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on April 4, 2006
I've had trouble sleeping because of background noise for years. I finally bought this because I live in a duplex and my neighbors are loud and erratic in behavior, arguing and moving furniture around at 3:00 am. I was afraid to even try to sleep at home after several days with little sleep and my roommate made me buy this because I was ready to move out.

This product is great. It makes a very fan-like sound, but with no mechanical or cycling sounds, or rattling. This is just a constant whoosh. It has two speeds and you can change the sound of the whoosh by changing the postition of the vent holes on the device. It has a switch right on the side of it, not on the cord so it's easy to use. It's even padded on the bottom to make sure it doesn't vibrate.

I used the low setting last night and slept through the night for the first time in the month since the crazy animals downstairs moved in.

I've been relying on ceiling fans and box fans for background noise for years, this is much better. It's a fuller sound, it covers more, and it doesn't make me cold.

As many others have said in previous reviews, this is unlike those pre-recorded white noise sounds. This cannot repeat, because it's actually making the sound as you hear it.

I travel for a living and stay in a lot of hotels. I look forward to taking this thing with me and blocking out the sounds of neighbor's TV's and talking and vehicles, etc. . . It's very small and lightweight, and seems durable.

I don't know why I didn't buy this sooner. Shooting my neighbors is the only thing that would help me sleep better, but this is legal so perhaps a better choice.
7979 comments2,478 of 2,539 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I've been using my white Dohm-DS for a week now and I love it. But there was a moment when I seriously considered returning it. I'll say more about that below.

To anyone who is considering buying a Dohm I recommend visiting Marpac dot com and reading up on the Dohm and it's history. Follow the About Us link and read Our Story, where you can read about how this unit was invented in 1962. You will also learn that this product is handmade in the USA and in the Our People section (below Our Story), you can read a bit about the real people who operate Marpac. You can also view the short manual for the Dohm-DS at the Marpac site.

I also recommend that you watch a video or two on this unit (easy to find on YouTube) so you can get a sense of the sound it makes.

This is NOT a digital device and it does NOT have a speaker. It therefore makes no sense to ask if it has a headphone jack. The prototype for the Dohm, as you can learn if you visit the Marpac site and read Our Story, consisted of a turntable motor (turntable as in record player) with a small fan blade "inside a dog bowl encased in a disc of foam-covered wood." The inventor, Jim Buckwalter, found that the sound from rushing air produced by this device "masked sounds that kept him awake at night" and helped him, friends and members of his family sleep better. The unit you will receive if you buy one "is somewhat more sophisticated than its dog-dish ancestor, [but] its guts are fundamentally the same."

This of course leads some people to say that the Dohm is "just a fan" and to suggest that because one can buy a small fan with different speed settings for less than what a dual speed Dohm costs, one is better off using a fan. I own a Honeywell TurboForce Fan, HT-900 (sold on Amazon, though I got mine brand new in a local thrift store for under five bucks) that has three speed settings and produces a nice rushing air sound. Before buying a dual speed Dohm I used the Honeywell fan to help me sleep and it worked good, but there is no way I could use it without having cool air in the room, which in addition to making me cold dries the air and thus my sinuses. And though the HT-900 is not a huge fan, due to space limitations I had to put it on the floor, and thus had to step over or around it to get to a dresser and move it out of the way when vacuuming. And the fan is not something I would travel with, whereas the Dohm is pretty compact. Using a fan instead of a Dohm might work fine for some folks, but having tried both, I prefer the Dohm and am glad I bought one.

I've used a variety of digital audio sleep aids over the years, including the excellent and highly recommended Simply Noise and Simply Rain noise generators (simplynoise dot com), CDs with ocean and other nature sounds, etc. While I found many of these very helpful (especially Simply Noise and Simply Rain), I always found that running a fan worked better for me, and the only reason I didn't use a fan all the time was because I didn't always want to cool the bedroom (or risk drying my sinuses).

