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Sound machines are useful for a number of reasons. If you work in a noisy office, they can create an even sound that allows for better concentration, helping to improve your productivity. If you have trouble sleeping at night, they can lull you off to sleep or even help drown out your partner’s snoring. And if you have a baby at home, they often find the noise soothing and can sometimes sleep better with a noise machine on.
As helpful as these gadgets can be, they are also a potential source of EMF radiation. In this guide, we will look at why standard sound machines can be problematic. We will also explore some lower EMF alternatives, and provide tips for using your sound machine and testing its EMF levels.
How do sound machines emit EMF radiation?
There are a couple of components of traditional sound machines that may lead to unsafe levels of EMF radiation. For one, the AC power supply they use can lead to the production of dirty electricity. Some units also include LED lights, which can create similar issues.
Furthermore, we tend to place these units directly next to us while we work or sleep. That is putting any EMF radiation that is produced in close proximity to the body. The inverse-square law states that the closer you are to a source of EMF radiation, the higher your exposure levels, and the same is true here. By sitting or sleeping directly next to an EMF-generating device, you are potentially exposed to high levels of EMF radiation. This is especially worrisome as you sleep because the body needs that time to restore and heal itself from damage done over the course of the day. If it is exposed to EMF radiation that entire time, it can disrupt that process.
Oftentimes, as well, we place white noise machines next to an infant’s crib. This may mean better sleep for your little one, but they are especially susceptible to EMF radiation. Infants and children have much thinner skulls than adults, meaning their brains are not as shielded from EMF radiation.
Fortunately, there are a few models of sound machines that may be a little safer.
Top low EMF sound machines
5. Marpac Yogasleep Rohm Portable White Noise Machine. Marpac’s Rohm is a USB rechargeable white noise machine. It has a lanyard attachment for easy hanging and at just 3.5-inches in diameter, the 3.8 ounce Rohm is lightweight and easily portable. If you or your little one require white noise to sleep, this is an excellent option both for travel and at home. As there is no AC power, the unit produces less EMF radiation than many larger models. And, in spite of its size, it produces a range of volumes — up to 85dB — in addition to three sound choices: bright white noise, deep white noise, and gentle surf. It is budget-friendly and even available as a three-pack with a convenient travel case.
4. Letsfit Portable White Noise Machine. Another portable option, Letsfit’s white noise machine uses a rechargeable battery that can play continuously for up to 70 hours per charge — and, because it is battery operated, it produces less EMF than a unit with AC power. This machine has a built-in timer feature, or you can just let the device play all night. Letsfit’s machine includes 20 different sounds — four white noise sounds, 10 natural sounds, three lullabies, and 3 fan sounds. It is less than four inches in diameter and comes with an attached carry cord for easy hanging and portability. Leftist’s white noise machine also has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack for private listening, making it the perfect travel companion.
3. Avantek White Noise Machine. This powerful white noise machine from Avantek uses a rechargeable lithium battery to provide up to 10 hours of playback time. Featured sounds include white noise, waves, rain, campfire, birds, heartbeat, frogs, and thunder — overall, this machine offers 30 sounds total. It has a pre-set function, as well, where each time the device is turned on it reverts back to the most recent volume, sound, and timer. The built-in 3.5mm headphone jack allows you to listen privately while working or on-the-go. The integrated speaker is quite powerful, as well, reaching up to 115dB. For comparison’s sake, an airplane taking off can reach about 105 dB inside the cabin. Whether you want to enhance your focus while working or improve your (or your baby’s) sleep, Avantek’s machine is an excellent option. It’s worthwhile to note that this machine does come with an AC adapter, but for EMF purposes you may want to stick with the battery only.
2. Baby Shusher Sleep Miracle. Branded as a sleep miracle for new parents, Baby Shusher’s sound machine uses a recording of a real human voice to shush your little one to sleep. If you’ve ever shushed your baby to comfort them, you likely recognize the power of this soothing sound. The Sleep Miracle capitalizes on that, reaching volumes of up to 95dB. The Sleep Miracle is small and portable, and while the manufacturer recommends placing it inside of your child’s crib, it can easily be heard from a safe distance away, as well. The sleek design is easy to clean, and, as it runs on two AA batteries, it is not going to produce EMF radiation like some other models. The built-in timer can be set to either 15 or 30 minutes, which is usually adequate for soothing and lulling even the most worked up little one off to sleep.
1. Marpac Dohm Classic. Another offering from Marpac, the Dohm is one of the more heavy-duty white noise machines on our list. This machine is unique because it uses an actual fan to create its white noise sounds, not pre-recorded audio loops. As a result, it is said to generate less EMF than other sound machines. This unit does run on AC power, however, so it’s still wise to keep it several feet away from your bed or your baby’s crib. There are two different fan speed options and switching between them is as easy as flipping a switch. If you find the looping of a regular sound machine too predictable and distracting, the Dohm may be the perfect choice for you.
Sound machine tips
If you are going to use a sound machine, even a non-low EMF version, there are a few things you can do to make the experience that much safer for you or your child.
- Keep several feet of distance between you and the device. While many sound machines show images of infants sleeping peacefully in their cribs with a sound machine nearby, this may not be the safest setup. Try and keep the sound machine across the room from any high-traffic areas such as beds, cribs, or work desks.
- Opt for battery operation whenever possible. Some sound machines have AC cords with optional battery backups. If yours is one of those, ditch the cord and try to rely on battery power only. This will reduce the amount of ELF-EMF radiation produced by the device.
- If it must be plugged in, install a dirty electricity filter on your sound machine’s circuit. These filters help disperse a significant portion of the dirty electricity generated by any device on a given circuit. To learn more, see the Top Five Dirty Electricity Filters.
Testing your sound machine
No matter which sound machine you select, it’s a wise idea to check the levels of EMF radiation it produces. To do this, you need an EMF meter. For help selecting one, see The Best EMF Meter For Any Budget.
To test your sound machine, first, unplug the device and use your EMF meter to measure EMF levels next to it and all around the room, especially near the bed or crib. Taking a reading without the device on or plugged in is important because it allows you to see how much EMF radiation can be attributed to other sources in the room. If the levels you’re seeing are already uncomfortably high, it may be wise to address that before proceeding. We offer several tips for how to do this in Whole House EMF Protection: The Definitive Guide.
Once you know your baseline EMF levels, plug your sound machine in (assuming it requires an AC power cord to operate). Repeat your measurements. This gives you an idea of how much radiation the device produces when powered off but plugged in. Of course, if your machine is battery operated, you can skip this step.
Finally, turn the sound machine on and re-take the measurements. If your sound machine is producing high levels of EMF radiation, note how far away from it you need to be in order for your meter to drop back down into the safe zone. If possible, try and create that much distance between you (or your baby) and the device while it is on.
Sound machines can be a lifesaver when it comes to concentrating or catching a good night’s sleep. EMF radiation from sound machines can certainly be problematic, however. Low EMF sound machines are a much safer alternative.