Sleeping With White Noise Harmful? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 01-03-2007, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a white noise machine in the room with dd's so they are not woken by things going on in our apartment (esp. dh watching TV). FIL is very concerned that sleeping with white noise will affect their brain development.

Is this something I need to be concerned about? Does anyone know of any links/studies about white noise while sleeping?
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#2 of 25 Old 01-03-2007, 03:42 PM
 
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I've never read anything to suggest it's harmful, so I hope that's not the case! We need to use white noise because our house is tiny and our bedroom door doesn't close.
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#3 of 25 Old 01-03-2007, 08:08 PM
 
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FIL probably read this.

Even though the article wildly extrapolates the findings with rats to mean that white noise is somehow bad for human language development, I think that's a load of BS. The rats were exposed to continuous white noise, not just while they slept. It surely muffled or drowned out the sounds that other rats make, so they didn't learn the language as they should. Your dds aren't hearing white noise all the time, just while sleeping. As long as you still talk to them while they're awake, they'll be fine!

We've always used white noise, and my kids are very verbal with great pronunciation. I wouldn't worry about it.

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#4 of 25 Old 01-04-2007, 12:20 AM
 
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We use white noise at home religiously! We sleep with it during naps, at night and sometimes driving in the car. I am not worried about it at all! I am glad to have something to help soothe my DS to sleep with. I know he has developed a sleep association with it and that is OK by me!

I read the article above about the study, and I am still not concerned one bit. I'd need a lot more data from multiple sources to convince me that the study was significant in any way. Also, my baby is not a rat, does not think like a rat, and does not have the same developmental needs and issues as a rat in a cage.... so I'm not buying it!

After watching Dr. Karp's "Happiest Baby on the Block" DVD, I started using traditional white noise (static sound) when I needed to soothe DS as an infant. That gradually changed to a "raindrop on the roof" noise that we now use ALL THE TIME! I started using it for the same reason as you... to drown out noise from outside of the room, while he was napping or before we went to bed (as our main living space is right outside the door).

The bottom line is it helps to soothe him, he associates it with a sleepy state, and he is developing an understanding of how to get settled and sleep on his own (eventually! ). I totally advocate it for those who are struggling to get their DC to sleep better!

We co-sleep and thankfully DH doesn't mind it at all. It used to drive me bonkers, but in time I was finding it helpful to wind down too. Most nights it is on all night (becuase I fall asleep before I can turn it of). When we are nursing to sleep the volume level depends on DS's mood. If he is really fussy and having a hard time going to sleep, the volume is high (I can tell that it has a calming effect on him). As he nods off, I lower it and lower it a bit again when he is asleep.

Oh! Sorry for the loooooooooong response!
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#5 of 25 Old 01-04-2007, 12:27 AM
 
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I use white noise (currently a fan) in our bedroom, and living in a busy city it's been many years since we've had anything that approaches true quiet, noise machine or not.

I don't have anything very official to share and haven't read much literature about it, good or bad. I personally think that our human brains are too adaptable and resilient to be flummoxed by a reasonable and consistent level of white noise. You get used to it and tune it out when you're awake, how distracting and disruptive can it be when you're asleep? That's my admittedly less-than-informed instinct on the subject.
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#6 of 25 Old 01-04-2007, 12:30 AM
 
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Ack, we would not be able to sleep if it wasn't for our fan. All 5 of us use them. And we all talk pretty good.
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#7 of 25 Old 01-04-2007, 12:57 AM
 
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I have a fan in every bedroom in my house

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#8 of 25 Old 01-04-2007, 11:37 AM
 
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we use a fan and I never thought of it as white noise until one day it was off and dd told me it was too quiet to sleep
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#9 of 25 Old 01-04-2007, 11:59 AM
 
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We use a fan in our bedroom (we co-sleep with DS) and we couldn't sleep without it.
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#10 of 25 Old 01-04-2007, 12:29 PM
 
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We're also in an apartment and have used white noise almost since birth ( we have it on the "water" setting so we can pee and take a shower in the bathroom that's right next to the bedroom. )--I don't know of any studies, but ds's verbal skills are good for his age. He's already linking words together for sentances and he's only 14 mo. He recognizes things in books and says what they are, etc.
Maybe white noise makes them smarter cuz they sleep better.
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#11 of 25 Old 01-04-2007, 12:59 PM
 
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i think constant arteficial white noise is not natural, YKWIM, i wouldn't use it.

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#12 of 25 Old 01-04-2007, 01:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clavicula View Post
i think constant arteficial white noise is not natural, YKWIM, i wouldn't use it.


Well, it can't be any less natural than sirens, motorcycles, flushing toilets, news helicopters,etc. We live between 2 hospitals & the jail, plus have super creaky floors, so yes, we use white noise for naps, and all night in the summer, when the windows are open. DD never stops talking. I don't think it has hurt her.
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#13 of 25 Old 01-04-2007, 01:43 PM
 
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My big concern is that eventually DS wouldn't be able to sleep without it as some of you mentioned. Of course, that doesn't answer the OP. But, I know I can't sleep when it's completely silent while DH loves it that way. I had to give up my air purifier and switch to a lower noise fan.

By the way, Julian's Momma, what's the "raindrop on the roof" CD or box, etc. that you use?

Also, I just received a CD (have not yet used) that addresses Delta Sleep. Most people just talk about REM sleep, but this is the deeper sleep you really need to relax all of your muscles. On the rare occasion I've gotten a few nights of it I wake feeling like I've gone through a yoga class and guided relaxation and woken up breathing properly and so deeply. Ahh... It's great! I need to use that CD soon. Will let you all know how it is and maybe it will help you and your DC, too.

