According to this news article babies can produce up to 130 decibels when crying. That's about the same intensity as the sound of a jackhammer and louder than ambulance sirens or a chain saw. A person only needs to be exposed to such sound levels for a mere few seconds to get permanent hearing loss. In fact, the ears already start to experience pain when exposed to 120 decibels of sound. Most babies and toddlers produce between 99 to 120 decibels on average when crying, which are also dangerously high sound levels.

So how is it that babies don't get hearing loss from their own loud crying? Babies can cry for a lot longer then just a few seconds but i've never read anywhere that this causes hearing loss with them. It can however cause hearing loss with caregivers. Are baby ears different to those of adult ears? Or do babies do get hearing loss from their own crying but are able to repair this hearing loss because they're still very young and thus have lots of stemcells?

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    I think this is an interesting question but a couple of thoughts related to frequencies. Babies' cries are typically at a very high pitch. Is it possible they do experience hearing loss in those ranges but loss in those ranges isn't readily noted? Secondly, is it possible that hearing loss due to sound level is frequency dependent? Maybe high frequencies are less damaging than low and mid-range frequencies?
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 4:06
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    @CareyGregory high frequencies are just as damaging as the low and mid-range frequencies. I'm not a doctor but i do know that hearing loss usually starts with losing the ability to hear very high pitched tones. This is because the hearing cells that are responsible for perceiving high pitched tones are situated at the entrance of the cochlea. So that means that these cells always endure the brunt of any sound waves that enter the ear, regardless of the frequency. The cells for the low pitched frequencies are usually the last ones to get damaged because they're all at the end of the cochlea.
    – Maurice
    Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 6:19
  • I think @CareyGregory's hypothesizing is on the right track. While the specifics are arguable, the idea that maybe they do experience hearing loss is not. The problem is how to tell? I don't think there is a study that examines the effects of normal and largely unpreventable activity (crying). The control group would need to wear sound protection most of the time (parental compliance would be an issue, as well as problems associated with that protection (otitis externa plus social development) or be a subset of babies who do not cry (neuroatypoical)... Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 17:46
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    I’m surprised no one has mentioned the acoustic reflex. That’s what I learned in school protects you from being deafened by your own screaming.
    – Ian Campbell
    Commented Dec 6, 2022 at 4:18
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    @IanCampbell - Any loud-enough noise activates the reflex, which (slightly) protects from noise in the low frequencies only. Maybe it protects screaming men somewhat but it's doubtful it protects babies. (In school, I learned that the MMR is given three times because we only become immunized to one virus at a time, and that fetal lungs were filled with amniotic fluid. Who famously said 50% of what we learn in medical school is wrong, but we don't know which 50% that is...?)(Well, a lot of folks have heard that from different sources.) Commented Dec 6, 2022 at 21:59

1 Answer 1


Within three to six months after the birth of babies, they develop their hearing system considerably. Before that this system is not fully developed. So when these babies cry, they dont get their hearing loss problem because they are too young and their acoustic system is going under development. The more time they passes, the more they learn to express their needs with signal, expression and broken words. So they gradually cry less. Thus they dont face problem. A baby cries when he needs something and can not express it. But if they face problem by their loud noise, which will cause problem to their ears, they should decrease the noise of their crying for their own protection, right? Ok, but dont just let your young kids go to your baby for making loud sound in front of the ear of the baby. Be cautious about that. The thing is when we produce sound its impact and intensity varies according to the wave propagation theory. It can be understood more clearly when you are in a crowdy place. Or consider you made a loud sound. The one who is near to you, will have a greater impact and will be affected more than you. Same goes for babies.

Next comes parents. How do they face such disturbing sound? Obviously it is their love for which they endure the pain. Our concern is whether parents suffer from hearing problem due to the loud crying sound around 120 db. Well, to have hearing loss, it requires years. Besides, parents are not constantly under the loud sound. Because a baby can sleep upto 12 hours if not more than that. The baby will cry when he needs something and you see when the parents fulfill the demand of the baby, the environment becomes peaceful again. Also if we consider the baby is crying for unknown cause, which is very normal and not frequently happens, the parents just endure it. Yes they may need to sacrifice their sleep in the night. But they love their child and just endure it. Thus they grow accommodation to the situation. This is more like mental endurance. The same thing which is endurable to a parents will be disturbing and unbearable for an outsider. However as the baby develops with his age, the parents face less and less problem. Eventually even if their hearing sense is reduced temporarily, it will be recovered soon.

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    Newborns undergo audiometric testing routinely in the US before discharge to home. If their hearing wasn't developed, the results would show deafness. Also, newborns respond to their mother's voice differently than any other voice (as well as to certain kinds of noise generators), the implication being that their hearing is functional in the womb. Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 2:27
  • @anongoodnurse; Thanks for adding what happens in the womb.
    – Arafat
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 5:18

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