What Is a White Noise Generator?

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White noise generators are devices---or in some cases, software applications---that generate a low-level static-like noise, such as a waterfall or wind blowing through trees. The background noise these devices produce can help block out many other noises that a person hears in daily life.

How noise generators are used

Psychiatrist offices often use white noise generators to maintain the privacy of their patients. Some people use white noise to help block out irritating background noises that prevent them from sleeping. Other uses for white noise include masking tinnitus, blocking distractions, soothing migraines and configuring audio equipment.

How they work

Many white noise generators play a recorded sound and loop the sound repeatedly. The sound lasts a few seconds in length. Some generators put forth a sound continuously. Others generators emit a continuous signal. Each manufacturer uses its own details.

Computer applications

Linux users can download an application that lets their computer acts as a white noise generator. Windows and Macintosh users can download similar programs.


A consumer can buy a white noise generator that uses a small electric motor to produce its sound, rather than the sound being an electronic recording.

Price range

Consumers can purchase white noise generators from a little less than £39 to a little over £195.

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