top of page

Why White Noise Can Be Upsetting to Children: A Look into the Science

Jan 23, 2024

While white noise can be soothing to many people, some children may find it distressing. The idea behind white noise is that it provides a constant, unobtrusive background sound that helps to block out more annoying or sudden noises. This can be helpful for adults trying to concentrate or for babies trying to sleep. However, if your child was upset by white noise when they were younger, it is essential to understand why and what you can do to help. One reason that some children may find white noise upsetting is due to how their brains process sound. Our brains are wired to respond to changes in sound frequency and intensity as potential threats or sources of information. Children, especially those with sensitive ears or developing auditory systems, may have a hard time filtering out white noise, making them feel flooded or overwhelmed by the constant sound. Additionally, children with sensory processing disorders may be hypersensitive to white noise and find it aversive rather than calming. If your child finds white noise upsetting, it is essential to offer them alternatives for managing discomfort and help them navigate noisy or unpredictable environments. You can provide soft background music or nature sounds to create a calming environment instead of white noise. Gradually increasing their exposure to different sounds and environments can also help them become more comfortable in various situations. In conclusion, white noise is not universally soothing and may cause distress for some children. By understanding the potential reasons behind this reaction and supporting your child in finding alternative coping strategies, you can help them feel more comfortable and secure in their surroundings.

bottom of page