Sound machines are not unheard of but are pretty uncommon in India. Sound machines are basically electronic audio machines that produce white noise for those who have issues with dead quiet environments. While most of us are used to the hustle and bustle of life around us, we never know what pin drop silence actually sounds like. And when we are actually in a place of pin drop silence, we can hear a weird tweeeeing sound in our ears that tend to irritate us to the worst. Have you had issues sleeping in dead silence your clock’s ticking sound can also keep you awake? Or even that dripping tap in your bathroom that sounds louder than usual?
Yes, many people, especially adults, have an issue relaxing, concentrating or sleeping to unwanted noise from the environment. Some resort to light music while studying, sleeping or working, others prefer different methods such as keeping their windows open to outside noise, and alike.
Ambient noise is what helps relax many out there. It is an aid that some need to sleep or concentrate on what they need to do. It is known that adults sleep or relax better to white noise. It also has a soothing or calming effect on infants and newborns. Research has also shown good effects during infant feeding sessions.
So what is white noise or ambient noise? While you sleep, your brain continues to register and process sounds on a basic level. Noise can jostle your slumber—causing you to wake, move, shift between stages of sleep, or experience a change in heart rate and blood pressure—so briefly that you don't remember the next morning. Whether sounds disturb your sleep depends on factors such as the stage of sleep you're in, the time of night, and even your feelings about the sounds themselves. Noises are more likely to wake you from a light sleep (stages 1 and 2), than from a deep sleep (stages 3 and 4), and tend to be more disruptive in the second half of the night. Interestingly, whether or not a sound bothers your sleep depends in part on that sound's personal meaning: researchers have seen that people are more likely to wake when a sound is relevant or emotionally charged. This is why, for example, a parent could sleep soundly through her partner's snores but wakes fully when her baby fusses. (Excerpts from sleepfoundation.org)
In order to help you or your family members sleep better and be more relaxed, it is important that you have ambient noise around you, especially during sleep hours. This will help in getting better sleep and wake up completely charged. There are several noise machines and apps available out there. From white noise to natural sounds from nature, it completely depends on what soothes you better.
SoundSpa is a product from HoMedics, which probably will get you covered if you are planning on investing in a noise machine for yourself. This machine is a simple standalone electronic device that features a small speaker and a built-in amplifier with 6 types of pre-recorded audio tracks. The tracks are Thunder, Ocean, Brook, Summer Night, Rain and White Noise. It sports buttons for each type of tracks, volume control and a timer button for how long the tracks have to playback for.
Built completely of plastic, it is rugged and strong. About the size of a small portable Bluetooth speaker, the SoundSpa sports a dual tone silver and white colour. The centre has a speaker grille and the track buttons are placed all around it. Towards the bottom is a physical volume + on/off knob that controls the audio amplitude. On the right to the volume button is a timer button that allows you to play the track for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes or continuously till turned off. The device is powered by a 6V power adapter and can be alternatively powered by four AA batteries that go underneath. The SoundSpa is completely portable and you can take it anywhere you want, be it a hotel room, outdoors on a camping trip or to a friend’s place.
What we found strange was that the device could also be a multi-functional system where the brand could have opted for a rechargeable battery instead of using standard AA batteries, thrown in a mood lamp or emergency night light, added an FM radio or could have made it into a Bluetooth speaker itself. This device is aimed to be a medical device and hence it is made as a single function device. However, at the price of Rs 1,999, it seems like an expensive affair, especially where one can simply download the said noise tracks on a smartphone or a compatible Bluetooth speaker which people nowadays already own. The price is pretty steep, which could probably see no takers. However, if someone needs a single function device, this could be it.
As for the performance, the device does work as stated. It can get pretty loud so that it can be used for multiple people in the room or if used in a larger room. The audio is soothing enough, but lacks a little bass — it seems like a simple standard speaker driver is being used to produce the sound. However, the audio is definitely soothing to the ears and the speaker produces it in multi-directional form being facing upwards.
The purpose of this speaker is to mask external noise and distractions and help you relax and gain better sleep. The white noise can help block or mask the unwanted sounds from outside the room. You could relate it to noise cancellation, but not by negating the ambient sound. In fact, it helps you mask the distraction. The SoundSpa is highly aimed for those who have newborns or infants at home which can help parents soothe their kids while sleeping or feeding. The sounds from the SoundSpa can help cut the distraction to your kids from other sounds in the home, such as a vacuum cleaner, the air conditioner, blender, cookers, etc, which the child is not used to hearing on a daily basis, and which could startle her, disturbing her sleep or feeding routine.
At the price of Rs 1,999, we do feel it steep as the same could be replicated by conventional Bluetooth speakers probably half the price. However, this device is medically approved and certified as the Official Sound Conditioner by the National Sleep Foundation of America, it definitely assures you that it has been tuned for the right sound frequencies. If you want to make sure your baby is sound asleep, we could recommend you this sound box.
Specifications at a glance:
-6 digitally recorded, calming sounds: White Noise, Thunder, Ocean, Rain, Summer Night, Brook.
-15-minute, 30-minute or 60-minute auto-off timer.
-Compact, lightweight for easy portability.
-4 x Battery or adapter operated...