White noise for babies: advantages and disadvantages

Have you ever been recommended to use white noise for babies? It is a very widespread advice and hundreds of mothers say that their children sleep better when there are background sounds.

Now, everything has its explanation. Have you noticed that the sound of the rain outside soothes you? Or that your baby falls asleep while you are vacuuming? Both sounds are characterized by being monotonous, constant and repetitive; in them, neither frequency stands out above the other and this has a calming effect on the nervous system.

Therefore, white noise for babies can be of great help when they are restless or have difficulty sleeping. It is a type of sound that includes all frequencies audible by humans. It is a constant sound, in which there are no shocks and favors calm and relaxation.

Its positive effects have been proven in both infants and adults, which is why many parents use it with their babies. However, it is necessary to take into account certain guidelines to prevent it from being harmful to children.

Can White Noise Soothe Babies?

Some studies and numerous testimonies from fathers and mothers indicate that white noise would be effective in calming babies. For example, a research conducted with 40 newborns showed that 80% of those who heard white noise were able to fall asleep within five minutes. In comparison, only 25% of the children in the control group achieved it in that same time.

Further, white noise was found to cause a decrease in the heart rate of babies. This confirms that they were calmer after hearing it.

Advantages of white noise for babies

White noises can help children fall asleep and stay asleep.

Calms and reassures them

For many parents it is distressing and exasperating to see their children cry for hours without anything seeming to be able to calm their crying. After feeding, rocking, singing songs and trying all kinds of strategies, the child's restlessness does not stop. At these times, white noise can help calm the baby..

These sounds are present in nature (the rain, the wind, the waves of the sea …) and also in everyday life (the sound of the dryer, the vacuum cleaner, the smoke extractor or an untuned radio). But also, There are various mobile applications and even white noise generating machines that can be useful.

Favors sleep

In addition, one of the most widespread applications of white noise for babies refers to its ability to help children fall asleep and stay asleep. This sound is able to mask environmental noises that can disturb the child's restsuch as construction sites, traffic, family conversations, or older siblings' games.

By preventing this noise pollution from being perceived, the baby is able to relax and sleep in a short space of time. In addition, he stays asleep since he is not startled by these sounds from outside.

Find out more: What is white noise and how can it help you sleep?

Disadvantages of white noise in babies

If your baby gets used to white noises at bedtime, it may be difficult for him to fall asleep without them.

Hearing and language development problems

Despite its benefits, white noise can be harmful to babies. On the one hand, it is essential make sure the volume never exceeds 50 decibels as this could damage the child's hearing. In addition, the sound source must be at least 200 meters away.

Exposing infants to white noise for a long time can decrease their ability to perceive and identify different sounds. That is, it can affect your hearing. Therefore, it is not recommended to use it on a regular basis. Also, some studies suggest that frequent use of it increases the risk of developing language and speech problems.

Keep reading: By 2050, the number of people with hearing problems could reach 900 million

Dependence and inability to sleep

On the other hand, If the child gets used to always sleeping with white noise in the background, it is likely that later he will be unable to fall asleep without this help. When you have to face the time to sleep without white noise (for example, when you sleep outside the home), external sounds can prevent you from doing so.

In addition, it is important that the baby learns to differentiate between day and night to regulate his sleep habits. So, you must understand that there is light and ambient noise during the day and darkness and silence at night. White noise will make it difficult for you to perceive this difference.

Use baby white noise sparingly

Not all babies experience the benefits of white noise; But even if your child benefits from it, you have to use it with caution. Avoid that this is the frequent means to help you sleep and better build a sleep routine that helps you develop the ability to sleep at the right times.

See white noise as an exceptional solution for those moments when nothing seems to calm you. And, even so, do not forget to control the volume, the distance and the time the child spends listening to these sounds. White noise can be a one-time help, but it shouldn't be a long-term strategy.