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Can Infant Sleep Machines Be Hazardous to Babies' Ears?

From the Show: Healthy Children
Summary: Can devices that soothe infants to sleep be so loud that they damage their hearing?
Air Date: 3/12/14
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Blake Papsin, MD
Blake Papsin headshotDr. Blake Papsin (MD, MSc, FRCS, FACS, FAAP), is a Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Toronto and the Otolaryngologist-in-Chief at The Hospital for Sick Children where he has been a full-time consultant since July 1996 and led Cochlear Implant Program. He completed a paediatric otolaryngology fellowship at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, England and is the inaugural chair of the Cochlear Americas Chair in Auditory Development at the University of Toronto. He has published 182 peer-reviewed journal articles, 44 book chapters and has spoken widely on the subject of surgical rehabilitation of hearing loss His clinical focus is the surgical rehabilitation of hearing loss.
Can Infant Sleep Machines Be Hazardous to Babies' Ears?
Infant sleep machines can be used to mask environmental noises in busy households or to provide ambient noise to soothe an infant during sleep, but they can also contribute to babies' hearing loss.

In an April 2014 Pediatrics study, "Infant Sleep Machines and Hazardous Sound Pressure Levels," the maximum noise levels of 65 sounds in 14 different infant sleep machines were tested at three distances.

All 14 machines exceeded 50 dBA, the current recommended noise limit for infants in hospital nurseries, and all but one exceeded the recommended noise limit even from 200 centimeters away.

The findings also determined that regular exposure to white noise through an infant sleep machine on a nightly basis can affect hearing, speech, and language development.

This news should encourage parents to move infant sleep machines farther away than 200 centimeters and to lower the volume to protect infants' hearing.

Special guest, Dr. Blake Papsin, shares more information from the results of the study, as well as the varying dangers associated with these sleep machines.
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