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Can exposure to loud noise damage baby's hearing?

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My daughter is 6 weeks old. I was about to take her carrier out of the car when I accidentally pushed the panic button/car alarm on my keychain. She startled at the loud noise. I stopped the noise as soon as possible so she was only exposed to the sound for a few seconds. I'm worried that it may have damaged her hearing since she is so little. I try to be so careful about exposure to loud noises. Thoughts?

Category: Pediatrician

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Category: ICU/ Critical Care Specialist
 20 Doctors Online


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Loud noises are considered damaging to ears of infants only when they are exposed it repeatedly over a period of time (days to weeks), for a considerable duration. Even then the evidence of loud noise causing direct hearing damage is limited.
Reference : Several articles in PubMed.

This current episode, you baby being exposed to the car alarm sound is not a concern at all. Most likely the baby would be startled for a few seconds. No scope for any ear / hearing damage.

Hope this helps
Feel free to ask followups / clarifications
Thank you

Patient replied :

Thank you. I also have a mini schnauzer dog who has a loud sort of high pitched bark when people come over or if he sees an animal. I try to keep the baby away from the dog but it can't always be avoided and he has barked near her a few times. Should I be concerned?


No, you need not be concerned. Infants have a wonderful ability to adapt to adapt to the environment. Just make sure the Dog is not barking as a response to the babies cry. For example if the dog barks every time the baby cries, it can be negative feedback to her. As long the Dogs bark is not related to any of Babies response it is fine.

Thank you

Patient replied :

Thank you. I was putting a shirt over my 6 weeks old head and I accidentally pressed the soft spot in the back of her head. She cried for a second( probably since she hates to have her clothes changed) but is acting normal. Should I be worried?

If she is acting normal, with no prolonged crying, irritability or unusual symptoms there is nothing to worry. Thank you

Patient replied :

It's about a day later and she's acting really fussy this evening. She drank a lot today and tonight so I'm not sure if it's gas or not. During the day today she was totally acting fine. Should I be concerned?


If the discomfort / irritability / change of behaviour persists it is better to consult your Doctor directly. Most probably this is nothing, but it is difficult to comment without direct physical examination.

Do let me know if you have more queries. /

Thank you

Dr. Saptharishi L G
Category: ICU/ Critical Care Specialist
Senior Residency: DM,  Pediatric Critical Care, PGIMER

Residency: MD, Pediatrics, Postgraduate Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, 2013

Internship: JIPMER, 2009

Medical School: MBBS, Jawaharlal Institute of Post-graduate Medical Education & Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, 2008
Dr. Saptharishi L G and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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