I'd been curious about the Dohm for years and when Amazon had a one day sale enabling me to get a dual speed Dohm for thirty four dollars plus tax, I went for it. The one time I considered returning it is when I went to bed after having had strong coffee too late in the day and I forgot to take a rutaecarpine supplement (which is supposed to remove caffeine from your system if taken about two hours before bed, and which always works for me). I didn't sleep well that night and because I was overstimulated I was sure I could hear the Dohm motor, and I seemed able to focus on the Dohm sound in such a way that the sound just seemed weird and annoying. But this was the result of me being overstimulated from caffeine, and I did not have a similar experience of the Dohm before or after that one time. The manual says that it could take up to a week for one to get used to the sound of the Dohm, and I think anyone who buys one and doesn't take to it immediately should try it for at least a few days to see if their experience changes.

My experience is that the sound is kind of hypnotic. In the early seventies I commuted by train from Long Island to NYC in a commute that often took two hours each way. My days in the city were long and I often needed to nap on the train, and I discovered that letting the train sounds wash over me helped ease me into a deep sleep (only missed my stop once due to being asleep!). Later, I had a job where I would sometimes take catnaps during breaks and I found that if I sat behind a bank of running machinery, the sound of their engines would quickly lull me to sleep while blocking out extraneous sounds (ringing phones, people talking, etc.). Audio sleep aids or sound conditioners have the same kind of effect, and that's what I mean by "kind of hypnotic." And I find that this Dohm unit is excellent for this effect. This may be entirely subjective, but I sense a difference in digitally produced sounds and those produced by analog devices such as fans or the Dohm, and I find that the analog-produced sounds work better for me and feel more "natural."

I uploaded a photo of my Dohm to the customer images section that shows the Dohm and it's electric cord next to a ruler, a pencil and a quarter to give viewers a sense of the size of the Dohm. It takes up about as much space on a nightstand or dresser as a paperback, and the long cord (the cord on the Dohm I received measures about 7 1/2 feet long) makes it easy to reach a wall outlet.
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22 comments275 of 296 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This is a relationship saver. Let's say your lover snores. Let's say, for the sake of this story, that he's a forty-something handsome guy with a morning beard growth that feels like bee-stingers on your face. Let's say you love him in the daylight, but when you go to bed, fall asleep and then wake up at four in the morning to what sounds like a LEAF BLOWER IN YOUR BED you pretty much want to divorce him. You lie awake (while he's happily running power tools through the power of his nose/throat magic) thinking about a nice condo downtown with glass walls, a clean bathroom that no one but you uses, and NO ONE MAKING A RUCKUS IN YOUR BED!

At this point you have two choices: Leave the nice guy who makes seriously disturbing electric garden-tool noises in his sleep. Or figure out how to block out the noise. (Don't move into another bedroom or onto the couch. You need that pheromone bonding while you sleep in order to keep the magic alive!)

I tried earplugs. Didn't work. I tried pillows over my head. Didn't work. I tried kicking him in his beautiful, beefy, hairy thighs. Worked for about ten seconds.
And then I tried the Marpac SleepMate. It has kept me out of the condo market. Seriously.

(I should disclose, however, that on nights when he seems to be running the leaf blower WITH the power saw WHILE WHISTLING, I combine the Marpac with earplugs--Amazing!)
3030 comments1,014 of 1,115 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 23, 2004
The first thing to note is that this manufacturer sells the identical product under two names, SleepMate and SoundScreen. The only difference is the name--having "SleepMate" on the label was deemed a bit awkward for office use. They're both exactly the same otherwise.

I bought this based on wildly favorable reviews online. I found no one who rated it anything less than "incredible." I am extremely sensitive to noise. If a bit of the neighbor's stereo noise bleeds into my home, I'm completely unable to tune it out. I can't read, and sometimes can't even watch TV comfortably. Unfortunately, I live in an area of dense apartments--where the weather is such that the windows have to stay open--and my husband snores. I sleep with earplugs, but the noise can still keep me awake.

