A recent research review suggests that white noise, the soothing, fuzzy soundtrack so many of us rely on to sleep or block out distractions, could actually be dangerous. It argues that exposure to the random, unstructured sounds that make up white noise can alter the brain’s neural connections that help us perceive sound, leaving us at risk of conditions such as tinnitus and even dementia. But there’s reason to be skeptical of some of the authors’ claims.
The review, published [August 30] in JAMA Otolaryngology, mainly looks at the academic literature surrounding tinnitus.
…[The authors] argue that white noise’s lack of structure can worsen tinnitus symptoms. They even go so far as to claim that, much like tinnitus, white noise could possibly “accelerate the aging of the brain.”
But while it’s true there’s growing evidence that chronic non-traumatic noise (around 80 decibels) can impair our hearing over time, even the authors admit there’s only mixed evidence these same noises can affect someone’s risk or progression of tinnitus.
…[T]here are plenty of sufferers who find no real benefit from using white noise to help mask their symptoms. But the authors’ claims that white noise will actively harm their lives seems way too speculative right now, as is the suggestion that white noise could put a person at a higher risk of dementia.
Read full, original post: Study Claims White Noise Can Damage Your Brain, but Don’t Panic