If you wanted to design a white noise machine that'd make you anxious...

My “white noise” machine has several other sounds on it that I never use. Most of them, like thunder storms, birds chirping, and frogs croaking just aren’t relaxing because I tend to pay attention to when the sound loops.

But they also include wind as one of the noises.

Since I’ve been here nearly a decade, I’ve probably mentioned that I’m afraid of wind: when I was a senior in high school, and the only one at the house mid-move, half a tree punched through the roof of the house we were leaving. Since then I’ve had a hard time coping with high winds. If the wind gusts are more than 30mph, I don’t sleep, even with the white noise machine trying to drown it out. Instead I stay awake and worry about the house, the cars, the propane tank (houses routinely blow up in New England, so it’s not an entirely idle worry), the neighbors, the neighbors’ cars, their propane tanks…you get the idea.

So, the last sound on earth I’d want on a machine that’s supposed to be soothing is wind. Nope, a sound that scares me awake when it’s live definitely won’t get me to sleep as a recording.

How about you? What sound would you include? Not sounds that you’d merely find annoying (I hate frogs croaking, ftr) but ones that would actively make you anxious rather than restful?

“mouthbreather” would put me in a bad mood.

I hate the heartbeat sound. It just completely freaks me out. I listen to raindrops falling but don’t like the thunderstorm ones. I don’t mind realife thunderstorms but I don’t find them restful. They’re too suspenseful.

So I listen just to the rain or to the running brook.

Urgent half-heard whispers. A baby crying. Pigs squealing in fear. A random series of loud noises, randomly spaced. Recordings of people noisily chewing their food with their mouths open, and smacking their lips.

I feel my blood pressure rising a bit just thinking of the above.

Any sort of office noises. Here, let me pick up this pen. clickyclickyclickyclickyclickyclicky* … clickyclickyclickyclicky* … clickyclickyclickyclicky**clickyclickyclickyclicky

mmmm coffee slluurrp ahhhh… slluurrp ahhhh…

oops, got a hangnail. clickclickclickclick

Metal scraping. The sound of a pan scraping on the stove burner. Somebody scraping a fork on a plate. Stop it stop IT STOP IT!

On a trip to Portland, OR, to visit my grandfather one summer, I had a really hard time getting to sleep because of someone else’s white noise machine. It was hot, so I was sleeping with the bedroom window open, and kept hearing this sound, like a pile of aluminum cans being swept from side to side (like the noise in stock videos of the dump? minus the ever-present seagulls). It took being woken up by it several times a night, for a whole weekend, to figure out what noise they were trying to imitate: ocean waves breaking. I grew up on the coast, where you cannot escape that noise, and I did not recognize it at all.

I don’t find this sound scary but it does make me anxious. The sound of my neighbors’ 4-wheelers.

See, I work from home and the neighbors get off work a lot earlier than I do, at which time they start racing around on their 4-wheelers, inbetween the houses, in front of the houses, behind the houses. It’s loud and…ceaseless. It just goes on and on, sometimes for a couple hours. Usually at the end of the day when I’m already anxious about getting some work done.

It also annoys my dog so in the middle of being annoyed by the sound, my dog barks, which makes me anxious. Then I have to interrupt my work and let her outside so she can bark more. Then I have to interrupt my work again to let her back in.

It’s hard to describe how it all goes down but trust me, if I had to listen to a 4-wheeler on a white noise machine for more than a minute I would probably have an aneurysm.

Let’ see what could send me to the looney bin in short order. The sound of people making out, people letting out effeminate sounding sighs at random intervals. The distant sound of a phone ringing. High wind could do it for me too. We had that in real life late last night and I woke up all stressed out.

Many of the above. Also conversations, especially one-sided conversations where the speaker drones on and on.


You can put me down under thunderstorms as well. I’ve been through too many bad ones and have too good an imagination; they scare me.

Wind noise definitely makes me tense, even with no falling tree incident in the past.

Sirens would do it! Not meaning loud, but far away and monotonous sirens sound ominous.

I once listened to a relaxation CD trying to drift off to sleep, but there was too much variety, it switched from wind to running water to rain, and when it got to waves, well that was soothing except for the SCREECHING of the seagulls.

Once described as “Take a cheap clock radio, tune it to static, and beat the hell out if it with a heavy stick.” I love his work.

Truly evil white noise just makes you want to pee.

Oh, like gurgling, burbling, rushing, gushing, splashing waterfalls? :cool: