Sleep machines may hurt infant's ears - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Sleep machines may hurt infant's ears

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Millions of parents use sleep machines to get their babies to bed, many sleep experts even recommend the devices. However, new research finds the machines could be hurting your baby's ears.

When seven month-old Madeline Peck needs to take a nap, her mother, Elizabeth turns on an infant sleep machine. "That rhythmic ocean sound definitely helps to lull her to sleep," said Elizabeth Peck.

The popular machines are used to block out environmental noises and provide sounds to sooth children to sleep, but a new study finds these machines may be harmful to a baby's ears.

"These infant sleep machines are capable of producing sound at a level that could be hazardous," said Dr. Blake Papsin of the Hospital for Sick Children.

Researchers at Canada's Hospital for Sick Children tested 14 infant sleep machines. They found the machines could exceed the recommended noise limit for infants in hospital nurseries, raising concerns about a baby's hearing, speech and language. "The ear itself might be more susceptible to sound damage than an adult's ear," Dr. Papsin said.

The specific devices tested were not named in the study. Researchers recommend if parents use the machines, keep the volume low, place them as far away as possible and use for the shortest amount of time possible.

Elizabeth is rethinking her daughter's sleep machine. "It's definitely worrisome and I think I'm just gonna have her fall asleep without it now," Peck said.

The authors of the study are recommending manufacturers be required to put warnings on sleep machines, limit the volume and include a mandatory timer.

Experts also suggest turning down the TV and putting in a carpet to reduce ambient noise in your child's room. The full story is in The Journal of Pediatrics.

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