OT: Does anyone listen to white noise or similar to sleep?

Can I ask what your preferred technology is? There is so much for free on YouTube but the problem is that my laptop fan will come on periodically, and I don't really need the whole 8hrs a lot of those sleeping sounds programmes run.

Another option is to put some programmes on the iPod, but again, there is no timer option.

Trying to avoid cds and suchlike, also don't like earbuds, but happy to use speakers.

I bought a cheap white noise machine which is fine, small and very economical on rechargeable batteries, but I'd quite like a bit more variety of sounds (and my current choice - ocean noises - sounds kind of synthetic, so I think I could do better). This is the one I have now: amazon.co.uk/Mybaby-HoMedic...

Recommendations appreciated. TIA. :-)

53 Replies

I just have a loud ticking clock.

Oh funny, so do I but can't have it in the bedroom because of that!

Yes every night. Either sea/rain noises or a sleep app of a lady speaking,hypnosis and I've never heard the end. Bad insomniac albeit slightly improved since I quit alcohol. Prob get 3 hours max sleep but not all at once. Frustrating 😦

And how do you listen to it? I'm interested in how people are getting these to the bedside. Just trying to avoid buying yet another gadget I guess. I have an iPod and have never felt especially confident using it, and the laptop would work well if it wasn't for the fan and the turning-off aspect (so I don't listen all night).

Sorry to hear you're not sleeping well. It sounds like a nightmare. I have always been a good sleeper but I find all kind of things get to me now. I am thankful it isn't a regular thing, more relative to external issues, but having had some bad nights recently I really feel for you.

I have a CD player in bedroom I can use by remote for various relaxation cd's I have. Mostly use apps on phone. There are lots of free sleep apps. I find the ones that talk work well. Some are on a loop ie thunderstorms, they are irritating cos my brain learns the sounds quickly then knows when it repeats. It's trial and error but phone is best cos times range from 30 mins no longer than an hour and turns itself off. Doesn't drain battery either. Good luck.

YES, the dreaded loop! I feel that way about anything too synthetic, whether it's the loop effect or just the way all the noises (ocean waves, stream, waterfall etc) can sound like hoovering.

Well this is where I've fallen behind on my technology - my phone is about eight years old and dreadfully slow, too overloaded and old to deal w apps, and I just must move on.

All electronic gadgets emit electrical waves of some sort. The fan on your PC is to keep it cool, stop the inner workings burning out. Leave it in another room st night if it has to be left on. It's also possible to. Buy non ticking clocks if you need a morning alarm!

Yes, I have no electrical stuff (except a lamp) in my room and my computer is off (and downstairs) at night. No telly, radio, clock, phone etc. My mobile is off and I do not keep it next to me.

What I meant is that I could easily find sleep sounds online but it would be no use to me as my laptop would wake me when the fan came on. So that is a non-starter.

I have a tiny mp3 payer - smaller than a matchbox (Sansa Clip). You can clip it to you night clothes or even tape it to your body.

Ooh, smashing. Many thanks. I will check it out.

Oh No Angel - actually on your skin not good - think of those transmitting waves being absorbed!

No wifi or mobile anything like that. It's just a battery-operated music player with no internet connection with a pocket clip - can't stick to your skin, but you can clip it to a shirt/coat pocket. For night use, I clip it to the clothes in my bedside drawers and close the drawer so it can't fall on the floor or get lost in the bedclothes. I should think it's about as bad as a digital watch and a lot less than a mobile phone or a smart meter (or even a digital TV). Not to be confused with things that can actually download from the internet

oK. I do hope you manage to lessen the noise - fortunately it doesn't stop me from sleeping but I am conscious of mine when I'm on the Internet/wifi in the day!

