White noise is a prerequisite for good sleep for some people. Many people cannot plunge into night dreams if the familiar “shhh” does not sound in the background. But why does the replacement of everyday sounds with other noise have such a bewitching effect on us? And what color can the noise be?
The idea of replacing one noise with another to help you sleep better seems ludicrous. What’s the point of this? “I can’t sleep because of extraneous sounds, so I’ll turn on another extraneous sound.” It’s strange. And yet, many people claim that they cannot fall asleep normally without white noise. And some companies will even sell you a device that reproduces optimized noises for better sleep. What is wrong with our brains and ears?
Short answer: White noise sounds better. For some of us, at least.
And now the long answer. White noise is stationary noise, the spectral components of which are evenly distributed over the entire range of frequencies involved.
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You still can not understand anything? Imagine an orchestra with a huge number of musicians, each of whom plays a note. This orchestra simultaneously encompasses all sounds available to the human ear. That’s what white noise is.
When you wake up to some sound, it is not the sound itself that is to blame. You are woken up by the change in the sound background, the resulting inconsistency. White noise blocks such abrupt changes, as if protecting you from unexpected sounds.
“The simplest version is that your hearing is constantly working, even when you sleep,” explains Seth Horowitz, neuroscientist, and writer. That is why most people prefer to listen to white noise generated by some kind of device rather than the crescendo-decrescendo of the spouse’s snoring.
Well, it looks like the truth. If you don’t like white noise, in particular, try listening to noise in other colors.
Noise in other colors
For example, there is pink noise. It is also called flickering. It looks white, but its frequencies are higher. It is useful for those who suffer from tinnitus. Pink noise can help people who find white noise uncomfortable to fall asleep.
Red (brown, Brownian) noise is also called the noise of a drunken walk. To the ear, it seems warmer than white. The color mixing laws, by the way, do not work when it comes to noise.
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There is a blue noise.
And also purple noise.
If you mix brown and purple noises, you get gray. It is perceived to be uniform by the human ear, but its spectrum contains a large dip in the middle frequencies.
Of course, not everyone likes such noises. On the contrary, they make some people more sensitive to background sounds. Apparently, some of us are inclined to pick out individual notes from the endless noise, while others hear it as a pacifying stream.
Adapted and translated by The Cop Cart Staff
Sources: Life hacker