What is White Noise?
White noise doesn’t have a colour. Indeed it is not something visible. We can describe it as a type of noise resulting from the combination of sounds that come from all the different sound frequencies that you can get. Putting in easier to understand terms: it is the noise that comes from combining every tone that the average human ear can detect.
Why is it Called White?
The colour white is used to describe the noise simply because it has been used to describe light that created from various colours or light frequencies which have been combined. If you use a prism you will be able to separate the colours that make up white. In a similar way, white noise consists of all the frequencies of sound combined. In effect, thousands of tones are combined to create white noise.
What is the Application?
If you, for instance, are in a room next to noisy neighbours and attempt to read or sleep, you may find that their voices make it difficult to concentrate or relax. In order to drown out the frequencies of their voices, you may decide to switch on a fan, which will create a type of white noise, helping to muffle or mask the sounds coming from the next room.
How Does it Work?
We can explain it in this way: if two or three persons try to talk to you at the same time and you try to listen to all the voices, your brain will have a hard time to process the information. Instead of hearing everyone and understanding what they have said, you just hear parts of each one’s speech and are unable to follow any one of the conversations properly. However, should you focus on one of the talkers, your brain will switch off all the background noise and you will be able to follow the conversation of one of the talkers.
Should more people try to talk to you it will become more difficult. With hundreds of people all talking at the same time, your brain will find it next to impossible to pick one voice and concentrate on it. All the sound frequencies will be picked up as one sound. When you thus use the fan to mask the sound of your neighbours talking you create a single sound from thousands of sound frequencies and your brain can shift focus from the next door noises to the white noise in your room. The voices next door also become part of the single noise that your brain will hear.
How Can the Noise be Created?
By using a synthesizer, it is possible today to create the white noise in order to generate imitations of, for example, the sound of wind, water rumbling, and even space. Of course, this process entails a bit of filtering and controlling. The white noise can be used to create a calming effect, help to improve concentration and even improve productivity.