Oh, my half-siblings and I were raised with a radio on low in our rooms. I'm extremely verbal, so at least the noise didn't affect me, except not being able to sleep without it! Don't know it that's any different than white noise, though, in terms of affecting a child.

I've PM'd Julian's Momma for the "rain drops" CD, or whatever. But, wanted to add another CD I've found soothing. It's R. Carlos Nakai (Nakai), a Native American well-known for the red cedar flute. When we visited DH's family in Arizona last summer we listed to his music all the time at naptime and bedtime. It's so soothing. "Earth Spirit" is the one we listen to most as it seems to be the most consitent througout; best for sleeping, I think.
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#14 of 25 Old 01-04-2007, 02:33 PM
 
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been lurking with interest, since i used to use a white noise machine a lot when dd1 was napping (she preferred the meadow: birds/wind). i felt a little like it was a lesser of two evils (the other an awake cranky baby ), glad to see most posts say it's ok. but for myself, i never felt as well rested when it (or a fan on hot summer nights) was on.

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#15 of 25 Old 01-04-2007, 02:38 PM
 
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I love having white noise in the room when I'm sleeping. We live with my parents and the kitchen is right off of our bedroom, and my parents banging around in the kitchen would wake Ani up every five minutes. We use a fan or often some classical music. She likes Bach.
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#16 of 25 Old 01-04-2007, 02:42 PM
 
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I run a fan because I cannot sleep without it. Every little creak and pop in the house would wake me up. Not to mention I can hear my blood roaring in my ears if I dont. All my dd and ds have ever known at night is the fan running. I havnt noticed any problems with them because of it.

My poor fan right now is about to konk out on me and I wont be able to get a new one until they put them out again closer to summer. If it stops working I am up the creek.

 
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#17 of 25 Old 01-04-2007, 09:21 PM
 
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We have been sleeping with a white noise machine since dd was born. She has AMAZING speech development and cognitive ability at 27 months. I think it has more to do with whether you SPEAK and INTERACT with your child than if you use white noise.

Just my 2 cents!
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#18 of 25 Old 01-04-2007, 09:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MCatLvrMoMof2 View Post
My poor fan right now is about to konk out on me and I wont be able to get a new one until they put them out again closer to summer. If it stops working I am up the creek.
Try buying a space heater. They can go for as cheap as $10, and if it makes it too hot most of them have a "fan-only" setting. DH can't sleep without a fan on and he does fine with a space heater when it's too cold for a fan. They make the same noise.
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#19 of 25 Old 01-04-2007, 09:43 PM
 
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We use white noise at home but sleep just fine when we are out in the woods camped in a tent
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#20 of 25 Old 01-04-2007, 09:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Imvishta View Post
My big concern is that eventually DS wouldn't be able to sleep without it as some of you mentioned.
:

And I think it's good for a kid to get used to their being some background noise. But then, I don't know about high needs babies, since I do not have one.
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#21 of 25 Old 01-05-2007, 12:55 PM
 
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Maybe your DS wouldn't be able to sleep without it, but DH can't sleep without a fan either and it hasn't been a problem for him in life. I don't care, and neither did his college roommates AFAIK.
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#22 of 25 Old 01-05-2007, 04:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Imvishta View Post
By the way, Julian's Momma, what's the "raindrop on the roof" CD or box, etc. that you use?
I use Dr. Karp's "Happiest Baby on the Block" CD. It has 5 tracks on it and I haven't used the other 4 since DS was just a few months old (fast heartbeat, moderate heartbeat, hair dryer, and I can't remember the last one).

I don't think there is anything special about the CD though. You can download raindrop noises on the internet or use other CDs that you find and they would likely be just as effective and sound exactly the same.

I've downloaded the CD on my IPOD (primarily because my CD player didn't have a repeat function, and I needed that!) and there are many simple adaptors that you can pop it into and have speakers (mine is also my alarm clock). I got a great one at Walmart and I love it beacuse it has a little remote. I tuck the remote under my pillow so I can easily adjust the volume or turn it off as I doze off to sleep!

Here's a picture...

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...uct_id=5238462

I am so crazy about this solution because it just helps us to all sleep better. I even have a tiny cheap MP3 player and speaker that always stays in my diaper bag.
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#23 of 25 Old 01-05-2007, 05:36 PM
 
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Thanks, Julian's Momma. I'll look into that CD. And, might hint to DH about the "rain box" I mentioned for Valentine's Day! Oh, I think I just PM'd that bit of info... There's a box I've seen that has a magnet on the top inside and little balls inside; you just turn the box over for the balls to catch and then turn it back over for them to slowly drop, kind of like rain, I guess. If I see one again I'll post a link.

As far as white noise affecting speach... I'm not sure, but I know I read that too much television can affect a child's attention span as they learn to tune-out other things. So, that's not just about having to be entertained by technology, that's addressing the tuning-out which I'm guessing might have something to do with the white noise issue. Why it would affect them for sleeping I don't know at all.

Here's an interesting bit of trivia: Did you know that in South Korea it's thought that running a fan in a room while someone is sleeping can contribute to their death?! It's called a Fan Death. Here's a Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_death Just thought that was interesting and kind of related...
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#24 of 25 Old 01-05-2007, 05:52 PM
 
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We used white noise for DS when he was little, and he sleeps fine without it now. I use it with DD now too. She can sleep without it though too.
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#25 of 25 Old 01-06-2007, 12:55 AM
 
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I have slept with a fan on every single night (including nights away from home- I bring it with me) of my 32 years and I am fine. If I try to sleep without it I hear every tiny little noise and it drives me crazy. Both my kids sleep with fans now.
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