Using White Noise to Block Out Snoring: Does It Really Work?

Unfortunately, no soundproofing methods can save you from having to sleep in the same room as a person who snores. However, one of the most effective ways to block out the noise is to mask it with white noise.

In this article, I’ll talk about a couple of ways you can utilize white noise in the bedroom. But before we talk about white noise and the various devices that make it, we need to understand snoring. First of all, why do some people snore and others don’t?

White noise for snoring. Mask your partners snoring.

The Basics of Snoring

When you get right down to it, snoring is what happens when you breathe and the air causes the loose tissues in your nose, mouth, and throat to vibrate. That, in turn, produces the noise we all love to hate.

Snoring usually only happens when we’re sleeping because the muscles that surround our respiratory system relax when we’re unconscious. However, pretty much the same thing happened if you’ve ever snorted while laughing.

It’s nobody’s fault — both sounds happen when the throat is relaxed and there’s air passing through it. That’s something we should all try to remember when we discuss snoring with our noisy loved ones. They can’t control themselves. Still, I’m sure they would be glad to try some easy snoring remedies if you ask nicely.

There are plenty of factors that can make snoring worse and plenty of ways to make it better. So let’s go over them both.

Who’s Most Likely to Snore?

If snoring were a game, some things would get you more points than others. You could even be born a winner, so to speak. For example, men are much more likely to snore than women, with 40% of them snoring regularly as opposed to 24% of women. Furthermore, scientists have also identified some genetic predispositions to snoring as well.

Even some children snore and start choking in their sleep, especially if they haven’t had their tonsils removed. Additionally, people with runny noses are more likely to snore, since their nasal mucus is getting in the way of their breathing.

On top of common colds, there are some sleep-specific illnesses that can increase the likelihood of snoring. The most famous of these illnesses is sleep apnea, which is a condition that causes people to stop breathing for short periods of time in their sleep.

Several environmental factors, such as drinking or smoking too much, can also play a part in snoring. Moreover, there are some medications that can cause people to snore as well.

Other characteristics can make a person more likely to snore too. For example, being overweight or out of shape can mean that there’s more loose tissue that can vibrate. What’s more, researchers have also noticed an increase in the percentage of people who snore as their sample sizes get older.

However, that doesn’t mean that all older people or people who don’t work out snore. Ultimately, finding out what caused the snoring is much more complicated than you’d think. Even some sleeping positions can make you more likely to snore than others. Still, there are some quick and easy ways to stop snoring.

How to Snore Less

Aside from being moderately annoying to the people who have to listen to it, snoring is potentially dangerous to the person who’s doing it. After all, not being able to breathe properly is disturbing their sleep as well. And as we know, not getting enough quality sleep can have all sorts of health consequences.

So let’s go down the list of things that cause snoring and figure out how you might solve them. Obviously, you can’t really change much about your age or genetic predispositions. However, most doctors would recommend trying to lose some weight or getting in shape first. There are even some exercises people who snore do to target their throat muscles in particular.

Other than working out, you could also implement other lifestyle changes. Lowering your alcohol intake is always a great place to start, as is quitting smoking.

Another thing you could try is switching up your sleeping position. Basically, you ought to avoid sleeping on your back if at all possible. If you need to remain on your back, you can just elevate your head. Still, sleeping on your side or your belly is preferable.

If your nasal pathway is obstructed due to a common cold, it’s best to use a saline spray before bed. However, if you suspect that you’re suffering from a greater sleep-related breathing disorder, you should go to a professional.

Doctor’s Orders

Even if the situation is dire enough to require medical assistance, it still doesn’t mean that the snoring can’t be alleviated. A doctor might prescribe any number or anti-snoring devices or procedures, including:

  • Nasal strips or plugs
  • Chin straps
  • A mouth or tongue guard

And if it turns out you have sleep apnea after all, you might get a Continuous Positive Air Pressure machine. The CPAP machine consists of three main parts: the box that will sit on your bedside table, a breathing mask, and a hose connecting the two. The machine will force air into your lungs even when your condition causes you to stop breathing, so you shouldn’t need to snort or snore.

There are also some minor surgical procedures the doctor may suggest, such as:

  • Using radiofrequency heat to remove the soft tissues of the palate that vibrate when you snore
  • Shortening the uvula (the hanging bit at the back of your throat) with lasers
  • Removing your palatine tonsils and adenoids, otherwise known as a tonsillectomy
  • Removal of other tissues in the throat that may vibrate during snoring

None of these procedures are particularly dangerous, although some of them may cause some soreness. But hey, the bright side is that these surgeries also typically call for a lot of ice cream.

How White Noise Covers the Sound of Snoring

As I’ve explained in some of my previous articles, white noise is an amalgamation of all sound frequencies the human ear can detect. Pink and brown noises also exist — they’re basically equalized white noise.

Typically, I talk about white noise in the context of increasing productivity, masking distracting sounds, and encouraging relaxation. However, in today’s case, we’re only using it for the latter two of those things.

Because white noise plays all of the sound frequencies between 20 and 20,000Hz simultaneously, it confuses your ears into not hearing much of anything. In fact, you’ll only hear the constant droning that should lull your mind into a relaxed state.

