As a parent you trust that the toys, products, and machines that you purchase for your child are going to be safe. The items are approved before being stocked on the shelves, and required to meet standards set by the FDA, APA and more. If you have been using a sound machine to help your infant rest, or if you are planning on using one in the future, you may want to second guess this decision. The white noise produced by some of these machines has been tested, and some machines are producing frequencies as high as you would find in an industrial setting.
The Canadian study, published in the journal Pediatrics, measured the decibel levels of a variety of infant sleep machines and found that some of them were so loud that they exceeded industry safety levels.
Levels at that range could end up doing permanent damage to the infants hearing, which could also end up affecting their speech later on. In one study, there were 14 different machines tested.
The machines combined produced 65 different sounds, and all the machines except one produced white noise levels far higher than what is safe for an infant, even at 200 centimeters away. Pediatricians and researchers involved in the study express that manufacturers need to change their products, and that parents need to be warned of the potential dangers.
“These machines are capable of generating hazardous levels of noise. I’m not talking about benign noise — these are capable of delivering noise at industrial levels above that which we would consider safe for industry,” Dr. Blake Papsin of Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital, and co-author of the study, told CBC News.
The ear of an infant isn’t as developed as the ear of an adult, and it is much more sensitive. Professionals involved in the study are suggesting parents to use the machines less frequently if possible, and to avoid using the machines altogether if you can.
“Three machines produced output levels .85 Aweighted dB, which, if played at these levels for 0.8 hours, exceeds current occupational limits for accumulated noise exposure in adults and risks noise-induced hearing loss,” the study read.
The study has indicated that manufacturers should revise their products, but as a parent it may be safe to turn the machine off until any changes have been made.
The study appears in the current issue of the journal Pediatrics.
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Infant sleep machines have dangerous noise levels, study says