I never use wifi - bad for your health and the health of bees (but I do have a mobile phone for work). All our computers are wired only (doesn't make them any quieter) and laptops have the wifi disabled (with a hardware switch)

Tinnitus relaxers :


Pillow speakers :


I bought these :



Although I find them extremely helpful, the speakers are poor quality and I would replace them if I could get a better product. The tinnitus relaxer has lots of sounds and options compared to most gadgets but it won't allow you to add sounds of your own if you want to which I think is an annoying restriction.

If you want to be able to make your own sounds to fall asleep to, and you have the appropriate technology to play them back, you might like to try these websites :




Thanks very much. Action on Hearing Loss is a good website. I like that you can listen to the sounds as this has changed my mind about one of the devices I was thinking about buying. The BTA (British Tinnitus Association) site is good too (plus discounts for members) but you can't listen to the gear.

If I were more au fait w my iPod I'd just use that but I always spend a lot of time fumbling w it and failing to find what I'm looking for, and I wouldn't want this to happen when I'm desperate to fall back to sleep, so the sleep sound machine is tempting.

If you're looking for adding more sound choices (and don't mind buying another pricey device!), have a look here: amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00...

I find I get tired of the same synthetic noises (can't bear anything on a loop or anything too 'white noise') so I'm considering it even though it is several times what I had hoped to spend.

Where did you see the option to listen to the sounds produced by the various machines?

I'm actually quite happy with my sound machine, and since it cost a fortune I don't feel any urge to change it!

One thing that is important about using tinnitus relaxers is something I was told by the audiology clinic. They are NOT supposed to be played loud enough to drown out tinnitus. Instead the noise machine must be set at a volume a little bit below the volume of the tinnitus being masked. The idea is that the brain eventually learns to ignore the sound of the tinnitus.

I used my noise machine every night for several months and I was surprised at how effective it was at teaching my brain to ignore the tinnitus. Nowadays I don't have to use it every single night, and I can fall asleep without it.

'The world's only sound card expansion technology for adding more sounds.' The sound card in the photo is one of many, and each one has different sounds on it. I added the link because you said that the limited choice of noises was an annoying restriction. I'm in two minds about it, I sort of think, well, you probably just find a favourite and stick w it, but equally, I'm tiring of the synthetic ocean noises on mine, so not sure which way to jump.

Yes, I can see how if tinnitus (or loud intermittent noise) is the problem it might be tempting to crank it right up. For me, it's just a matter of some kind of barely-there competition for the noise from outside. I rarely have it higher than the minimum volume setting. The constant rushing quality of the surf noise is overwhelming if any louder (and my partner is on the fence about it so I try to keep it low for his benefit).

I do have tinnitus, but it is so minimal that it doesn't irritate me at this stage, and I find if I keep on top of my b12 injections it more or less goes away. My mum has it much worse and finds it very disturbing.

Oh, I see what you mean. I haven't got tired of my noises yet, but when I do, it would have been nice to add more.

I do find that I tend to stick with the same sound almost all the time, but I will occasionally switch between about 3 or 4 different ones.

One of the big annoyances I have is caused by the speakers. There are some noises I like on my machine but the speakers just won't play those sounds loud enough for me to hear through my pillow. I could use the machine without the pillow speakers, because of course it has built-in speakers itself. But then my husband would hear it too, and I would need it too loud for his comfort. So the speakers are essential for me.

Yes, I am considering pillow speakers. I use an inflatable pillow to which I am completely devoted, and the only thing I don't like about it is that it allows sound to come through very clearly (unlike the memory foam pillows my partner uses, which can double as a face mask/earplugs if you sling one over your head). Your thumbs-down review of that particular speaker is helpful, thanks, I'll look for something w better sound projection.

My partner is not opposed to listening to the noises, but ideally I'd like to switch them on and off without worrying about waking him.

If you find a good set of pillow speakers please let me know.

Will do. :-)

HB, medically they say there is NO cure for Tinitus (white noise) yet.

Mine only started AFTER my brain haemorrhage - it's back to the neurotransmitter/receptor cells in my brain that were damaged by it. I have also gone 1/2 deaf in one ear, my left one!

