The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a warning on excessive noise and hearing loss in children, and how sound machines may be causing more harm than good.
Millions of children are at risk for hearing loss, ABC News Medical Correspondent Dr. Darien Sutton said.
The new report is brewing evidence that noise exposure is a public health threat. Dr. Sutton said one of the reasons why, is children have smaller ear canals, which exposes them to the intensification of higher-frequency sounds.
The new warning cited some important numbers, such as the average use listening level or the average volume kids listen to music at is 70 to 100 decibels, which is the upper limit of normal or range for most of our headphone output. However, noise above 70 decibels for prolonged periods of time can cause damage damage. Noise at 100 decibels can cause damage in minutes and over 120 can cause immediate damage, Dr. Sutton said. He recommends keeping them to 60% to 70%, and said to never put it up to the highest.
Dr. Sutton said volume can be safe as long as you regulate it - not just with headphones but also with sound machines, especially with kids and toddlers.
"I know they have some benefits. They help kids get to sleep faster, especially if they have older siblings... But most say they are simply too loud," Dr. Sutton explained. "The Academy of Pediatrics says nurseries have a volume maximum of 50 decibels."
He recommends turning that volume down and placing the sound machine away from the bed -- at least seven feet.
Dr. Sutton said it's about paying attention to that communication.
"If you're finding your child is speaking loudly, having difficulty with pronunciation, not reacting to loud noises -- these are some of the reasons you should get their hearing checked. It can help with their learning comprehension and reduce their risk long term," he said.