White Noise App


compact convenience
no converters necessary for travel
multitude of alarm clock features
the cost


The cost of an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad if you don't already own one.

Full Review

If you're thinking of buying a white noise machine, your sleep is probably being interrupted by neighborhood noise like a barking dog, or indoor noise like a snoring mate. White noise machines have proven to be helpful for these problems and also for people with tinnitus, as the white noise helps to mask or lessen the severity of ringing in the ears. There are also people who use the machines for meditation and relaxation.

Machines and Features

White noise machines come in many shapes and sizes. If you need a white noise machine for travel, you'll find their prices are at the higher end. It seems the smaller the device the more it costs. Shop around and you'll find that prices vary considerably depending on the features offered. They range from about $40 to $125.

One of the more expensive white noise machines on the market today boasts of ten high quality, natural sounds. Others may offer as few as four, with sounds varying from babbling brooks to ocean waves. Water sounds are standard and popular offerings on white noise machines. But people who use the machine to mask a partner's snoring will agree that the sound has to be constant. During the silence between waves hitting a beach, the snoring can be heard again, defeating the purpose of the machine.

Questions To Ask Before Buying A Machine

Here are a few things to consider when thinking about buying a white noise machine:

• Where to put it? How much space will it take up on a nightstand?

• Is there an electrical outlet nearby to plug into?

• Does it come with an alarm clock or do you have to make room on the nightstand for that too?

• Does it have a plug-in for earbuds?

• If you need a white noise machine for travel, will you have to buy two? Is it compact enough for travel?

• Does it have an option to run on batteries?

• Does the machine have an auto timer that will shut it off if you choose, and can you have the sound on all night if that's your preference?

A Better, Less Expensive Option

I recently needed to replace my white noise machine, which after several years just stopped working. I dreaded the expense of buying another one. I like the compact models because they are so convenient for travel, although having yet one more thing to pack can sometimes be a nuisance. On international trips I also would pack electrical converters for the machine and batteries when I couldn't plug in for some reason.

I went online comparing prices and doing searches for white noise machines. The idea of sounds drew me to iTunes Store to see if they might have something to offer in the way of white noise. I discovered something called simply "White Noise" Healthcare and Fitness. It offers about 40 sounds – 40! – frogs, rain on a car roof, grandfather clock, clothes in a dryer, blowing wind, and violet, blue, pink, brown and white noise, to name just a few. The features for controlling the audio are generous as well as options for timing the sound, morning alarm, etc. The best part of this huge find? It's an app that costs only $1.99. It works with any iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

I ordered the app for my iPod Touch and could not be happier. My iPod takes up very little space on my nightstand and when I travel, I'm not taking along anything additional. I don't need my travel alarm, batteries, or the converters for the white noise machine. This is a huge convenience as well as a huge savings.

In Closing

While there's certainly a big difference in price (for me, a little less than $100) between the iPod and the white noise machine, if I didn't own an iPod Touch, I would buy one instead of a dedicated machine, even if the iPod was used. All things considered, it seems to make so much sense. When you buy a white noise machine, all you get is a white noise machine (maybe an alarm clock too). But buying the iPod with the $1.99 white noise app provides you with a white noise machine, a calculator, photo album, a music listening device, a note pad, internet access… do I need to go on?