Can White Noise Hurt Baby Hearing?

What is white noise and how is it made?

Can white noise hurt baby hearing?

Or will white noise help baby hearing?

White noise is a combination of all frequencies of sound that humans can hear combined into one noise. There are both high-pitch and low-pitch versions of white noise, and some people respond better to one style than the other. Both versions, however, work in more or less the same way.

Many parents enjoy using infant white noise machines to help their babies sleep better. However, those same parents may also worry that white noise can be damaging to the sensitive ears of newborn babies.

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the relationship between white noise machines and your baby’s hearing. You can use this information to make the right decision for your little one’s needs.

Can White Noise Damage Baby Hearing?

In this section, we’ll go over the basics of white noise when it comes to baby hearing. This information can help you figure out whether or not you want to use white noise for your little one based on its benefits versus its risks.

1. Are white noise speakers safe for babies of all ages?

  • Yes, when used correctly. White noise machines come with guidelines that let you know just how loud and how long they should be operated, and this information makes it easy for you to determine the best and safest way to run a sound machine for your child.
  • You may choose to purchase a white noise machine designed specifically for infants. These machines run at lower decibels than those for adults and include baby-friendly noises that work well to help children fall asleep easily and stay asleep longer.

2. Is there any way white noise can hurt a baby’s hearing?

  • Yes. White noise, like any other noise, can be damaging to a baby’s hearing if it is left to run at high volumes for too long. Babies have short ear canals, which causes them to have very sensitive hearing. Newborns are especially prone to easy hearing damage from loud noises, but babies, toddlers, and children of all ages may experience this as well.
  • Check the decibel rating on your white noise machine. Keep in mind that a jackhammer runs at 95 decibels, so you need to be looking for a number much lower than this!
  • Running your white noise machine throughout the night does not pose any more of a risk to your child’s hearing than running it for just a few hours and then shutting it off. The safety of a white noise machine is much more about its volume than the length of time it is in operation.
  • Because of this, you may choose to use a traditional machine rather than the type that includes a timer and shuts itself off after a while. Children may sleep better throughout the night when the machine stays on.

3. Can a white noise machine be too loud for a baby?

  • It can. As discussed in the section above, you should pay close attention to the decibel range for your white noise machine for best results. You should never run a white noise machine near a baby at a decibel measurement of higher than 40.
  • Approximately 30 decibels is the best sound range for a baby. This is about the same volume as normal wind, so there is no concern about it being too loud for babies, even at a sustained volume throughout the night.
  • As your baby gets older, you can try 35 or 40 decibels but should never exceed a volume of 40 decibels. Your white noise machine manual should let you know which settings feature which decibel ratings.

4. Can certain sounds cause more damage than others?

  • Once again, the volume of the sound is much more a cause for concern than anything else about the sound. Therefore, as long as you’re operating the white noise machine at the correct frequency, you can try a variety of sounds to see which ones your child likes the best.
  • Some children do better with nature sounds, while others prefer gentle melodies. Still others like the noise of a cat purring or a heart beating. You can also find white noise machines that play a sound designed to mimic the noise inside the womb, which helps newborns sleep better.


Did you learn what you need to know? Can white noise speaker damage baby hearing? It’s important to think about the potential risks of using a white noise machine with your baby, but thankfully, it’s also easy to ensure you operate your white noise machine within a safe range for your little one. By following manufacturers’ recommended guidelines for the safe operation of infant white noise machines, you can make a big difference in the safety of your child while using one.

Additionally, white noise machines offer many benefits that far outweigh the slight risks associated with using them. As long as you are willing and able to follow the safety guidelines for your child’s white noise machine, there really isn’t any reason not to use it.

Of course, you may still find yourself wondering just how to make a white noise machine work well for your child and follow safety guidelines at the same time. Here are some safety tips and strategies to keep in mind when using a white noise machine around your baby:

  • Never use a white noise machine with cords close to your baby’s crib. As with any other devices in your child’s room or nursery, you should always make sure cords and cables are kept far away from babies and toddlers to prevent the risk of strangulation.
  • Do not hang a white noise machine on the crib. Some white noise machines for babies are designed specifically for this purpose, but there are many risks associated with hanging the machine on the crib. Your child may be able to reach the machine, for example, and could possibly get into the battery pack while unattended. In other situations, your child might simply be able to turn the machine off or turn the volume up too high.
  • Do not operate your white noise machine at higher than 30 decibels. This is the safest range of sound for babies and toddlers and is perfectly high enough to give your child the soothing benefits of using white noise.
  • Do not use loud or chaotic sounds like jungle noises unless your baby really responds well to them. Most babies dislike these more chaotic noises and won’t sleep well with them on. However, some children do like them, so you might want to test your child with one of these noises and see how well it works for your little one before choosing.
  • Try running the white noise machine all night rather than on a timer. This is less a matter of safety and more about simply making sure your child stays asleep peacefully throughout the night.

With the help of these tips and guidelines, you can ensure a better result for your child when using a white noise machine.

About The Author

Virginia R. Samuel
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Virginia R. Samuel is a young mother who is a firm believer in providing her children with adequate ear protection when needed. In the city, loud, high-decibel noises are common, and her kids regularly wear hearing safety headphones whenever necessary. She spends the most of her time chasing her children around the house, sometimes indulging in excessive coffee consumption. Virginia loves working on her website, HeadphonesForBaby, and hopes that her baby ear safety content will be useful to other parents searching for advice and guidance when choosing a great child hearing protection product for their little one.