Updated: Apr 4, 2022
When I first became a mother everything was so new. I was bombarded and overwhelmed by all of the information and advice available to help me bring my little human into the world. Just as I was overwhelmed I soon found out my baby would also be overwhelmed by all of the new sensations he would be experiencing.
Baby hearing is very sensitive
Human fetuses are known to become sensitive to sound well before birth, but to think that their little ears hear just as adult’s do would be very naive. While the experience of the sounds that reach the ears of the fetus, which can originate from inside as well as outside of the mother's body, may well influence the development of the auditory pathways, the brain of unborn babies, and even neonates, is very immature in many ways. After they leave the womb, these little ears are still sensitive. A baby's hearing is very sensitive and can be damaged by loud sounds, because sound pressure that is generated in the ears is greater compared to adults. A baby's ear canals are also much smaller than that of an adult and when sounds enter the canal they become louder.
Overstimulation through noisy environments can happen easily
A baby’s transitional journey from womb to world is a joyous and momentous event. To support the optimal unfolding of this we should be mindful of the baby's transition. Overstimulation happens when children are overwhelmed by more experiences, sensations, noise and activity than they can cope with. For example, a baby might get very unsettled after a party where they've been talked to and cuddled by a lot of grown-ups. A toddler might have a tantrum after a big event like a birthday party.
Many scenarios that are low-pressure for adults can often be highly overstimulating for babies, including daily errands like grocery shopping or social activities like family gatherings, fika at café, birthday parties, dinners out and even everyday occurrences like vacuuming or using the blender to make their baby food or smoothies. All of these things may be too much for your little one to handle.
How to protect my baby from loud noises
To gauge whether an event might be overstimulating for your baby, also consider whether it will fall during your child’s normal feeding or nap times, as a hungry or tired baby can become overwhelmed more easily. You have to be able to change courses quickly to meet your child’s needs. When it’s unavoidable it’s best to keep baby’s naps as on schedule as possible. Making a noisy environment calm and quiet can provide the extra comfort a baby needs to nap.
Babies can’t know when noise is too loud for them or when it could endanger their hearing. So often, that’s also true for younger children or even teenagers. So, it’s our job as parents to protect children from dangerous exposure and keep their hearing safe
What decibel level is safe for babies
Another important aspect to remember is exposure time. What we consider safe decibel levels for babies is also dependent on how long they are exposed to the noise. Short-term exposure to excessive noise levels can be safe if limited to a few minutes. For instance, when using home appliances like a vacuum cleaner that is between 60-80 dB, your baby should be safe if exposure does not last more than 5-10 minutes. However, longer exposure is to be avoided. To be safe, you can move the baby to a separate room and away from the noise.
Safe decibels levels for babies sleep
50-60 decibels is the safe decibel level recommended for babies' sleep. It is also the recommended noise limit for infants in hospital nurseries. Exposure to higher decibel levels is considered unsafe for babies' sleep and can affect their sleep quality, sleep patterns, and development.
Baby hearing protection with our noise muffling beanie
Our Little Snooze beanie helps your little human adapt to their new world of sounds, by easing them into new uncharted territory. The muffled sounds could remind them of the safety and comfort of being in their first home the womb again. Products like our beanie help babies adjust, letting them settle into a new event gently by reducing stimulation from one very important sensory pathway. Their ears.