In news that’s sure to upset sleep-deprived parents everywhere, a study has found that white noise machines (you know, the ones that FINALLY get baby to sleep when all other methods have been exhausted?) have dangerous noise levels.
The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that infant sleep machines produce sound levels that may be damaging to infant hearing and auditory development.
The researchers tested 14 infant sleep machines and found that they all exceeded the recommended noise limits – even when placed across the room.
‘We understand that life gets loud, but to me, it doesn’t make sense to drown out noise with other noise,’ Dr. Blake Papsin, Otolaryngologist-in-Chief at SickKids and lead author of the study, said in a press release.
Before you throw out your sleep machine in an attempt to protect baby, keep in mind that the study doesn’t say NOT to use the machines, just to be careful about overdoing it.
‘We are not saying not to use these machines. We are simply suggesting that they be used with caution, and other methods, such as lullabies and sound absorbers, be used whenever possible,’ says Papsin.
To protect baby’s hearing, speech and language development, try the following recommendations from the study’s authors:
– Place the machine as far away from baby as possible
– Keep it on at a low volume, and for a short period of time (no more than an hour)
– Use music instead of pure white noise (since it varies in frequency and intensity over time)
And, when all else fails, hand baby over to your partner or a friend and take a break. After all, you have your very own noise machine, and listening to him or her cry for hours isn’t good for you either!
-Katharine Watts, associate web editor