A new study has revealed that sleep machines used for infants can actually damage a baby’s hearing. The devices use a constant sound, such as a heartbeat or a babbling noise to help infants fall asleep and stay asleep. However, research has now found that these machines can actually produce noise levels above what is recommended for workplace noise.
The study tested 14 sleep machines and all of them were able to surpass the 50 decibel recommended for hospital nurseries and 3 were able to surpass the 85 decibel level recommended for workplace noise if placed on the rail of the crib.
Hearing experts say that given this information parents should position the sleep machine far away from the crib and have the volume on low.
Another worrying factor is that parenting websites often encourage the use of these sleep machines all night and at a volume level enough to overpower other noises that might be heard in a baby’s room. As a result some parents are probably over exposing their babies to noise. Brain pathways for hearing are still developing in babies and animal studies have shown that prolonged exposure to white noise can change the way animals process sounds.
Speaking about the study’s results Liam Moloney Litigation Solicitor said today, “Parents should be careful about exposing developing children to constant monotonous noise for the entire night rather than letting them experience the sounds of their natural environment. This can make it more difficult for some children to filter out everyday background noise and could actually harm their hearing in the long-term.”