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White Noise. To Use or Not to Use?

Parenting, especially for those with newborns, often involves navigating the delicate balance of sleep routines and soothing environments. There has been a lot of talk recently about the impact white noise has on a child’s hearing and auditory development. Here we'll explore the world of white noise and it’s benefits for little ones, and also answer many questions that are circling around about white noise right now.

Understanding White Noise for Babies

White noise, characterized by a constant and uniform sound across all audible frequencies, has gained recognition as a valuable aid in promoting better sleep and relaxation for infants. Its ability to mimic the comforting sounds of the womb makes it a popular choice among parents seeking to create a serene atmosphere for their little ones.

The Science of Soothing Sounds

Mimicking Womb Sounds: The gentle hum of white noise mirrors the sounds babies hear while in the womb. This familiar auditory environment can be incredibly comforting for infants, helping them relax and settle into sleep more easily.

Blocking External Disturbances: Babies are highly sensitive to external noises that might disrupt their sleep. White noise acts as a buffer, masking sudden sounds like doors closing or distant traffic, providing a consistent backdrop that helps babies stay asleep. This is a great option if you live in on a busy street, have multiple children or loud pets, or live in an older house with lots of creeks and squeaks.

Benefits of White Noise for Babies:  

Improved Sleep Patterns: Creating a consistent and soothing sleep environment with white noise can aid in regulating babies' sleep patterns. It becomes a cue for bedtime, signaling to the infant that it's time to wind down.

Reduced Stress and Anxiety: The calming effect of white noise can alleviate stress and anxiety in babies. This is particularly beneficial during moments of teething, growth spurts, or when adjusting to new surroundings.

Easier Transition to Sleep: White noise serves as a transitional element, helping babies move from an awake state to a relaxed, sleepy state. This can be especially useful during nap times or when transitioning to nighttime sleep.

Using White Noise Safely

Volume and Placement:

Recent studies have shown that using noise levels on white noise machines above 50 decibels for long periods of time have shown to impact a child’s hearing and auditory development. This is why it is important to keep the volume of white noise at a moderate level. It is recommended to keep the noise level under 50 decibels. There are many apps you can download on your phone to test the volume level in decibels to make sure it is at an appropriate level.

It is also important to place the white noise machine at a safe distance from the baby's crib or bed to avoid potential auditory damage. We like to recommend keeping it at least 7 feet from the child’s crib or bed.

Consistent Routine: Incorporate white noise into your baby's sleep routine to create a sense of predictability. Consistency is key in establishing positive sleep associations.

In the symphony of parenthood, white noise emerges as a harmonious ally for both babies and parents. By harnessing the power of soothing sounds, parents can create a tranquil sleep environment that nurtures their baby's well-being. The key factors to remember when using a white noise machine is the volume and placement. Make sure the noise volume is not higher than 50 decibels and that it is placed at least 7 feet from your child’s crib or bed. Hopefully this answers some of your questions about white noise and whether or not it is the right fit for you and your child.


About the author

Amanda Medley

Why didn’t we try this sooner?! As we speak he is sound asleep in his crib – and has been since 7:15 pm.

Karianne Wanggaard

Sleep Well Sleep Specialists

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Working with Shannon, I went from 2-3 wake ups every night to 1 or 0. She aligned the plan with my preferred sleep cycle. She was always coaching, never judging. Shannon was great, I have referred MANY people to her! That's the best testament to her work that I can give.

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