How Loud is Too Loud?
If you haven’t heard, the womb is a very loud place, and typically, your baby’s nursery isn’t. (See my previous post, “Turn on the Noise, The Baby is Sleeping”). Unfortunately, this new and quiet world we’ve brought our babies into is quite stressful to them, which is understandable since they just spent nine months bathed in continuous noise.
So it makes sense that introducing white noise to the equation is actually going to reduce their stress and provide them with a little piece and comfort. But now loud is too loud? The short answer the experts tell us is that we shouldn’t expose our babies to anything louder than 50 decibels. Okay, great information, but how many of us actually carry a sound meter around with us?
What I like tell people who use the Baby Sleep Sounds from Fade Away Sleep Sounds, is to select a volume that is a close approximation to the actual volume of the actual sound. So, if you’re using Electric Fan Sounds, make a mental note of how loud your actual fan is and match that when you’re playing the sleep sound (and place the speaker as close to the location the fan in the room had always been set up). Same with the Shower Sounds, and the Clothes Dryer Sounds and every one of our other sounds. Chances are you’re using one of our Baby Sleep Sounds because you’ve already had some success with that actual sound, but instead of wearing out your vacuum, you’ve downloaded a sound of the vacuum instead.
Also, AND THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT… don’t put the speaker right next to the babies head! Set it on the dresser on the adjacent wall, or on the other side of the room. The goal isn’t to blast noise right into your baby’s ear, it is more to “fill” the room with the sound. Think of it as being in a dark room with someone shining a flashlight in your face compared to being in a brightly lit room… that direct beam of light is distracting, annoying and isn’t helping.
So, in short, you want the sound loud enough to be heard, but not too loud as to damage your baby’s hearing. If the volume you pick seems uncomfortably loud, it probably is.
Also, think of it as using the sound to fill the room as opposed to having it played very close and directly at your baby.
**EDIT** Remember that part where I said, “how many of us actually carry a sound meter around with us?” Turns out, most all of us can. There’s an app for that! Who knew!? A quick look in Apple’s App Store revealed dozens of decibel meters that you can download to your phone or tablet (and most I saw were free downloads too!) So now you’ll know exactly how loud 50 db is. Just make sure you are holding the sound meter where your baby’s head will be and not right next to the speaker.