Monday, March 3, 2014

Myth Busted: Don't Sound the Alarm on Sound Machines!

Myths having to do with newborn care and babies tend to take time to cement themselves into scary-parent folklore, but today's "news" about the "dangers" of sound machines stoked so much hysteria it became an insta-myth that needed immediate debunking by yours truly. The media really took a hold of this one and in nearly all cases relayed incomplete info to new parents!

In a nutshell: KEEP USING SOUND MACHINES they are a great tool for parents!!

So, here are the facts, in a new study published by the Journal Pediatrics research suggested some noise machines are capable of producing sounds so loud that infant hearing development may be compromised. Please note that 3 machines were tested to simply determine their output capability.  When tested these machines were found to be capable of producing sound levels of up to .85 dB.

Per the Pediatrics Journal report results found maximum sound levels at 30 cm were .50 A-weighted dB for all devices, which is the current recommended noise limit for infants in hospital nurseries. Three machines produced output levels .85 A- weighted dB, which, if played at these levels for .8 hours, exceeds current occupational limits for accumulated noise exposure in adults and risks noise-induced hearing loss. No duh.

To be completely factual these reports should also note that a lawnmower has a noise output of .90 dB (and I am quite certain we all are aware that prolonged exposure to a noise almost as loud as a lawn mower would not only be noxious but also damaging to our babies).  While these researchers determined there are noise machines capable of being quite loud their results simply prove that we should not be using a noise machine to its maximum capacity and should keep level to a comfortable volume.  Again, no duh.

There was one ounce of sanity from a CNN report which quoted renowned pediatrician Dr Harvey Karp:

“It's true that intensity of sound is important to consider, he said. Concretely, parents should look to make these machines as loud as "a soft shower," he said, and keep them at least a foot (30 centimeters) away from the child's head.

But as far as only using an infant sleep machine for a short time, that recommendation is "misinformed and is not supported by the data in the study," he said.

Dr. Karp recommended keeping the noise machines going for the entire duration of sleep, because otherwise the baby will have more disturbances in the middle of the night.”

Amen Dr. Karp.

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