Should Parents Use Noisemakers?

We’ve seen it in commercials, TV shows and movies – every time there is an image of a sleeping baby, there is usually a noisemaker close by, masking the sounds of the still-awake parents while their babies get some shuteye. They are popular gifts at baby showers and chances are, if you are a parent or a friend of one, they are used each and every night, most of the time throughout the entire night.

But are these sleep-savers harming your little one’s ears? According to a new study in Pediatric Journal, that just might be the case.

The study looked at 14 popular sleep machines at maximum volume and at a distance of 30 centimeters – the approximate distance one might be placed from a sleeping infant’s head – to determine if parents should continue to utilize noisemakers to help their babies sleep. What they found was eye-opening.

All 14 sleep machines evaluated produced between 68.8 to 92.9 decibels. To put that into context, the workplace safety limit for adults on an eight-hour shift is 85 decibels – and three of the noisemakers exceeded that limit.

“These machines are capable of delivering noise that we think is unsafe for full-grown adults in mines,” said Dr. Blake Papsin, the senior author of the paper and a chief otolaryngologist in Toronto.

So does this mean that you should immediately throw out your noisemaker and spend your nights silently tip-toeing through your house? Not in the least. It just means that you need to be smart about how you use these machines. Don’t put them so close to your sleeping children, and don’t turn them up all the way.

And, should you ever need assistance with pediatric hearing loss, our expert otolaryngologists at Alexandria Otolaryngology Associates can help with diagnosis, treatment plans, and long-term prevention guidance. Give us a call, or stop on by – our family is ready to help yours.