Not long after I moved to my present location, I discovered that one of my new neighbors was one of those “special” people (ie. morons) who let their dogs bark all night. Yeah, you know the type I’m talking about.
This presented a bit of a problem whenever I wanted to, you know, SLEEP. The sound of a barking dog causes a physiological response similar to “fight or flight”. Certainly it aggravates the complete hell out of me. How these “special” people are able to sleep through all that noise themselves, I’ll never know.
I wondered for a day or two whether or not I should buy a flak jacket and go figure out which was the “special” neighbor. This is NRA country, so everybody’s armed to the teeth and the “special” people who let their dogs bark all night are statistically likely to be mentally unhinged, so this was a talk I was not looking forward to having.
One night, while cussing at the heater for constantly drowning out my TV with its noise, it hit me that I could block the sound of that dog, if I made enough noise of my own.
After some googling, I found a simple, free solution to my problem: white noise. SimplyNoise.com has a customizable noise generator on their site that allows you to play white, pink or Brownian noise in your browser. You can adjust the volume and even make it oscillate.
You can download audio files of these same sounds as well. Their sound files have been designed to loop from end to beginning so smoothly that you never realize it’s happened.
What you hear when you play these sounds is just varying forms of static. When they are playing, the sound they make will neutralize most noise coming from further away, without being so loud as to disturb you.
Theoretically, the white noise would be best at this, as only a very loud, nearby sound should be able to cut through it. However, I decided that the Brownian noise was more soothing. I downloaded all three, plus another file that recreates the sound of a thunderstorm.
This absolutely works. I can still hear my alarm clock fine, because it’s right next to me, but I hear nothing from outside the house. That includes the obnoxious neighbor’s dog.
These sounds also can help people suffering from a condition known as Tinnitus. People with Tinnitus hear what seems like a loud buzzing, ringing or whistling noise, although there is nothing nearby causing such a sound.
I have a problem with Tinnitus myself, although it’s never kept me awake. It can make it hard to concentrate though. It is especially noticeable in a silent room; it sounds like a jet engine roaring in my head. Most likely I caused it myself by listening to music too loudly while wearing headphones, but that’s just a guess.
Having the sounds playing in the background has really helped me to concentrate better when I’m at the computer or reading a book. When I am awake, I tend to play the thunderstorm recording. At night, I’ll play the Brownian sound to help me sleep.
If you have a problem with Tinnitus, you should see a doctor about it. It might be caused by an undiagnosed health problem. In many cases, Tinnitus also can be treated or at least suppressed.
The only real drawback to using these sounds to help you sleep is that you have to have your computer near your bed and leave it running all night. You could solve that by playing the sounds on a stereo, either by streaming or just burning them to a CD.
P.S. – If you are one of the “special” people and want to learn how to make your dog stop barking all night, please go here. Your neighbors will thank you.