A baby brings endless joy, but caring for them isn't a walk in the park. There will be things that parents won't be too happy about, and that includes the incessant crying. For moms and dads, seeing their little ones crying can be tough — not just because no parent wants to see their child uncomfortable or in pain, but also because of simply how loud the crying can often get.
A 2014 study by researchers from Eastern Kentucky University found out something that you might already know: The cries of children, particularly those between 9 months and 6 years old, can actually fall between 99 and 120 decibels, which are sound levels that are potentially harmful to those within hearing range.
What’s more, the researchers also wrote that “chronic exposure to these intense sound pressures may result in noise-induced hearing loss in a parental guardian or an examining physician.” They noted that people who are frequently exposed to noise levels this high — such as moms and dads of very young children — may be at risk of succumbing to reacting impulsively in an attempt to put an end to the crying.
Parents know that crying is a natural part of raising children, so there’s really no way to escape it. However, there might be a simple way to endure it — by wearing noise-canceling earphones. This is precisely the solution proposed by the researchers behind the Eastern Kentucky University study.
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“Employment of noise attenuating ear plugs in situations where parents, guardians, or healthcare professionals are commonly exposed to loud crying is recommended,” the researchers wrote.
“The specific implementation of ear plugs by parental guardians of frequently crying children is suggested as a possible modality for the prevention of child abuse,” they add.
It’s easy to see the appeal of putting on a pair of noise-canceling earphones for a few minutes while you’re trying to calm down your child. While this fix may not guarantee that you won’t actually be able to hear the crying (Offspringreports that, according to an article on the New York Times, headphones might not work at higher frequencies), these may help you drown out the noise for a short while, just enough for you to calm down and get yourself together.
Noise-canceling earphones can also help you soothe yourself by letting you listen to music that will calm you down. Samantha Jacobs, a mom from Florida, USA, toldParents that this is one thing she would do whenever her daughter’s crying started to get on her nerves.
“Everyone talks about using music to soothe the baby, but sometimes I need music to soothe myself,” she shared. “If the crying gets really bad and I’m on my own, I’ll place my daughter in her crib and then go and shut myself in my room. I’ll just play one song that I know will relax me and give me the patience I need. Then I will go back and try to calm her down.”
Now, you might be thinking that taking a while to calm yourself down and to shut yourself away from your baby’s uncontrollable crying seems selfish, but it is important to note that there is nothing wrong with giving yourself a break, especially if you are starting to feel angry or frustrated. After all, you, too, can get tired, especially if you have done everything to calm your child down but nothing seems to work.
In his book, The Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Harvey Karp, a well-known pediatrician, child development specialist, and author, discussed just how important it is to take a breather when you need to, even when your baby is in the middle of a crying fit.
“One of the things that can happen when you get frustrated or angry is that you take it out on the baby,” Dr. Karp explained. An example of these is Shaken Baby Syndrome, which happens when a baby is shaken so much that her brain pitches back and forth, possibly hitting the insides of her skull. This occurrence can lead to ruptured blood vessels and nerves, torn brain tissue, and bruising and bleeding of the brain.
Next time your baby starts crying and wailing at the top of her little lungs, there’s no harm in wearing a pair of earphones while you try to calm her down. When you feel the stress starting to overcome you, there is also no harm in putting your baby down and leaving the room for a few minutes until you feel much calmer. Just don’t forget to take out the earphones once you are finally able to soothe your baby!