Without a doubt, therapy offices should be a comfortable place of focus where the therapist and patient are able to communicate without distraction. Masking outside noises, voices, and other sounds are often hard to do. That’s where white noise machines can really help.
At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for White Noise Machines
As I have friends who are therapists, I’ve been fortunate enough to see firsthand just how helpful they are. In this post I’ll help you pick the best white noise machine for your therapy office.
Included below are 5 fantastic models with short reviews and details to know before buying. There’s also some great basic information as well as tips regarding placement and how many you’ll need.
What is white noise?
Above: a graph showing what white noise my look like on a graph of volume vs audio frequency. The term “white noise” is used in several different areas of science. Everything from electrical signals to audio production and testing. To most people, however, it describes the production of sound with equal volume over the entire audio spectrum your ears can hear. Because of that, it’s very useful for “masking”, or covering up, distracting sounds.
White noise is a very interesting subject, but one that’s often confused or mislabeled a bit.
For the purpose of virtually eliminating distracting sounds and providing a more effective therapy environment, here’s what you need to know: white noise is the full range production of sound frequencies capable of covering up bothersome outside noises.
Unlike common sounds you hear every day such as the human voice, music, and so forth, it covers nearly the entire range of sounds the human ear can hear, rather than only a small part of it.
I’ve seen how well it works inside a local therapists office where several are used in the main hallway between office doors. The effect was soft, calming, and it added a sense of relaxation to the environment as well.
Note that people often use the term “white noise” interchangeably when describing other sound types like brown noise for example. For all practical purposes that’s not an issue.
What are white noise machines used for?
As I’m a light sleeper myself (and have had some rather terrible experiences in noisy hotels) I’ve learned how helpful these devices can be.
White noise machines are generally used for a few basic situations;
- Business offices
- Therapy offices
- Baby sleep rooms
- Study rooms/personal rooms for study
- Bedrooms as a sleep aid
- Hotel rooms to block adjacent noise
There aren’t any real hard and fixed uses for them – you can use them just about anywhere there’s a need to mask out environmental, office, or outside sounds that interrupt concentration and relaxation.
Outside sounds have a way of triggering thoughts, feelings, and potentially affecting the mood and emotional state. That’s especially negative when clients are attending therapy sessions.
Note that it’s recommended to place a noise machine several feet away (or more) in order to work well for blocking noise in a room. They’re generally not used immediately near a bed or patient’s couch or chair, for example.
How does a white noise machine work?
White noise machines produce noise over a wide range of audio frequencies that cover – and effectively block – sounds that distract from therapy sessions. As long as the outside sound is equal to or less than the white noise produced by the machine, the noise will no longer be heard. It’s a very effective way to provide a calm, anxiety-free environment in your office.
White noise machines don’t actually remove outside bothersome sounds. However, they do effectively eliminate them.
The human brain, in most cases, cannot discern a mixed variety of sounds as there’s too much information to process when received all at once Think of listening to 3 radios playing at the same time. Can you distinguish each individual radio? No, we can’t. The same principle applies to noise machines.
Accordingly, white noise machines mask, or cover up, outside sounds like the human voice, traffic and cars, and so on.
As long as the volume of the noise in question is about the same as that of the white noise machine it won’t be “heard” (noticed) by the brain and attention won’t be drawn to it.
For clients in a therapy room, this means there are no outside sound elements to potentially trigger thought processes, anxiety, or a general loss of focus from the therapist-client relationship.
How they generate sound
Most sound machines generate their soothing sounds in one of two ways:
- Electromechanical generation
- Using solid-state electronics and speakers
Electromechanical designs are some of the oldest and easiest to use models. Most consist of a type of fan with blades and an electric motor which spins to create air flow and sounds.
Electronic models use integrated circuit components to generate a noise pattern (or patterns). They often have additional options like various sound types, volume controls, and so forth.
Both have pros and cons: while electromechanical devices are very reliable and extremely simple to use, they draw a bit more power than electronic types.
Electronic sound generators are a bit less simple to use and use an artificially generated noise pattern. In some cases their sound production is less effective and they have poor bass sound blocking ability (like the human voice, for example).
How many white noise machines do I need?
One suggested use I’ve seen used in a therapy office is placing the white noise machines in the hallway. In this idea, the machines (2 for about every 3 offices or so) are placed in a staggered fashion on opposite sides of the hallway. Otherwise, consider getting one for each office, placed off to the side and not directly near the therapist or client chairs.
You’ll need to consider the number of offices in the office suite when purchasing white noise machines.
Marpac, a major manufacturer of some of the most popular ones, suggests one machine per roughly every 300 square feet of room size (about a 10 x 30 foot room).
However, they can also be placed outside of the office in the hallway depending upon your office suite’s floor plan. I’ve seen them placed in the hallway in between offices rather than in the offices themselves. In that case the therapists used on one machine on each side for about every 3 office doors, with about 4 used total.
So I’d recommend:
- One machine per individual room OR
- 2 per hallway side, for every 3 rooms, if placed in the hallway
For very small offices about 2 should work well outside your therapy rooms.
