Q: I’m a singer in two rock bands, surrounded by extremely loud music several times a week. I read that a mom’s noisy job can lead to retardation and hearing loss in her baby. Even though stars like Gwen Stefani tour while pregnant, I feel there’s no comparison—my speakers and the instruments are 10 times closer to me. Can you tell me anything about this?
A: Noise is actually very muted by all the layers between you and your baby, the amniotic fluid being the best insulator against sound. Still, it’s possible for the baby to be startled by noise after about 24 weeks. Some studies have reported a correlation between exposure to noise and preterm delivery, reduced birth weight, and high-frequency hearing loss in the fetus, but others have shown no relationship. My advice: If the sound is strong enough to feel in your bones, avoid the exposure. Any other loud noise is probably safe.