A recent report in the Wall Street Journal notes that "the hottest tracks on digital playlists (are) sounds of an oscillating fan, a waterfall and crickets. Also known as white noise they were "once mainly played on machines to aid nighttime sleep (and) are increasingly helping make daytime hours more serene. When played through headphones, the sounds help people tune out chatty co-workers, pounding jackhammers and the dentist's drill."
For hotels noise emanating from neighboring rooms, corridors and public areas remains a continuing challenge. For hostelry situated next to high decibel areas like an airport where a jet engine's roar reaches a deafening 150+ decibels it is a virtual impossibilty to insulate the guest well enough to enable a good night's sleep. Another newspaper reported on how some hotels Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts in England even dispatch "snore monitors" to patrol corridors in the designated quiet zones, Reuters reports. They're deputized to knock on the doors of guests who snore too loudly!" And when it comes to airports, more often than not, there is little that residents in the vicinity can do as is the case with the small town of Livermore, CA. Even the backing of local leaders for quality of life issues seems not to impede those intent on reaching three figures on the decibel chart as is the case with a Las Vegas bar and music club where the band plays at the level of thunderclap.
White noise machines that serve to counter or minimize unwanted noise have been around for a while and are avalilable in a range of sizes and prices. Added to that is a slew of apps and online sites that allow for many more choices. The Journal reports that "to make the soothing sounds, developers take computer-generated sounds or sounds recorded in nature and make an audio file that usually is "looped," or repeated. These digital files are then available at the iTunes store and on other websites." Developers of apps also get requests for new sound with some even requesting "the sound of passing cars and airport noises as well as bizarre requests like the sound of a hair-dryer for a customer who "could not sleep without listening to it after having burned out six hair dryers over the years."
Whatever the white noise source, it sounds like a good idea to provide a variety of options given the high volume (30+%) of noise related complaints from the traveling public.