'solutions' recommended by manufacturers/retailers are so they make money selling their products! Unfortunately we cannot buy undamaged brain cells responsible for auditory/auralreception.

Forgive my cynicism but looks like everyone here has spent a lot of money one way or the other and not cured/stopped their problems with white noise

I wasn't attempting to cure my tinnitus, because I know it is incurable. What I bought my gadgets for was to help me sleep despite the tinnitus. It was driving me insane so I had to do something to make life bearable and sleep possible again.

humanbean I'm sure you know about b12 and tinnitus and perhaps it doesn't apply to you. I took oral b12 until it was coming out of my ears and saw no improvement but since self-injecting I have seen huge improvements, one of which was that my tinnitus disappeared. I hadn't noticed until my partner asked me how it was and I realised it had gone. I am v lucky in that my tinnitus is minor and doesn't really affect my quality of life, so it wasn't something I'd really thought about, I did injections due to peripheral neuropathy (specifically numb toes).

It isn't 'cured' as it does come back when my injections are due/overdue (like now just before a blood test) but over time the injections seem to be v helpful. I know the relationship is largely unproven, but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence and for me the proof of the pudding was in the eating.

B12 is still a puzzle for me. All my serum B12 results have been very high in range or over the range. And yet I had oodles of B12 deficiency symptoms. I started supplementing with 5000mcg methyl-B12 per day despite the high serum results and my symptoms improved or went away. Now my B12 isn't just high it is >2000 every time. I have wondered whether injecting might improve anything, but haven't done anything about it so far.

Yup, same as me, high results/doses but little/no response, though I was taking up to 7000 units per day. What swung it for me was when I stopped supplementing (in advance of a blood test) my levels fell like a stone, like from over the high end of the range to 300-something in a short time.

Injections improved everything for me. My b12 symptoms were/are subtle and not severe (though for years I've had two numb toes on each foot and eventually developed tinnitus, make of that what you will) so improvements were subtle. To my disappointment my tinnitus didn't seem to respond right away, but it did go away quietly (npi) over time.

The surprising thing was all the things that improved that I hadn't realised were b12 related, like my sore feet and, er, a gusset-area issue. I can often tell when I'm due an injection when my feet begin to ache for no apparent reason.

Have you had a look at this site? b12d.org

Sorry SAMBS, maybe I wasn't clear. I'm not trying to cure anything, my b12 injections deal w my minimal tinnitus v well (unfortch am off them at the mo as I get my levels tested tomorrow).

In any case, I'm looking to listen to some soothing sleep noise when needed to mask the noise outside my window, and specifically I would like to avoid spending more than the £15 I've already spent on my serviceable noise machine.

Funny, I look at the replies here and I see a lot of success stories. And after all, it's our money to spend. I'll just cut back on hookers and blow. :-)

Lovely reply PB, made me laugh a bit at myself and your last comment - sorry I got hold of wrong end of stick :-)

No worries! :-)

You're not wrong though, one can easily spend £100 on sleep noise. For whatever reason the machines can be insanely expensive, but if you're suffering, and if you want to buy one product and not have to keep upgrading, I guess for some people that is not too high a price to pay. (I am not one of those people.)

Pretty soon it will be cold and that will make me sad, but I guarantee I will sleep better once the windows are closed! My bedroom will go back to smelling of dogs and shoes, but happily that won't keep me awake.

I have made a playlist on my mp3 player which runs for 30 mins or so, then the player switches off. Could you do this with your ipod?

I play it through pillow speakers plugged into mp3 player. There's a great cd set available with losts of sounds/music.


Happily I just googled my way to the sleep timer! I've had the thing for many years and never really learned how to use it w ease.

I'm going to download a few things and see how simple it is to use the sleep timer. Would be nice to avoid buying another thing.

