White noise could be damaging your brain: study

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2024/03/12/white-noise-could-be-damaging-your-brain-study.html


Imagine having a white noise generator already installed. We call it tinnitus.


In our house we use the white noise to combat the tinnitus. I’ll take the risks over the sounds in my head slowly driving me mad as it keeps me from sleep.


I sit next to two laptop computers and a disk array with spinning disks and fans that run permanently all day, and all that white noise hasn’t affected my ignition … conjunctivitis … cogwheels … thunking ability in the least. I’m still the tottering intertextual genius I always was!

I have been thinking about switching out the spinning rust in its noisy fan-box for a fanless enclosure full of SSDs, though. Maybe it’s time to get on that. Or do you think the damage is already done?


They piped white noise into the offices of my ex-wife, at the Dept. of Labor.


Hmmm… I wonder if a benign form of plastic reorganization could be used for a permanent treatment for tinnitus? I’ll be hopping in line for clinical trials, if so.


This post made Merzbow sad.


Well, this is just great. I rely on brown noise to work in my open-plan office.
Are noise-canceling headphones effective? Can they turn chatter into silence?


Brings to mind the virus in Neil Stephenson’s Snow Crash.


I would go with the SSD’s in any case. I also wonder if freeway noise would qualify. If you step outside your office and are you also confronted with a wall of white noise generated by nearby freeways, it sounds like you are surrounded by it during your entire waking life.

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Should we hope for an AI patch that will remove all the perceived notes that aren’t Josquin’s Stabat Mater or Bach’s Art of the Fugue.


I do the deep-sounding brown noise, and my app lets you add oscillation, so hopefully the randomness is replaced with rhythm?
people who live by the seaside get the same thing, at least.


brown noise could be ok, its less “noisy” and “aggressive” than white noise. its the higher frequencies of wn that fucks with ones brain.

Are noise-canceling headphones effective?

some are pretty good these days.

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oh yes, ambient noise pollution that makes sick is absolutly a thing, so the bb-headline doesnt really surprises me;

Fast-forward to 2011, and a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) came to similar conclusions. The authors concluded that in western Europe alone, roughly 1 million healthy life years are lost each year as a result of traffic-related noise. Noise is inherently arousing, and the long-term effects of “chronic noise stress” on the human hormone and nervous systems are a growing concern, the report states.

oh, and of course;

James led a seminal 2017 study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, which shows that people in neighborhoods with low socioeconomic status and higher proportions of residents of color bear the brunt of noise pollution in this country.


I do with the publishers of these studies would go into this more. People use “white noise” to refer to a wide range of noise types that are quite different. Brown noise is one of those, of course, but a lot of “white noise” machines actually play pink noise because it doesn’t hit the high frequencies as hard as white noise does, which is part of what makes real white noise kind of annoying.


Came to say this. It’s so loud where I live that I use a machine to block it out to sleep. Being sleep deprived is probably worse.

Pink noise is what I searched for when buying a machine. It works well for random sounds of trucks on a bridge and motorcycles. Still, my plan is to get window inserts to reduce noise during the day.


could these be an option for you?


I use them for almost 10 years now. around 3-5 euros for 5 pair and washable for multiple use (just squeeze in mild warm soapwater, squeeze em!)

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Thanks for the suggestion, but I’m hearing impaired. So I can’t use earplugs or headphones, because they would prevent me from hearing an alarm or alert. I had something like the units reviewed below in my old house (with foam insulation around the edges) and they worked well. That place wasn’t so close a highway, though, so now reviews and demonstrations of effectiveness are my targets before making a purchase:


The ones I’ve had are decent, but for me at least, I can’t use them without a sound source. It actually hurts to do so.