In the past I have tried other noise machines that didn't work for me--things like "rainfall" cds or electronic noise machines with similar nature sounds. The problem was that they play a loop of sound, and you can hear a pattern as the loop replays. Once there's a pattern, there's something to pay attention to, and your mind does not tune it out well. This machine generates pure "white noise," which I hoped would be more helpful.

The product is the size and shape of a fat smoke detector. Two things surprised me when I first received it. First, it was quieter than I thought it would be--even the loudest setting seems quieter than a window air conditioner. Even still, my husband complained he wouldn't be able to sleep with "all that noise." (He got used to it within a day or two). It sounds something like a fan--a rush of air. Although you can adjust the volume and tone somewhat, the highest volume is also the highest pitch. Personally I wish it had a deeper tone.

The second surprise is the instructions say to place it *away* from you, so the sound can "fill the room." The ideal positioning pictured has it on a high dresser across from the foot of the bed. Unfortunately, my only option was to place it on the bedside table. I don't know if this really affected my results.

After using it for a while, I would say that it makes it a bit easier to tune out noises, but by no means covers them up. So, once I'm asleep (I still use earplugs), I can stay asleep. If I can manage to get my attention focused on a book the neighborhood noises probably won't break my concentration. But once I hear the noise I still can't tune it out. In fact, a couple times I have actually turned off the machine so that I could identify some sound--not knowing "what is that?" was actually bugging me more than when I could hear it clearly. But like I said, I'm a freak about noise.

This would be ideal for covering traffic sounds--it's just the right sort of noise and pitch. But if your problem is a neighbor's stereo, that mind-numbing bass is not going to sound much different with this than without. It really doesn't "cover up" sounds, but if you have a reasonable ability to tune things out (unlike myself) and just need a little help, you will probably be very happy with this. And it's definitely helpful for *staying* asleep, even for me.

It doesn't solve all my problems, but based on the reasonable price I'm satisfied with the value I got for my money.
4040 comments905 of 996 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 31, 2012
My wife and I live in a building with wooden floor apartments. Our neighbors upstairs are up during the nights and with every step they take the wood creaks and makes very strong noises. We bought this machine as our latest attempt at finding a way to sleep. I find that it works most of the times but I think some of the reviews may be misleading and wanted to set the record straight.

As most of the other reviewers I have read, I think the machine makes a relatively pleasant noise. It has no peaks or variations. However, when we bought this machine, we understood from the description and reviews that it could somehow "mask" other noises to the point where you couldn't even hear them. That is simply not true for most noises. We can still hear all the steps and creaks, it's just that they became easier to ignore. We've tested it for fun and during the daytime, we can still distinguish most of the noises from outside.

The white noise it creates simply reduces the difference whenever some noise comes in. As an example, if you are in a completely silent room and I drop a pen you are very likely to hear it hit the ground. If you are at a loud night club and I do the same, you'll most likely only notice the sound if you are trying to hear it. This machine mimics the effect from the night club using a pleasant type of noise. However, any noise that is too different in volume to the one generated by the machine will still be very noticeable.

I hope this review helps you.

Good luck!
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on February 3, 2015
Started to catch FIRE in my babies room!!!!
The cord shorted out behind the dresser in my babies room and began to burn. The room was full of smoke when i went to get my baby after his nap. I will never use this again.
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on December 30, 2007
This sound screen is exactly what I was looking for. I have trouble sleeping at night and in order to block out those night sounds I have been using a Honeywell HEPA filter on high all night long for the last 3-4 years. The problem is the HEPA filter is moving a lot of air and draws roughly 250 Watts of electricity, which is a lot to be running 12+ hours a day, ever day of the year. Also its not very feasible for me to take it with me traveling, which makes it hard to sleep on the road. Electronic white noise equivilents all sound very electronic to me and I can usually hear the point of repetition, which bothers me and keeps me awake.

