Table of contents:

What is white noise for newborns and where to get it
What is white noise for newborns and where to get it

These sounds soothe babies in 5 minutes. But there are also side effects.

Why do newborns need white noise and where to get it
Why do newborns need white noise and where to get it

What is White Noise

White noise is a uniform background sound that contains the frequencies of the entire audio range, from 20 to 20,000 Hz. This phenomenon was named by analogy with white, which unites all existing colors (of course, we are talking about electromagnetic waves of all frequencies of the visible spectrum, but you can not go into details that are insignificant in this case).

The beauty of white noise is its lack of information.

Since there is not a bit of important information in this uniform hum, our brains very quickly cease to notice it. This is how we do not react to the sound of the washing machine. Or the usual noises from the road outside the window. Or the rustle of foliage.

How white noise works

It drowns out What is White Noise / HowStuffWorks extraneous sounds. To visualize this, imagine two people talking nearby. While there are so many of them, you can clearly hear every voice. But then a third entered the conversation. You can still discern tones, but you are already confused as to who exactly is pronouncing the words.

If a thousand people are talking, the brain is not able to distinguish any particular voice - clear or deaf, loud or quiet, harsh or soft. All of them will merge into one indistinguishable and uninformative white noise.

Our brain really likes this state, it seems safe to it. Therefore, many people love so much, for example, the sound of rain.

How white noise helps newborns

White noise is used to help babies fall asleep. And he really helps. In a small study, J. A. Spencer, D. J. Moran, A. Lee, D. Talbert. White noise and sleep induction / Archives of Disease in Childhood with the participation of 40 babies, scientists divided the babies into two groups. White noise was turned on first. They tried to put the second one to sleep using traditional methods - by swinging on the hands or leaving it in the crib.

16 infants in the first group fell asleep 5 minutes after they turned on the white noise. In the second group, only five fell asleep during the same time.

This hypnotic effect is thought to have two causes.

1. White noise masks extraneous sounds

This is important for sensitive babies or those who live in families with two or more children. It is often difficult for such babies to fall asleep because of sounds, albeit quiet, but still standing out against the general background: an accidental slamming of a door, a signal of a passing car, voices of brothers or sisters.

White noise drowns out, makes these extraneous sounds indistinguishable to the brain. This means that the child falls asleep and sleeps more peacefully.

2. White noise is soothing

The monotonous dull hum reminds the baby of the sounds he heard while in the womb. Like anything else that sounds like that happy time (eg swaying, dim lights), white noise will soothe your baby in the first months of life.

Who is white noise suitable for?

Let's say right away: not for everyone. Most children (as well as adults) love uninformative dull hum. But there are those who dislike him.

If a baby easily falls asleep in a stroller on a noisy street or to the sound of a working TV, fan, washing machine, pouring water, most likely, white noise as a "sleeping pill" is also suitable for him. But to find out exactly how your baby will react to multi-frequency sounds can only be done experimentally.

When white noise can be harmful

It seems pleasant and safe, but scientists are still cautious and warn of possible side effects.

1. Hearing impairment

In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics tested 14 popular white noise devices. It turned out that they all exceed S. C. Hugh, N. E. Wolter, E. J. Propst et al. Infant sleep machines and hazardous sound pressure levels / Pediatrics The recommended noise level for babies is 50 decibels. Since generators often run all night (and caring parents also turn them up to drown out all possible extraneous sounds), this can lead to hearing impairment in the child.

2. Delayed speech development

The same study mentioned above warns about this risk. If the baby's hearing is impaired, then he will not perceive the words of adults as clearly as in the norm. And this will affect his speech development.

To reduce the risks, pediatricians recommend installing such devices at a distance of at least 2 m from the bed and keeping the volume at a low or medium level.

3. Addiction

Children who respond well to white noise actually sleep better. But they get used to this kind of sound support. If for some reason the baby is forced to fall asleep without a white noise generator, there is a high probability of sleep problems.

Where to get white noise for newborns

1. Create yourself

Turn on the fan, air conditioner, humidifier for the duration of the intended sleep: these devices produce sounds very similar to white noise.

2. Buy a stuffed animal with a built-in white noise generator

These toys reproduce sounds that are ideal for baby sleep. They resemble a mother's heartbeat, the sound of rain, waterfall, wind. As a rule, you can choose from a dozen white noise options and find among them exactly the one to which the child will react best.

Also, similar gadgets are available in the form of children's nightlights or standalone devices.

3. Turn white noise online

There are enough resources on the web offering to download or listen to white noise online. Moreover, it is available in different versions: you can choose white noise with the sounds of rain drops or the hiss of the TV.

4. Download the mobile application - white noise generator

There are many of them, choose according to your taste.