A Definitive Ranking of Every Noise in the White Noise App

I don’t understand people who fall asleep in silence, lulled to dreamland with nothing but the echoes of their own regrets. I was always a box fan girl--the hum of the rotating blades helping me switch my brain to static. (Until the fan would start rattling around 3 a.m. and I’d slouch out of bed to bang my fist on its metal skeleton again and again--ahh, so soothing.)

But my life changed on a work trip to Philadelphia, when I stressed about my hotel room’s lack of fan and thought, “You know, I bet modern technology has an answer to this problem.” Lo and behold: White Noise, an app so simply and literally named. But the app’s scrolling menu of sound options have a lot more than white noise. Some good, some bad, some the noises of nightmares. I went ahead and ranked them all.


40. Crowded Room--Listen close. I think one of the soft, mumbled voices is talking about you.

39. Airplane Travel-- Nothing says “lean back and relax” like United Airlines.

38. Amazon Jungle--Which jungle cat will stumble on your defenseless sleeping body first?

37. Crickets Chirping--The sound of a joke that doesn't land.

36. Grandfather Clock--My grandma has this beautiful antique clock that she lovingly winds every week and whenever I spend the night at her apartment I’m like, “GRANDMA THAT TICKING IS DRIVING ME INSANE PLEASE MAKE IT STOP.”

35. Boats Swaying in Water--You dropped out of community college and now you live on your uncle’s boat.

34. Water Dripping--Isn’t this a form of torture?

33. Cat Purring--Ugh, Toby, please don’t watch me while I sleep.

32. Frogs at Night--One is going to hop on your face. One of those gross, wet frog bodies is going to plop onto your mouth.

31. Clothes Drying--Pretend you are a lone sock circling in a hot cavernous space again and again and again and...

30. City Streets--Why not just come to my apartment, turn the app off and fall asleep to the soothing sound of police sirens on Lawrence Avenue.

29. Heartbeat--Remember when you were a fetus, and everything was so simple?

28. Beach Waves Crashing--Maybe you will pee.

27. Ocean Waves Crashing--Maybe you will drown.

26. Camp Fire--Maybe you will be burned alive.

25. Running Shower--To remind you of all the shit you need to do in the morning.

24. Vacuum Cleaner--Created expressly to upset dogs.

23. Water Sprinkler--You’ll never save up enough money to buy a house with a lawn.

22. Stream Water Flowing--When is the last time you experienced nature beyond your generic mountain desktop background?

21. Chimes Chiming--You did a beginner’s yoga course three years ago. You’re not zen.

20. Oscillating Fan--Whatever.

19. Hair Dryer Blowing--

18. Dishwasher Rinsing--Close your eyes and imagine you are a dirty cereal bowl

17. Cars Driving--You’re sleeping on the side of the highway like the trash you are.

16. Tibetan Singing Bowl--We went over this already. You ain’t zen. You ain’t shit.


14. Thunder Storm--Did you remember to roll up the car windows?

13. Blowing Wind--Weather is amazing.

12. Rain Storm--Sure.

11. Light Rain Pouring--Sure.

10. Heavy Rain Pouring--Sure.

9. Extreme Rain Pouring--Sure.

8. Rain on Car Roof--You live in your car, but at least raindrops on the rusted roof are comforting.

7. Running Water-- Whatever.

6. Pink Noise--A little shrill.

5. Blue Noise--Pretentious.

4. Violet Noise--It’s fine.

3. Air Conditioner--Like the window unit in your childhood bedroom, but less rattling.

2. White Noise--A classic.

1. Brown Noise--Seems like it a gross noise based on name alone but it's actually the best--rounder and softer than white noise, the perfect gentle hum to brown you out into dreamland.

Megan KirbyComment