Is it safe to run a white noise machine all night?

I have been using a white noise machine since my son was born. It helps him sleep. Is it bad? Can it affect his hearing?

Many American families resort to white noise machines to help their children fall asleep and stay asleep. White noise is composed of varying frequencies, creating a background sound that can drown out potential disturbances. The device is easy to use, often as a stand-alone machine or a smartphone app. The positive aspects of this low-risk intervention are clear: better sleep.

But how low is the risk? To find out, we conducted a survey. Review Study the available literature on white noise machines for young children. Results published recently in the journal Sleep Medicine showed that all tested devices produced dangerously loud sounds.

There is no uniform standard for noise from consumer products such as white noise machines. However, for occupational noise, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends limiting noise levels to 100 ohms. recommended Limiting noise exposure to less than 85 decibels for eight hours and less than 82 decibels for 16 hours. This is roughly equivalent to the noise from a lawn mower for eight hours or standing near busy traffic for 16 hours.

A baby may sleep 10 to 12 hours a night, but infants may sleep 10 to 15 hours. 16 hours a dayIn our review, we found that all of the 24 white noise machines and six phone apps could produce sound that violates the NIOSH guideline for an eight-hour work shift. Some white noise machines can reach up to 1000 watts of sound. 91 decibels — at about the same level as a Metrorail train speeding through a station.

Most parents probably don’t set the machines to the loudest volume. But this finding means that white noise machines on maximum volume, which is normally used at bedtime, could be exposing children to noise that could permanently damage their hearing.

Changing the sound type to music, static, thunder or tones won’t make the sound safer, but lowering the volume does. In general, you should keep your white noise machine at the lowest volume that helps your baby sleep. We recommend keeping the volume at 60 decibels or less.

Can white noise machines damage hearing?

Exposure to white noise at close to maximum volume is harmful in several ways. Exposure to loud, prolonged noise Reason Mechanical stress on the sensory hair cells of the inner ear, inflammatory damage to their supporting structures and damage to the nerve endings of the hair cells. This leads to the breakdown of tiny hair-like receptor proteins on their surface, cell death and loss of supporting cells.

Our research builds on this and shows that white noise exposure in young children is of even greater concern because of its potential impact on physical and social development. Animal models exposed to noise between 60 and 80 decibels have shown Blocked Vocal development and Delayed development of neurons In the auditory processing centers of the brain.

Similarly, studies of children exposed to high ambient noise such as high traffic, train or aircraft noise have shown negative effects on sleep. Durationsleep disturbances, cognitive Development, Behaviour issues, Reading Proficiency and even changes in brain imaging List of areas related to language development.

What is a safe level for a white noise machine?

White noise within appropriate limits can help babies and parents sleep without harming them. We found studies showing that white noise applied at 60 decibels or less – about the volume of a quiet conversation – showed a decrease in nighttime arousals, an increase in sleep time, and an increase in sleep efficiency (time spent in bed falling asleep).

To check whether your white noise machine is at a safe volume, you can purchase a decibel meter online or download an app onto your smartphone. free app Calibrated specifically for iPhones, called the NIOSH Sound Level Meter (SLM) app.

Keep the white noise machine at the volume you normally use it at and place your decibel meter where your baby sleeps. The sound intensity should be less than 82 decibels.

Lt. Col. Isaac Erbele is the associate program director of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. Capt. Russell DeJong is the resident surgeon of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of Brooke Army Medical Center, Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, the Department of Defense, or any agency under the U.S. Government.


Disclaimer : The content in this article is for educational and informational purposes only.

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