Next time you have your baby all tucked in for a nap, you may want to think twice about flipping on that white noise machine. Sure, your baby may get a little more shut eye (and what mom doesn’t know the value of a few extra nap time minutes) but the decibel level coming from the white noise machine may be way too loud for your little one’s ears.
The New York Daily News reports about a study being published in the journal Pediatrics that suggests many of the white noise machines currently on the market produce dangerously loud levels for young ears. Researchers tested out 14 different machines widely used in nurseries and found that when set at maximum volume and placed within 1 to 3 feet of the crib, a baby who is exposed to the device for long periods of time may experience impairment to their hearing. Even at 6.5 feet away, the noise machines were at higher levels than hospital nurseries allow.
One of the doctors involved in the study from Canada's Hospital for Sick Children, Dr. Blake Papsin, explains why he believes parents need to be careful when using white noise machines around infants. He says, “These infant sleep machines are capable of producing sound at a level that could be hazardous. The [baby's] ear itself might be more susceptible to sound damage than an adult's ear.”
The study’s researchers believe manufacturers of white noise devices should be required to put warnings on their products regarding the appropriate decibel level for babies, limit the maximum volume and have a timer set to automatically turn itself off. The doctors also warn parents who want to use the machines to keep them at lower levels and as far away from the crib as possible.
Do you use a white noise machine to help your little ones sleep?
After reading about this current study will you be more cautious when using these devices around babies?