What level of white noise is appropriate for a baby?

You’re attempting to get your infant to sleep through the night. For them to relax and go to sleep, the volume of white noise should be around here.

If you’re a parent, you’ve probably asked yourself this question at some point. White noise can be used to calm a baby and aid in their sleep, but how loud should it be for a baby?

The white noise machine you use for your baby should, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), produce a sound level no higher than 50dB and be positioned at least one foot (30 cm) away from your baby’s crib. Moreover, you might want to stay away from white noise machines that vibrate or pulse.

It might be a good idea to experiment with various white noise levels if your baby is especially fussy in order to find the right one for them. Others respond better to softer sounds, while some babies prefer louder noises. And don’t panic if your baby appears to be sleeping through the night despite the noise; white noise can actually aid in improving newborn sleep by obstructing other sounds that might awaken them.

Until I came across a study that examined the impact of white noise on sleep induction in babies and was published in BMJ journals, I was not entirely convinced of the efficacy of white noise. According to this study, only 25% of the babies who did not receive white noise fell asleep as quickly as the 80% of babies who did.

This is very important to know since you can rest certain that despite employing white noise your kid will not be deprived of their feeding. Babies who are hungry will always let you know!

Therefore, white noise might be worth a try if you’re looking for a way to calm and lull your baby to sleep. Use it only after feeding your infant, and make sure the volume is kept at a safe level.

How Loud Is Your White Noise Machine?

If you’re anxious about your baby’s white noise machine being too loud after learning what the safe sound levels truly are, knowing precisely how loud your white noise machine is may take you from “Have I been damaging everything oh no” to “okay good we’re fine.”

There are two major approaches to figure out how loud your noise machine truly is.

Make Use Of A Decibel Meter

A decibel metre is the first and most precise technique to measure the decibels produced by your white noise machine. There are inexpensive choices on Amazon, such as this one, which is easy to use and useful for general measures. Using a decibel metre will give you a sense of the quantity of heard sound in decibels and will help you know if the white noise is at the appropriate distance and noise level for your baby’s comfort.

Apart from monitoring the white noise level, you may use this device in the long run to test other items in the house, such as sound-making toys and music, to ensure they do not harm your baby’s ears. Use an App (With Caution)

The alternative method is to use a phone app to measure sound levels. There are several free apps accessible on the ITunes Store or Google Play. Conduct a fast search for «decibel metre» or «sound metre.»

It is critical to be aware of two things while employing this strategy. Secondly, your phone may not be properly calibrated, resulting in erroneous readings. Second, most phone applications lack the accuracy of a specialised decibel metre. Yet, if you’re in a panic and don’t have a decibel metre, an app can provide a rough estimate of the volume.

To utilise a decibel metre app, launch it and place your phone close to the source of the noise (in this case, the white noise machine). Maintain an unrestricted and constant distance between the microphone and the noise. Take a few seconds to record the sound level, then compare it to the safe sound levels table. You’re good to go if it falls within the safe range!

Because the Decibel scale is logarithmic, the difference between 70dB and 80dB is significantly greater than the difference between 50 and 60dB.

You may use this noise level comparison chart to obtain a basic idea of what different decibels sound like without having to precisely measure the noises. It offers you an idea of what different noises (from breathing to a jet take-off) sound like in decibels, so you can determine what noise levels are safe for your infant.

What Does 50 decibels Sound Like?

The current recommended noise level for newborns in hospital nurseries is 50 decibels. It sounds like a calm suburb or a home talk.

How Does 80dB Sound?

80 decibels is considered loud. It’s twice as loud as 70dB and sounds like the interior of a typical industrial or food mixer.

Where Should You Put Your Baby’s White Noise Machine?

The white noise should be placed at least 7 feet away from your baby’s ears.

This will assist to guarantee that the noise does not bother them and that they can sleep peacefully. If you can’t get the machine 7 feet away, try to get it as far away from your baby’s cot as possible. You can also try to muffle the machine’s noise by putting it in a drawer or covering it with a receiving blanket.

How Should the White Noise Machine Be Positioned to Block Out Outside Sounds?

While the purpose of a white noise machine is not to drown out noises from outside, but rather to help newborns sleep better by anchoring them, many parents discover that their machine also performs an excellent job of shutting out outside noise.

If you live in a city and want to use your white noise machine to block out road noise or sirens, the ideal spot to put it is near a window. This will aid in reflecting sound waves and effectively blocking out noise.

If you are concerned about noise coming in via the door, place the machine near the entrance or in a corridor. This will assist in diverting noise away from your baby’s room.

The idea is to place the white noise machine near the source of the noise you wish to drown out, rather than next to your baby’s ears.

After you’ve located the ideal location for your white noise machine, plug it in and turn it on! You should begin to see (and hear) benefits very soon.

Is White Noise Harmful to a Baby’s Hearing?

According to most authorities, continuous exposure (8 hours) to continual noise at 80dB is likely to harm a baby’s hearing. The sound of a white noise machine, on the other hand, is typically approximately 50-60dB, which is substantially below the threshold for hearing impairment.

Thus, unless you’re blasting the white noise generator at maximum power and placing it directly next to your baby’s head, it’s unlikely to harm your baby’s hearing.

If you have been doing this on a regular basis and are concerned about the effects on your baby’s hearing, scheduling a hearing test with a professional may be the best thing to do and may provide some confidence.

That being said, according to a research published in the Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey journal, newborns spend roughly 9 months in the womb where there is essentially non-stop background noise of about 85dB with peaks of 95dB noted with each beating of the mom’s heart.

Should You Keep White Noise On For Your Newborn All Night?

You may have heard that white noise should only be used for brief periods of time and not entire night. However, there is no actual research to back up this claim.

The answer to whether you should leave white noise on all night really depends on your sleep needs and those of your baby. Some newborns continue to sleep deeply after the white noise generator is switched off, while others awaken frightened the moment the white noise is turned off.

In conclusion

White noise is the single most effective sleep aid since it may be used anywhere and at any age. Many parents who begin with a phone app eventually upgrade to a real unit because it is more convenient.

That’s all there is to it! When you’re wondering how loud white noise should be for a newborn, keep in mind that the AAP recommends a maximum sound level of 50dB.

Do you play white noise for your baby? Tell us in the comments!


Contributors to Neighbour Noise Annoyance
White noise enhances new-word learning in healthy adults
Altering brain dynamics with transcranial random noise stimulation
Harmonicity aids hearing in noise
The Immune System Can Hear Noise
Phase Noise of SAW Delay Line Magnetic Field Sensors

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