Sound machine (or a fan)

sound machine

What is a sound machine?

Often used in settings such as spas or wellness centers as well as for personal use, commercially available sound machines produce white noise and / or other relaxing sounds. They generally have two uses: to provide calming background audio or to mask unwanted noise. Relaxing audio is often designed to help people fall asleep, meditate, or reduce anxiety, while white noise or audio frequency optimization is used to block annoying sounds in the environment.

Sensitivity to sound is a commonly reported symptom among those who are withdrawing from psychiatric drugs, and while many who experience this symptom seek to limit sounds in their environment as much as possible, some find that certain “masking” sounds, such as white noise, seem to provide some relief. Though not everyone in withdrawal benefits from using a sound / white noise machine per se, some people find it soothing and say they can’t sleep without one. There are others who experience tinnitus as a symptom who say that a sound machine helps to ease it.

In a similar vein, many people in withdrawal say they can’t sleep without a fan on, no matter the season--whether because of the sensation of cool air blowing or because the sound of a fan provides its own kind of white noise that helps calm a busy mind. While some people who experienced acute sound sensitivity say they were unable to tolerate even a whirring fan at times, as they started to feel better they found that having a fan on became beneficial.

Where do I find more information?

  • Sound machines can be bought locally or online, ranging in price from about $10 to over $500. Free white-noise apps and websites are also available for phone or computer (one site with an extensive sound library is MyNoise). YouTube is also a resource for accessing white noise in various forms.