White Noise

What Does White Noise Mean?

White noise is a specific kind of noise that involves randomized sound. It is the most familiar of the various different kinds of “spectral light” that involve their own different power distributions across a sound frequency spectrum.


White noise is also known as additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN).

Techopedia Explains White Noise

White noise is more of a kind of signal aggregation than a specific type of distributed spectrum noise. It often sounds like hissing to the human ear.

Complicated physics equations define white noise in similar ways that equations of light define white light, which is a light spectrum containing all of the wavelengths of the spectrum.

By contrast, other kinds of noise have their own makeup in terms of frequency spectrum. For instance, noise types like pink and purple noise distribute more power at lower frequencies, where other types of noise do the opposite. Each of these kinds of noise has its own scientific makeup and uses in IT and other industries.

White noise is often used in high-tech sleep aid products where it provides a uniform background sound. It can also be used for various acoustic or audio purposes in technologies like speaker testing systems, video games, audio distribution platforms and other technologies with a sound delivery component.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.