White noise machines create sounds like breeze blowing or a surging waterfall. There is a wide range of brand names available and they have different uses.
White noise is not harmful at all rather than it may become harmful if it’s coming from very near. Any volumes are not harmful till it close to the ear or prolong and frequently use it.
How does a sound go inside the brain through ears
Sound waves travel through a narrow passageway called the ear canal leads to the eardrum. The eardrum sends these vibrations to three tiny bones in the middle ear.
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The bones in the middle ear couple the sound vibrations from the air to fluid vibrations in the cochlea of the inner ear, which is shaped like a snail and filled with fluid.
Once the vibrations cause the fluid inside the cochlea to ripple, traveling waveforms along the basilar membrane. Hair cells—sensory cells sitting on top of the basilar membrane—ride the wave that perches on top of the hair cells bump against an overlying structure and bend.
Bending causes pore-like channels to open up. After that chemicals rush into the cell, creating an electrical signal.
The auditory nerves carry this electrical signal to the brain which let us hear.
Loud noise leads to hearing loss
White noise has an equal amplitude of all frequencies within the human range of hearing. Pink noise is similar, but all frequencies are not equal. The human ear is also not linear in its ability to perceive sound. Fletcher-Munson curves are a set of curves that show how the human ear works at different loudness levels. A soft noise is coincidently easiest to hear as small babies cry. That’s where our ears are the most sensitive. As noise becomes louder, the human ear hears the bass and it becomes treble more or may cause a hearing loss.
Break tiny cochlear cells
When you spend more time in a loud environment, the more tiny cell in the cochlea break. When these tiny cell break, they can no longer tell the brain that noise just happened. Too much loudness for a too long period of time kills them and softer noise, for a long time can be as bad as one blast of a louder sound.
It leads to tinnitus
Most of the studies for tinnitus are based on very low levels which are audible. Our brain receives information about these sounds and after some time it starts to ignore them, along with tinnitus which tends to have a spectrum similar to white noise. Some studies have shown that limiting the bandwidth of the signal so it is centered on the tinnitus frequencies can help.
It sounds like your ears are all plugged up. If it wasn’t too loud, it will go away in a day or two and you’ll be back to normal if you didn’t kill too many cells by shooting for too long. It can also kill a whole lot of cells, and then you will start to hear a constant, high-frequency ringing sound(tinnitus). It usually comes and goes. Ignore tinnitus to the extent you can. Therefore, white noise is pretty harmless unless it gets really loud.
Additional information –
- Does noise-induced hearing loss get worse over time?
- Best Decibel Meter App For Measuring Noise Levels
- How noise pollution affects human health?