Note that these are general guidelines to begin with and the effectiveness of any white noise machine varies a lot based upon the volume and type of noises you’re dealing with.
★ 5 of the best white noise machines ★
Our top picks at a glance
|Adaptive Sound LectroFan||Check on Amazon|
|Marpac Dohm Classic||Check on Amazon|
|SNOOZ Sound Machine||Check on Amazon|
|Avantek Sound Machine||Check on Amazon|
|Big Red Rooster||Check on Amazon|
Detailed reviews and pros/cons
1. Adaptive Sound Technologies LectroFan – A feature-packed advanced electronic sound generator.
The LectroFan from Adaptive Sound Technologies brings you a wide range of features using modern electronics and acoustical technology.
This great little unit is a huge seller with excellent buyer reviews. The basic, simple design reflects how easy it is to operate as well.
A total of 20 relaxing and noise masking sounds can be produced: 10 fan sounds and 10 ambient noise variations (including white noise, pink noise, and brown noise).
Lots of great sound options!
Some of the fan sounds include that of a box fan, oscillating fan, and low-tone mellow fan. The ambient noise variations like “tan”, “coral”, and “pure white” are a pleasant variation of background sounds to block unwanted sources of noise.
Not only that, but it can be powered by either a USB supply both or United States 120V power outlets (US power model) as well as UK/European Union voltage (global power model).
The LectroFan is available in a sharp-looking black model as well.
There’s a 60-minute timer available as well as a push-button volume control to adjust as needed. There are no internal moving parts to fail and it produces quality sound with the high-fidelity speaker design used.
- 10 simulated fan sounds
- 10 ambient sounds
- Low power consumption
- AC or USB power
- Good volume adjustment control
- 60 minute timer
- High-fidelity speaker design
- No internal moving parts
- Compact and lightweight
- Timer is not adjustable (60 minutes only)
- Tan color not available
- Slightly more complex to use
- No nature sounds like ocean, rain, or wind
I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a highly flexible and modern white noise generator. It’s also one of the best-selling units today and has amazing reviews over at Amazon.
2. Marpac Dohm Classic – Simple to use. Classic technology for natural, soothing white noise.
I’m a prior owner of one of the most popular and well-reviewed white noise machines – the Marpac Dohm Classic.
With its classic design originating from decades ago, it was redesigned over the years but the fundamentals are still the same: an easy-to-use white noise machine with a motor-based sound generator.
The Classic features a 2 level volume control and no complicated controls to fuss with.
Just switch it to one of the speeds available using the 2-position switch and enjoy a calm, distraction-free environment.
The Marpac Dohm Classic features a simple but modern-looking design. It’s also available in black and tan as well.
Not only that, but you can adjust the sound and tone of the noise produced by simple rotating the outside shell. Doing so affects air flow from it, shaping the sound produced to better fit your needs and helps you find what’s more pleasant for you, too.
- Extremely easy to use
- Available in 3 colors: white, black, tan
- Many happy buyers
- Effective and natural white noise produced
- 2 volumes available (2 speed positions)
- Adjustable sound control
- Classic, simple, and reliable design
- 1 year warranty
- Great customer service from Marpac
- No variable volume – 2 positions only
- Cannot produce simulated nature sound like some electronic models
- No timer or auto-off features
As one of the easiest to use white noise machines it’s an excellent choice. I recommend you head over to find out more today at Amazon.
3. Snooz White Noise Sound Machine – A great combination of modern and classic technology.
The Snooz white noise machine is a well-designed little device that provides the best of both worlds: natural sound production (instead of simulated) for wonderful white noise, but with the benefits of modern technology too.
The brushless motor-driven internal fan provides years of trouble-free sound production. There are 10 volume settings available and similar to the Marpac Dohm product, you can customize the tone of the sound by simply rotating the outer body.
Want to customize the sound? Just rotate the outer body and to change it as you like. Top-mounted touch controls are available and clearly marked for hassle-free operation.
The Snooz features great volume (a quiet 46db up to a high 87dB) which exceeds the performance of many other models. It’s one of the best-rated for masking irritating and bothersome sounds around you.
Control one or more noise machines right from your smartphone! The wireless interface is easy to use and makes operation especially convenient. Change the volume, change on/off times, and more without leaving your work desk.
Not only that, but you can control one or more units without leaving the comfort of your bed or office!
The Bluetooth interface allows easy control of all major functions via your iPhone or Android device.
The auto on-off scheduler allows automatic operation so you won’t have to even worry about turning it on or off every day. Additionally, you can control multiple devices by smartphone and name them to keep track of each room.
It’s also available in two attractive, contemporary colors as well.
- Bluetooth smartphone remote control (iPhone, Android)
- Adjustable sound/tone
- Simple operation
- Touch controls
- Natural white noise production
- Brushless long-life motor
- Two colors to choose
- Low power consumption (9W)
- Operate multiple rooms from phone app
- 10-level volume control
- Great performance and sound masking ability
- Auto-scheduling feature
- Great for travel
- Limited to 10-step volume control
- No black or white model available
- No WiFi option
- Cannot operate scheduling without phone app
- More expensive than others
- No USB power option
It’s one of the best money can buy – a great mix of natural-sounding noise generation with the added benefit of smartphone control.
