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Loud Noise in Baby “Sleep Machines” Can Damage Hearing

March 3, 2014 — Pediatrics has published a study indicating that infant “sleep machines,” when used at maximum volume near a crib, could potentially damage an infant’s hearing, auditory development, speech, language development, and even behavior.

Infant sleep machines are used to help drown out background noises to help a baby sleep uninterrupted. They produce 1-10 noises, including white noise, nature sounds, heart rhythm, and mechanical noises. In some cases, infants become so used to the sounds that they won’t sleep without the machines.

Researchers at the University of Toronto analyzed 14 sleep machines played at maximum volume measured at 30-cm (at the edge of a crib), 100-cm (on a table next to a crib), and 200-cm (across the room). All of the devices had at least 50 decibels (dB) at 30-cm, exceeding recommended levels for nurseries.

Most concerning, 3 out of 14 sleep machines could produce over 85 dB at 30-cm, exceeding workplace safety limits for adults set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA). If the safety limit is too high for an adult man in a construction site, they could be extremely detrimental for an infant in a crib. One sleep machine produced 92.9 dB at 30-cm.

Researchers were also concerned about the long-term side effects of prolonged exposure to white noise in an infant. Listening to a monotonous sound all night instead of the varying noises of the environment (distant noises, talking, etc.) could affect “auditory pathways,” altered processing of sound intensity, decreased ability to distinguish background noises, and alterations in behavior. The long-term side effects are unknown.

Do I have an Infant Sleep Machine Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting infant sleep machine induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by an infant sleep machine, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability & Defective Medical Device Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

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