I listen to audio books via the Audible app. Best app I ever signed up to, although you do have to buy the books.

I fear this would keep me awake (it's always touch and go if I read whether it will make me sleepy or keep me up!) but Idk, I do find spoken word (eg R4) quite relaxing. If it makes you fall asleep do you ever just get through the book without actually knowing what's going on? :-)

No not really as I set a timer, usually 30 mins, and the app fades out so it isn't a sudden jolt when the time runs out. Should I fall asleep early, next day I just rewind to where I remember getting to! And there is also the facility to set a bookmark. I must admit that sometimes if the book is very exciting well I do carry on listening when I should be sleeping💤

Same here Jilly. I've found sleeping particularly tricky since my OH died 3 months ago, and listening to audiobooks has been surprisingly useful. I reach a point where I think, right, can't be bothered to listen anymore and just fall asleep. It shouldn't work but it does. :)

Just to add, I listen via "Audible" which has a built in timer which will let you set up for a number of minutes or at the end of a chapter.

Jazzw I'm so sorry to hear about your partner.

During a particularly difficult period I listened to R4 nonstop, like sometimes all night, and though I still listen in the daytime, the middle-of-the-night World Service broadcast can give me a little ptsd. With a book you can read it and never open it again if it will bring you back to that time.

Thanks to you and Jillyb15 I now know how backward I am. I had no idea these things all had timers, tut. Of course it makes perfect sense.

I know you said you don't like CDs but I have Holosync CDs (binaural beats - expensive) from Centerpointe (go on an old portable CD player) and also their sleep program, which can go on an MP3 player (they also sell a headband with earphones in it).

The only reason I'm trying to avoid cds is because my old cd player kicked the bucket, but in fact it never worked very well (jumped w any movement, ate batteries like crazy etc) so I'm trying to phase out the whole cd thing. Will look for those in digital format though. Thanks!

I bought a generic mains adapter for my CD player. The reason the original Holosync tracks are CD only is that mp3 format is too "lossy" for them to work. The Sleep tracks are mp3. Thre are other, cheaper binaural beats and hypno tracks out there, but the Holosync sleep one works well - I've seen it work on other people, too.

In the last year I have learned to sleep with the tv on. I tried quiet opera music, fan, etc. Since I awake so much all nite, & I am bothered by sounds, it was a surprise to me that low conversation of the news & weather channels lulled me to sleep. It took a few weeks to get used to, & I sometimes wake up & flip remote off & keep sleeping , but it works. I keep remote by my pillow all nite.

When I was living on my own if I had trouble falling asleep I could always lie on the sofa and put the telly on and it always worked. And that telly had a sleep timer, which was great.

Instead of white noise have you thought about listening to music similiar to that used for Tai Chi classes. It's very relaxing - myself I listen to people talking, sound down low, sometimes there is music in the background also. I read somewhere that a glass of water just before bed helps get you to sleep - perhaps because it's flushing the digestive system through - don't know!

I permanently have white noise in my ears now, it doesn't stop me sleeping - I don't use earphones and think wifi running round the house doesn't help! I now switch wifi off at night on my router and iPad. I sleep like a log once asleep.

Thanks SAMBS. I don't actually have trouble falling or staying asleep, it's just that in the summer I am more easily awakened by noise, and I live in a noisy place (under a flight path). We have windows that open out/down at a 45 degree angle to the ceiling, so when open in warmer weather they reflect the street noise right into the room. If someone is passing and chatting on their mobile it's like they're speaking directly into my ear.

We often stay in a v peaceful Dorset town at weekends and sleep over a courtyard - couldn't be quieter - but the gulls and wood pigeons that roost across from the window often wake me in the morning, and the pigeon is louder than any other pigeon I've ever heard!

I know a lot of people like the recordings that you might hear while you have a massage (or Tai Chi as you say) but they're not for me, I find them maddening. I don't really like white noise as such (that's just the shorthand I was using for the machines that play noises for sleep) but I love anything watery - surf, that lovely 'harbour swell' noise, a brook, rain - as well as crickets and the sound of a thunderstorm.

