Is it safe to play white noise for babies?
White noise has just emerged as a new alternative in the already crowded baby market. White noise machine producers assert that their products enhance infant sleep, soothe contentious screaming, and aid in establishing awake/sleep cycles.
For parents who are concerned about their kid being distracted by outside noises, white noise is also growing in popularity. The facts may be true, but can white noise really be more harmful than beneficial?
Continue reading to learn the truth about white noise and what is crucial to comprehend.
White noise: What exactly is it?
White noise is a sound that hides other sounds present in a space. By mixing all the different sound frequencies together at once, white noise is created, in which no single sound can be clearly distinguished from the others. It has an unfocused, fuzzily pitched sound. The background whirr of a fan, the low sound of a television, or the hum of an air conditioner are all instances of white noise.
Due of its ability to hide other sounds, white noise frequently sounds like a low, constant whirring, buzzing, humming, or shushing. On a phone or tablet, there are numerous white noise apps available for download. Most are unrestricted and continue to play until they are shut off.
What alleged advantages does white noise possess?
White noise may help babies fall asleep, according to a pioneering study from 1990. Several research conducted since then on the benefits of white noise have been less encouraging.
Before making the best choice for themselves and their child, parents should consider the most recent research.
To drown out background noise in the home, white noise can be helpful. A baby who is sleeping may be disturbed by a variety of noises, including children playing, traffic, dogs barking, and loud music. Some parents claim that their infant quickly mastered the ability to link sleep with white noise and that it serves as a trigger for bedtime.
While so much isn’t, white noise is controlled by parents. It can be customised to the preferences of the parent and child and can be turned on or off, turned up or down.
In the process of getting kids to go to sleep, it’s another “thing to try.”
Baby-specific white noise machines frequently offer a variety of sounds. To simulate the sounds the infant was exposed to while still inside the mother, background “shh-ing” noises may be overlaid with music, lullabies, or even a heartbeat.
In settling their infant, some parents find it helpful to divert their attention by playing white noise. White noise can be a calming influence for parents who are experiencing anxiety over their baby’s sleep or settling.
Some infants become habituated to noise to the point where they are more awake in a perfectly silent setting. It is less disturbing to have constant background white noise than total quiet.
What Cons of White Noise are there?
White noise generators, which operate on the theory of cumulative noise, can raise the risk of noise-related hearing damage. The newborn is exposed to noise that their growing ears are not prepared for when they are played at a high volume for an extended period of time. Because of the highly different anatomy of their ears compared to adults, children may experience long-term hearing loss as well as abnormalities of audio processing.
White noise can get babies so used to it that when it’s not present, they have trouble falling asleep. This implies that leaving for a few days or finding yourself in a scenario where using white noise is simply impossible might be very inconvenient.
Purchasing a white noise generator might be expensive. Despite the fact that some are accessible for about $30, their cost might gradually increase to $100 or more.
Many parents strongly believe in limiting the amount of help they provide their child to fall asleep. The maxim “start as you mean to go on” can be applied to improving self-settling abilities in infants.
Not all infants enjoy white noise. Don’t presume that having it playing in their sleeping area would make your baby happy. Similarly, hearing a repeated “shh shh shh” or sound of water flowing might annoy parents more than just a little bit, especially mothers who are dealing with incontinence problems!
Researchers have expressed concern about how white noise may be affecting children’s auditory processing and causing problems.
Is it Safe to Use White Noise?
We don’t yet fully understand the potential long-term impacts of employing white noise machines, which is their main drawback. They don’t have enough experience to provide definite responses about harm. Nonetheless, we are aware that an adult’s ear is not the same as a baby’s. Researchers from The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto attended a study in 2014, and they discovered that many of the white noise generators they tested were louder above the 50 decibels that were at the time deemed a safe decibel range.
When positioned three different distances from the baby’s head, a variety of noises coming from various white noise makers were examined. The recommended noise levels for infants in hospital nurseries were all exceeded by all of those evaluated (at that time). There is no confirmation that white noise machines currently on the market don’t exceed safe noise levels, even if this study was done a few years ago.
The advice given at the time of this study to keep white noise devices at least 200 cm away from the baby’s cot, as far away from the baby as feasible, and significantly, set to the minimum or lowest volume, may still be applicable today.
The intensity (loudness), duration, and frequency of sound exposure all affect how safely one can listen, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The sound energy level to which the ears are exposed depends on all three of these elements. 85 dB over eight hours is the maximum exposure level that is safe for adults.
According to some researchers, white noise can cause youngsters to develop auditory processing abnormalities. This occurs as a result of the brain fast becoming accustomed to the sound and ceasing to recognise it as something worth listening to. Learning, speech, and language problems may result from this over time.
A variety of developmental and learning issues can be exacerbated by impairments of audio processing. Additionally, it’s thought that white noise machine exposure could put infants at risk for noise-induced hearing loss or, as mentioned above, auditory (hearing) system maldevelopment.
Usage of White Noise Safely
First, consider alternative techniques for calming and settling your infant. In an ideal world, attempt to assist your baby’s sleep using methods other than white noise.
Always read the manufacturer’s warnings and instructions.
Never place a white noise machine, phone, or iPad inside your baby’s cot.
Make sure the volume is low or at the lowest sound level; it should never be louder than this.
White noise should never be the main sound; always use it as a background noise.
High loudness sounds should be avoided, especially when your baby is attempting to fall asleep.
Strive for a white noise level that is no louder than a quiet conversation or a running shower.
As soon as your child is asleep, turn off the white noise.
Never put a white noise generator close to your baby’s head or ears.
The white noise machine should be placed as far away from your infant’s cot as you can.
Reduce the volume, or alternatively, refrain from turning it all the way up.
Use white noise only when necessary for no more than an hour, and turn it off once your child has fallen asleep.
Avoid sleeping with a white noise machine every night.
White noise enhances new-word learning in healthy adults
Altering brain dynamics with transcranial random noise stimulation
Harmonicity aids hearing in noise
The Immune System Can Hear Noise
Phase Noise of SAW Delay Line Magnetic Field Sensors
Aviation Noise Impacts: State of the Science