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Audio baby monitors can help you de-stress, and these are the best available

Once upon a time, parents didn’t have the luxury of watching their kids peacefully slumber on a video monitor. Rather, Mom and Dad had to rely on an audio-only option, actively listening for the occasional snore, heavy sigh, or — goodness forbid — angry 2 a.m. cry.

It might not sound ideal (and it isn’t always), but a baby sound monitor is not only useful, it can also feel somewhat liberating. The simple truth: If you find yourself fruitlessly staring at the black-and-white night-vision image of your child all night, you might rather enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with hearing but not seeing. You’ll get the peace of mind that Baby is still and resting, without the anxiety that comes with seeing every toss, turn, and twitch. Furthermore, an audio monitor is a great backup to have on hand for travel or overnights. Ready to start browsing? Here are our top picks for the best audio baby monitor options.

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VTech DM111 Digital Audio Baby Monitor with 1 Parent Unit

You really can’t beat the price of this starter audio option. At just $20, this dependable gadget offers a range of about 1,000 feet, crisp sound, and a digital transmission that works to reduce annoying interference from other connected devices so that you can always hear your Baby’s sweet morning songs and middle-of-the-night calls (even if you don’t want to).

HelloBaby HB178 Audio Baby Monitor

This small and subtle audio monitor uses digital transmission to filter out background noise and feedback. Moreover, it features DECT technology to ensure a secure, encrypted signal — meaning you won’t ever experience creepy cross-over (if you’ve ever heard another household’s audio come through on your monitor, you know exactly what we’re talking about!). In addition, a sensitive microphone picks up on all the littlest sounds, while a light bar visually indicates noise. Both units can be plugged in or battery-operated for portability, flexibility, and convenience.

Time Flys Digital Audio Baby Monitor Mustang OL

Want a cuter option for Baby’s nursery? Check out this sweet penguin-inspired audio monitor. In addition to being absolutely adorable, it comes with lots of bonus functionality, including two-way communication (so Mom and Dad can comfort Baby back down without even entering the room), built-in lullabies, temperature gauge, and night-light control. The monitor also features acoustics and vibration so that you can feel confident it’ll wake you up to tend to Baby’s needs.

Philips Avent Dect Audio Baby Monitor with Starry Night Projector SCD730/86

This option offers total privacy, zero feedback, and lots of comforting extra features. It has an energy-saving Smart ECO mode for minimal transmission, temperature alerts, a night-friendly display mode, and a nifty docking station so you don’t lose the charger. What’s more, it offers starry-night wall or ceiling projection for Baby’s viewing pleasure, plus a soothing night-light and lullabies.

You don’t have to keep an eye on Baby at all hours of the night; but keeping your ears open can give you a little quiet comfort as you nod off to sleep. Whether you choose to completely forgo a video monitor or just want an audio option for travel, we’ve got you covered. Listen up (get it?): These four picks all offer affordability, convenience, and fun features; go ahead and pick out your favorite.

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