Ouch to living under a flight path! :-(

It isn't always awful (I've lived here since 2001 and it is only recently an issue) but in the summer - noise + light - I really suffer.

I started using white noise after having a baby. I knew it was great for babies, but soon realised it helps me sleep better too! I bought a white noise toy called myHummy (https://shop.myhummy.co.uk/) for my daughter. It emits 5 sounds, but we always use the same one. It plays for 60 minutes and then fades out to enter a stand by mode, in which the device will react to sound and movement to activate again. You can also set it to play non-stop for 12 hours. Anyway, it's great for babies, but I think I'll continue using white noise even after my daughter moves to her own room :)

Fantastic. The first machine I bought is meant for babies, which means some of the sounds (lullaby, heartbeat) don't really work for me, but I do use the surf noise. It also has a handy clip for hanging from a cot, which means it doesn't take up any extra bedside table space.

I like the sound activation idea! When my partner's snoring starts up in earnest (he has a cold now, arrrggghh) that would be most helpful.

Haha, I've not thought about a partner's snoring, but that's a good point!! +10 points for myHummy :)

I use the radio!

I bought some of the fairly poor quality pillow speakers, and they are almost acceptable. Trouble is, high pitched sounds get rather over-absorbed by my pillow but if I increase the volume the more bassy sounds are too loud. A cheap polyester pillow is much less effective at absorbing sound than a nice, comfortable down pillow.

The BBC iPlayer Radio app does have a timer - it can switch off after a wide range of times. 5, 10, 15, 30, 45 minutes, 1, 2, 3 or 4 hours. Go to Menu > Clock > Zzz (Sleep timer).

My favourite is a really interesting pure speech program. Somehow the more interesting it is, the faster I fall asleep. Using a real radio saves on bandwidth usage, if that is a factor.

It is very much a matter of suck it and see, which is how one ends up accumulating all kinds of extra junk.

I used to have a favourite radio programme on Sat mornings, when I'd otherwise be sleeping late. I tried turning it right up so I could stay up and enjoy it, and it never once stopped me falling asleep immediately.

thanks all - I have replied to some on here, read mNy of the replies to this post but Ive just realised and accept that white noise is so very different for every single individual!

that perhaps not everyone at some time in their life, has hit their head by falling over, been smacked around the head ( an ear clipping we used to call it) as a child, stood up suddenly hitting a cupboard door, pulled the car boot lid down too quickly or had a car accident, or come to a sudden stop when the head flies back onto the headrest. ANY event that affects the skull suddenly, making the brain hit the inside - remember shaken baby syndrome in the USA?

Now the sports industry is concerned at rugby tackles, boxing matches and probably with other sports I've not heard it mentioned. Infections in the body, drugs, prescribed or otherwise, plus alcohol as I've said on other Communities before, leave toxins in the liver that are carried to the brain via the bloodstream.

As individuals some of us draw the short straw and others The Long one! The long ones get the white noise or whatever for whatever reason. The Long Straw ones here get to find a way to relieve their White Noise problems. I am lucky, I know what caused/causes mine and why and when - so if and when I get off this damned wifi device, I know it will cease.

My long shot now is wondering how many will accept my theories, because I've done a lot of my own research on Trusted and HonCode websites into brain injury and causes including my own . Affects on brain cells all come down to Neuroreceptors/transmitters as far as I can make out! They affect hearing and vision soonest n in the brain,both are nearest to our bony skulls. then the signals sent to nerves and other body parts comes after, when we have pain or a problem somewhere else!

I still can't make out exactly where the "mind" sits in the brain - all I can say is our .brains control us - we don't control our brains. I do my best thinking later at night - not during the day, too many distractions then.

However I do hope you all have or had a restful white noise free sleep!