Turning on the vacuum cleaner, car engine or television may stop your baby crying, but is it doing them harm?
Researchers at Yale University have revealed that prolonged exposure to repetitive sounds can reduce the formation of blood vessels in the brains of new born mice, causing changes that may ultimately make them more vulnerable to stresses and aging.
The findings suggest that repetitive, persistent noise may have a long-term impact on the development of a child’s brain with scientists warning that even relatively low sound, such as a quiet television or the back ground sound of a washing machine, may cause harm if left on for more than a few hours.
Neurologist Dr Jaime Grutzendker said persistent noise of more than ten hours a day may stop blood vessels being formed in babies’ brains.
It’s definitely a cautionary observation, that these stimulations that we have in modern society should not be abused,” said Dr Grutzendler. “I would say the auditory stimulation we did in mice is well within the exposures that humans are exposed to in modern society—and even less. … It’s not the volume; it’s the persistence.”
Grutzendler said the findings should not send parents into a panic; these are studies on mice, not humans. But the result raises important questions about early human brain development that he hopes will be followed up by other researchers.