For parents that use sleep machines to lull their infant to sleep and drown out the noise of traffic or dishes clashing in the kitchen, you are already aware how amazing these things are--it is probably on all of your lists of Top 10 things You Must Have for your Baby.
But some studies have shown that these machines are possibly damaging to a baby's ears. At maximum volume, tests show that some of these machines produce more sound than what is safe for even the adult workplace. Additionally, some experts theorize that because infants are learning different sounds even as they sleep, drowning these different noises out with white noise could slow down a child's hearing development.
You don't have to throw your noise machine in the trash or remove it from your list of "top 10s"--my wife and I will most certainly continue to use this brilliant device. You also don't need to go purchase a decibel meter and conduct a science experiment in Johnny's nursery. But here are five suggestions to reduce the chances that your sleeping machine is negatively impacting your child:
- The lower the volume, the better.
- The further away from the child's head, the better (We put ours on our baby's dresser--or several feet away--as opposed to in or on the crib).
- The less amount of time it is on, the better.
- Sound machines specifically designed for infants, as opposed to those designed for adults, are better.
- Extra sound barriers outside of the nursery can also reduce the necessity of turning the sound machine up full blast. For example, we often turn on a bathroom fan in the hallway.