Sound Machine Safety

By Ashley Thorne

March 19, 2019

In today’s article, I wanted to chat about sound machines!  At The Mama Coach, we are BIG on them!  We consider them a sleep ‘tool’, rather than a sleep ‘prop’.

Features to Look For

Some features that we recommend in a sound machine are ones that have a constant, radio-like sound- not ones that run on a timer.  We want to give baby a consistent sleep environment over the course of the whole night.  It is also a great idea to find a sound machine that does not have a projector.  A dark room is KEY for both naps and bedtime!  A bonus feature would be a compact size.  This makes it perfect for use at home and for traveling!

Safety of Sound Machines

The most important thing to look for would be how loud your child’s sound machine is.  It is recommended that sound machines do not exceed 50 decibels.  This amount of noise is comparable to a normal conversation.  This is fairly quiet, but erring on the side of caution, as no studies have been done on sound machines causing infant hearing loss.  This level of sound is deemed as “safe” to align with Neonatal Intensive Care Unit guidelines, as they too keep sound no higher than 50 decibels.  A study, however, has been done on various sound machines to check their audio levels when placed at different distances from the baby, in the baby’s room.  It turned out, more than one sound machine on its highest volume, was greater than 85 decibels when placed at the distance closest to baby.  For adults who spend 8 hours or more at this level or greater, hearing loss has occurred.  If you are wondering how loud your child’s sound machine is, there are apps that you can download on your smartphone that will measure the decibels.

The distance the sound machine is placed from your baby, also plays a role in its safety.  Placing your child’s sound machine 100 cm from their head (minimum)  is recommended to avoid hearing damage.  It is best to place a sound machine closest to where the background noise is coming from to help drown out that noise.  A common choice is close to your baby’s bedroom door, as the noise on the opposite side is usually the noise parents are trying to drown out.

I hope this article helps you find the right sound machine for your little one!  There are a lot of great options out there!  If you have any questions, always feel free to reach out to a Mama Coach near you!

Share this Article