Your office deserves more than average, doesn’t it? It’s worth a few minutes of your time to find out why so many people report it's made a remarkable difference for them as well.
4. Avantek White Noise Basic – An affordable combination of performance, features, and ease of use.
The Avantek White Noise Basic is a great compromise between performance, features, and especially cost. If you’re looking to spend $50 and below, it’s definitely well worth considering.
With an adjustable volume you can set in increments of 30 steps, it can provide up to a whopping 115dB of volume. That’s much higher than the competition.
Additionally, the memory feature means it retains the last settings and will start back up where you left off when turning it on next time – no need to fumble around with the settings every time.
Not interested in the black model? The Avantek Basic is also available in a more conservative-looking white model as well. The Basic is both easy to use and features simple controls which reduce cost while allowing more options than other models.
A sharp-looking satin black finish with a blue trim ring on time sets is apart from the boring style of other brands. However, if that’s not a good fit for your office, there’s a more modest white version available as well.
The controls are very simple to use – use the volume up/down and track forward/back to change the loudness or current sound option just like an MP3 player. Very easy, and very intuitive!
A total of 20 soothing sounds are available to help provide your clients with a calm, stress-free environment:
- 6 white noise sounds
- 6 fan sounds
- 8 nature sounds
Use the auto-off timer to have it shut off automatically or use the continuous play feature for uninterrupted and clear background sounds all day long.
- 18 month warranty
- Simple controls – similar to MP3 player
- Volume adjustment up/down buttons
- Auto off timer: 1-7 hours
- 20 sounds available
- Memory function for restoring last settings automatically
- 2 color choices (black, white)
- AC power or USB power inputs
- Soft-fade volume decrease at end of timer
- Non-looping sounds (continuous without breaks)
- Auto-off timer LED indicator lights (indicates hour selection)
- Lower power use
- 7-hour auto-off timer is a bit short for typical sleep
- No smart phone control
- Can’t adjust sound tones – plays fixed sound types
- No headphone jack for connection to speaker system
- No touch controls
- Ambient sound options only available in Pro model
On a budget, but don’t want bottom-end quality? The Avantek Basic line in my experience a good compromise between cost, features, and ease of use.
It’s well worth checking out. Buyer reviews are some of the best – go have a look now at what it has to offer and why some many buyers love it for their home or office.
5. Big Red Rooster BRRC107 Sound Machine – A good basic budget option
Is your office budget a bit tight, but you still need the best you can get for your therapy sessions? The Big Red Rooster BRRC107 may be just what you need.
The BRRC107 features 6 different background sounds:
- Gentle brook
- White noise
- Ocean sounds
- Summer night
Additionally, while it’s not expensive, there’s also a very helpful auto-off time with settings for 15, 30, or 60 minutes.
One unique feature is the power source option – while it can be powered by the standard AC adapter (included) you can also use 3 AA batteries when no AC power source is available. It’s great for travel!
While not all sounds are optimal for a therapist-client situation, the white noise, brook, and rain sound options are great choices for most situations.
The controls are clear and easy to use – including the simple and direct volume up/down controls as well. Sound quality isn’t quite as good as the other models I’ve listed, but that’s a compromise that works well for some buyers.
Overall, it’s a cost-effective solution for those who have tight office budgets but need a good way to improve their patient’s experience.
- Small size
- Simple & clear push button controls
- 15, 30, and 60 minute auto-off timers
- Battery power option
- Travel-ready design
- 6 sound options
- Adjustable volume controls
- Popular model with many good reviews
- Lower power use
- Low cost
- Sound quality could better
- No additional color options
- Limited sound choices
- No smartphone control
- Timer options are limited
- No USB power connections
You don’t have to break your budget when shopping for a noise machine for your office.
Give the BRRC107 a try – it’s hard to beat at this price. Check out the thousands of happy buyer reviews over at Amazon now.
Editor’s choice: the best white noise machine for therapy offices
Overall, the LectroFan from Advanced Sound Technologies is my top recommendation for a white noise machine for therapy sessions.
It’s a wonderful compromise between performance, features, and price. It’s also lightweight and easy to travel with if needed.
Not only that, but there are thousands of happy buyer reviews. When compared to other products in the same price range (near $50 or so), it’s very clear the LectroFan is a better value.
While I would have preferred more volume level options or a smartphone control option, those are minor complaints when you look at all you get. It’s a great sounding unit I’ve enjoyed testing. I’m confident it will bring a more calm and productive environment for both you and your clients.
Don’t hesitate to see the outstanding reviews and learn why it's a best seller at Amazon.
Don’t forget about air quality in your office. Dust, allergens, and more can cause irritation and breathing problems that will decrease the effectiveness of your therapy time.
Be sure to check out my helpful buyer’s guide with the top 5 air purifiers under 100 dollars here.