So I asked for and received the Marpac 980 A for christmas - it is the perfect solution. It draws a lot less electricity, which was something I was looking for. It creates the same sort of sound the air filter or a fan creates - the dial allows you to adjust how loud it is and the type of noise - one way is a mostly rushing air noise, the other is more of a pleasant mechanical hum. It also has two settings on the on/off switch, low and high.

The sound screen is a lot softer volume wise than something like my air filter, when I first turned it on my husband remarked 'Is that as loud as it gets?', however, while my air filter sits on the other side of the room, far away, I put the marpac next to me on my nightstand and it actually seems about the same volume at that proximity. It's small size (about 4.5" diameter) means I can take it with me when travelling. I also liked that it has foam padding on the bottom so it will not scratch nice furniture it is set on.

It does let off a very very slight airflow out the holes, if I put my hand right over them I can feel it, but not enough to reach my face sleeping next to it and bother me.
0Comment92 of 105 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 18, 2007
I'm surrounded by hillbillies with baying hounds, yuppie biker wannabes with criminally loud Harleys, NASCAR pretenders with resonator pipes on their pickups and a particularly annoying neighbor kid whose "outdoor voice" is beyond reason. Enter the Marpac 980.

It's organic sound of rushing air (to me, more pleasant and more effective than digitally synthesized white noise and "sounds of nature" coverups) effectively masks the audio "exhaust" of clueless neighbors. Follow the instructions for room placement, dial in the tone you prefer and hit the sack. It may not eliminate your resentments toward a populace deadset in expressing itself through noise, but it will let you shut them out when it's time to sleep. It's so worth it.
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on November 25, 2006
What can I say about the Marpac 980?

Well, I bought with several months ago so I have had a long time to test it and I am very please with its performance.

I am not what you call a light sleeper. However, it takes me a lot to "get to sleep". Once I am asleep, I am fine. The problem is getting there. I am distracted by cars, trains, people snoring, the cats and kids etc. What is my cure? Background noise. And you can adjust this background noise a number of ways, giving you a very large spectrum of noise settings.

There are 3 main ways to adjust the noise levels with this machine.

1. The High/Low/Off button on the back of the unit - The difference between the High and low setting is the Fan Speed. High seems like it is about double as fast as low. I usually do not use the high setting. It is loud enough for me to keep it at low and still soft enough to keep my wife happy.

2. The Top Ring - I think this ring allows more air to escape the top of the unit. You can adjust this ring to allow the "perfect" amount of air out of it as you see fit.

3. The Base Ring - This ring seems to allow more air into the unit. More air is lower tone and less air is a more constricted higher tone. Again, adjust the ring to your liking.

4. Placement - One of the most important things is where you put this little guy. They recommend putting it a little away from you, perhaps a dresser across the room. This seems to make the sound bounce around the room and give you a fuller feel of the sound. Of course you could put it on the nightstand right next to you and blast yourself with a loud hisss.

Using these four adjustments gives you many many different sounds (hundreds I'd say) you should be able to do a little dialing and adjusting to find the perfect hissssssssssss.

Is it loud enough????

Ummm....for me YES. Unless you live in a very loud city/ aircraft carrier/missile range it should be ok.

But seriously. like I said, I am usually in the low setting, across a 10 foot room, and it is plenty loud.

The only thing that I think it is missing is that I would love to have a timer on it. it would be great if it turned itself off after a few hours.
33 comments192 of 234 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 4, 2005
I started using a white noise machine years ago, and had been using the same device for all that time. In the past few years, it's been breaking down, so I've been searching for a replacement with no success. Most of the products I've tried have prerecorded sounds (even for white noise!) that repeat in a obvious way -- at least for someone who uses the device for the whole night. This machine actually seems to use a fan or something to generate the white noise, thus eliminating the need to reproduce the sound. It did seem to have a low whistling sound at the lower speed that was annoying (that wasn't there the first night but appeared subsequently soon thereafter). But the higher speed seems fairly good, if loud. I am definitely very satisfied, though. If you're looking for a white noise machine that will run through the night and produce good white noise to sleep by, this is the machine for you.
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