern Scapes. The tonal drones are particularly intriguing. Try out Bagpipes, Canyon, Didgeridrone, Ethereal Choir, Ice World, and Stardust. Ice World can help you create your own personal Fortress of Solitude. Didgeridrone isn’t as hip as the famed Adèle & Zalem Didgeridoo Duet, but still has the power of slumber from Down Under. has brown, pink, and white noise. It has a timer and an oscillation feature. This can sound like annoying TV static on its own, but when used to mask more grating sounds, it can blend into the background. Similarly, has the same features but showcases a rain sound with the option to omit thunder, have a little thunder, or a lot of thunder. Here in the Northwest many of us find the sound of rain relaxing as it’s our natural white noise. Thunder rattles some but others of us go racing outside to witness the fireworks of a good storm or at least secure a window seat.

There is no substitute for the background sounds of nature. But as we build ourselves these increasingly artificial, human noise-saturated environments and continue to cut ourselves off from the wonders of creation, it is necessary to rediscover the original recipe for beneficial sleep and calm. Those watery, windy, wave-lashed, warbling and wavering wild sounds that soothed our ancestors for so many generations still have a purpose and might be needed now more than ever.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to conclude before I head butt the monitor in a state of bliss from listening to all these demos. Midnight Diesel Engine with Cat Accordion Liver Idling Jungle Centrifuge, take me away…


Now I know the secret of making the best persons; it is to grow in the open air and eat and sleep with the earth. –Walt Whitman


©2015 H. Hiatt/ All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/

Seriously, what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s