Safe & Effective White Noise for Babies

A Guide by Hubble Connected

When it comes to finding ways to help your baby sleep better, you may come across various suggestions. However, as a new parent, you want to make sure that the advice you receive is both effective and safe for your little one.One such suggestion is using white noise.Despite its potential benefits, some caregivers may be uncertain or skeptical about using it. Here's what you need to know to make an informed decision.


Note: The content on this site is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice from your doctor, pediatrician, or medical professional. If you have questions or concerns, you should contact a medical professional."

What is white noise?

White noise is defined as any sound that contains a mix of frequencies with equal intensities. In simpler terms, it is a noise that lacks any pattern and is composed of all the sounds that the human ear can hear.White noise has been known to help some adults and children, including babies, fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. There are various sources of white noise available, such as white noise machines and apps, as well as YouTube channels dedicated solely to white noise.

when is the best time to start using white noise?

There is no age limit when it comes to using white noise to help your baby sleep better. In fact, starting early can greatly improve the quality of your baby's sleep, especially if they struggle to stay asleep for more than 30 minutes.


Deciding when to stop using white noise for your baby is a personal choice, which may be made by the caregiver or the child as they get older. Some parents aim to stop using it by the time their child is 2 years old, while others continue to use it until their child is 3-4 years old and able to decide for themselves if they want it playing while they sleep. However, many older children and adults still find white noise helpful for sleep.


The question of whether white noise is good for babies often receives a positive answer from pediatric sleep experts. Research shows that the noise level inside the uterus is loud, similar to the sound of a lawnmower, which is why fussy babies may be soothed by the intense, low-frequency sounds associated with white noise.

White noise creates a familiar and comforting environment for babies, mimicking the sounds they heard in the womb, such as their parents' heartbeat and digestive noises. The continuous sound also helps to block out any sudden or loud noises that may stimulate or wake up the baby, and it can also serve as a sleep cue as part of a pre-sleep routine.

white noise versus pink noise

White noise is often associated with static sounds from a TV or radio, or sounds from everyday devices like lawnmowers, car engines, vacuums, or hair dryers. Pink noise, on the other hand, is found in nature and has less variation in frequency. Some sound machines have options for both white and pink noise.

White noise is better at blocking out loud or sudden noises like doors slamming or fireworks, and it resembles the sounds babies heard in the womb. Pink noise works better at masking more subtle noises or continuous sounds like people talking or the TV playing. The benefits of pink noise for babies have not yet been fully researched, but studies show that white noise may reduce fussiness and increase sleep duration.


White noise is commonly used as a sleep aid for babies, but some may worry about its potential impact on baby hearing. A study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2014 found that all 14 white noise machines tested exceeded hospital-recommended noise levels at maximum output. To ensure safety, the AAP recommends placing white noise machines at least 7 feet from a baby's sleep area and keeping the volume lower than 50 decibels.

While white noise has been shown to help 80% of newborns fall asleep within 5 minutes, according to a small study, the effects of white noise on older babies and its potential impact on hearing and auditory development have yet to be thoroughly researched. Additionally, relying on white noise to fall asleep may create dependency issues, particularly during travel or in daycare settings without white noise.

Here are 5 tips for using white noise to safely soothe your baby:


  1. Keep the machine at a safe distance: Make sure to place white noise machines at least 7 feet (2 meters) away from your baby’s sleep space to prevent any potential damage to their delicate hearing.
  2. Adjust the volume: Set the volume lower than the maximum to avoid exposing your baby to excessive noise levels.
  3. Limited usage: Use white noise only for calming your baby and during sleep time, to reduce the risk of dependency.
  4. Follow instructions: Always read and follow the manufacturer's directions and safety warnings.
  5. Change the type of white noise periodically to keep your baby's interest and keep the sound soothing and not monotonous.


White noise for babies

Frequently Asked Questions



White noise for babies

Frequently Asked Questions


Can white noise harm my baby's hearing

  • Yes, white noise can cause harm to a baby's hearing if it is too close to their sleeping area or if it exceeds the recommended decibel limits for a prolonged period.

When should I turn on white noise for my baby?

  • Over time, babies start to associate the sound of white noise with sleep, making it an effective tool to calm them down and help them sleep. Some caregivers prefer to turn on white noise when they lay the baby down to sleep, while others turn it on before the bedtime or naptime routine to help the baby relax. If you choose to play white noise during the sleep routine, make sure to keep the volume low while reading or singing to the baby.

Should I use a timer or let the white noise play throughout the baby's sleep?

  • Babies, like adults, have brief awakenings between sleep cycles, and if they wake up and the white noise is not playing, they might fully awaken. To help your baby fall back to sleep, it is best to keep the environment consistent, including the white noise, throughout the night or nap.

What should I consider when choosing a white noise machine?

  • When choosing a white noise machine, it is essential to look for one specifically designed for children, and that has low decibels, since the maximum recommended decibels for adults (85 decibels) exceeds those for children. Consider choosing a portable machine that you can take with you on vacation or to grandma's house.

Can I use white noise for naps too?

  • Yes, white noise can be used for both nighttime sleep and naps, especially during the day when household and environmental noise levels are at their highest.

How loud should white noise be for babies?

  • There is some disagreement among experts on the ideal decibel level for white noise for babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a volume no higher than 50 decibels, while many pediatric sleep experts suggest that white noise has no impact on sleep when played below 60-65 decibels.

Can I play white noise on my computer?

  • Yes, white noise can be played on a computer, but the sound quality from computer speakers may not be as effective, and there is a risk that notifications could startle the baby. It's essential to turn off all notification alerts before playing white noise on a computer.

White noise vs music for babies: which is better?

  • While music can be soothing to babies, it can also be too stimulating while they are sleeping, as changes in pitch and tone are more likely to wake a sleeping baby. White noise, on the other hand, provides a consistent sound, making it more effective in helping babies fall asleep.

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