Fit And Well Idaho: Sleep Machines And Babies


By Brittany Cooper

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) Sleep machines, often convenient for parents to help their babies go to sleep, are raising some eyebrows.

A new study found, if played at a maximum level, they could be harmful to babies' ears.

Jessica Dong, a mother of two, has used sleep machines for both of her daughters.

She runs the machine during nap time and even through the night.

"I find that they help block out all sounds. So like, if someone rings your doorbell, which you know that is the most annoying sound, and if like a dog barks, the vacuum, anything, it helps drown out all excess sounds so they don't get woken up," she explains.

Experts recommend keeping the sleep machine as far away as possible from the crib and also making sure it's on a low volume setting.

"I recommend parents use common sense. If it's louder than a shower, the volume of a shower, then it's too loud for a baby," says Sonda Ladeaux, audiologist at St. Luke’s Ear, Nose, and Throat.

"I would never stick in her crib right next to her ear full blast. I just put it up loud enough to block anything just outside the room, basically," Dong explains.

Researchers in Canada tested 14 devices and found that when played at a maximum volume within a few feet of the baby, the machines exceed decibel limits recommended for hospital nurseries.

"If these machines are turned up all the way, they could cause damage to a baby's ears, especially if they're very close to the baby. The machines should be at least 6 feet away and not turned up all the way," Ladeaux says.

Authors of the study advocate that manufacturers should be required to put warnings on these machines.