Moreover, the white noise itself isn’t distracting, which is very important when you’re trying to get past the sound of snoring and go to sleep. In fact, the constant drone of the noise can be quite helpful for work or sleep, and that’s coming from personal experience. I actually use different types of white noise for both work and sleep.

As you’ll see in a little while, white noise is a term with several meanings. The first refers to the humming static noise we hear when we’re changing radio stations or when the TV signal turns off.

However, the second meaning refers to just any old background noise, like the music you play as you clean your house, or the shows you watch when you’re ironing your clothes. That’s why I’ve decided to include a couple of white noise sources that might surprise you in the following segment. So since I’m not one to keep people waiting, let’s just jump right into it.

Best Sources of White Noise for Snoring

The best thing about white noise is that there’s such a wide variety of devices that can conceivably be used to emit it. Still, I’ve managed to contain this list to four categories of white noise sources.

White Noise Machines

If you’re a returning reader, you probably remember my article on white noise machines for offices. Well, all of the products I’ve recommended there would work just as well in the bedroom. White noise machines are essentially just speakers that can play white noise — it’s as easy as that.

Well, it’s actually not. See, while there are some white noise machines, like this one from Marpac Dohm, that only produce white noise sounds, many of them can make more than one noise. In fact, many of them have non-looping nature sounds like wind, waves, or forest sounds.

Non-looping means that the audio tracks have been mixed in such a way that you shouldn’t be able to hear repeating sounds. So nothing will distract you from your sleep.

Additionally, many of the white noise machines I’ve mentioned in my previous article come with extra features. For example, you can control some of them with remote controls or even their own apps. And some of them can also serve as Bluetooth speakers.

However, if you want to make sure that you’re not disturbing anyone with your white noise machine, some of them also have headphone jacks as well. In my experience, though, people rarely complain about white noise machines anyway.

Noise-Canceling Devices
for Sleeping

White Noise Fans

The other type of white noise devices you ought to try, especially during warmer months, are white noise fans. They’re essentially regular fans that produce a louder whirring noise that’s perfect for zoning out to.

The fans I’ve recommended come in all shapes and sizes, from the tiniest 6-inch desk fan to a big standing fan. What’s more, having a fan in your bedroom won’t only help you disguise the sound of snoring but it will also help you get the best night’s sleep ever.

According to researchers, the ideal temperature for sleeping is just under 70 degrees Fahrenheit. So a white noise fan will not only cover the snoring and lull you to sleep with its whirring noises but will also create the perfect atmosphere for catching Zs.

White Noise Apps

The last two points are my personal favorite ways to block out noises whether I’m trying to work or sleep. Usually, I use a white noise mobile app for work, more so than for sleep. However, having used a mobile app to fall asleep before, I feel qualified enough to use this as an example.

Whether you download your apps from the iTunes App Store or the Google Play Store doesn’t really matter. Many white noise apps are not only effective but, more importantly, free.

I usually download whichever white noise app the internet tells me is the best, so I’m currently using Relaxio. It’s pretty similar to many other white noise apps I’ve used, though. So here’s what you can expect.

The app has several sound profiles and tracks you can play individually to create the perfect mess of sounds. To start with, the app does have a true white noise track, as well as a variation that seems to be brown noise.

There are all sorts of nature sounds and even environments such as highway noises, train tracks, or coffee places. Personally, I use environment sounds to work and nature sounds when I want to sleep. I’m partial to thunder and rain — basic, I know.

Also, most white noise apps do have timer features, so you can set them to turn off automatically whenever you want. And of course, you’d be able to use the app with your earbuds if it comes to that. However, since many of these apps are free, you may have to put up with some ads.

How to Block Out
Snoring Noise

YouTube and Other Online Spots

Recently, my favorite way to fall asleep has been while listening to YouTube videos. Any subject will do as long as there are no serious discrepancies in the volume of the sound.

If you have your heart set on listening to true white noise, you can use YouTube or some audio streaming sites to search for it. In the past, I’ve used Soundcloud, Spotify, and a few other sites. Or, you could even use an actual white noise site like Noisli if you want to keep it at white noise and nature sounds.

Places like YouTube and audio streaming platforms actually have plenty of nature and ambient sounds, as well as white noise. But if you tire of those tracks, you could also find a podcast to listen to.

Just the other day, I randomly found a podcast on Spotify that’s supposed to help you fall asleep. It turned out that the whole premise was to literally bore the audience to sleep. At one point, I tried to focus on what the host of the podcast was saying and I found I honestly couldn’t decipher it. It was as if my brain had been scrambled — so the premise definitely works.

Although I can’t quite remember the name of this particular podcast, I know for a fact that Spotify has a whole selection of podcasts for sleep. Between these podcasts and the many other types of white noise you can find, you’ll probably forget that you’re sharing a room with a human noise machine as well.

Final Thoughts

There you have it — four categories of white noise machines you could use to mask the sound of snoring. Hopefully, the person who’s snoring will try to fix their respiratory problem before it reaches a critical point. You can even play your part by gently and politely persuading them to make some of those lifestyle changes we’ve talked about. But in the meantime, at least you’ll have a decent distraction.


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