I've raised three highly successful adults from infancy. In theory, this current "concern about future hearing and cognitive ability being compromised by exposure to tv" makes sense, especially when backed by studies about decibel levels. etc. But my sense of logic tells me there are many other factors to consider. I wonder what the effect high-pitched screaming has on the numerous sleeping infants who are constantly exposed to such sounds at childcare facilities. Barking dogs, the irratic playful screams & squeals of children playing certainly reach decibel levels equal to whatever conscientious parents would ever expose their babies to as "background tv sounds". Even the sound of a tea kettle reaching the boiling point each time it is used throughout the day, honking car horns, police sirens, train whistles, screeching birds, or car breaks, sneezing, snoring (for Goodness sakes, this may reach the highest decibel level of all these things combined in some cases) .....Are we to somehow eliminate all these sounds from our infants' lives because they are a potential cause for delay in speech and word recognition? Yikes ! Good luck with that, new parents.
If however, the effort is made to avoid using tv as a babysitter, or in place of talking with or reading to, or simply playing with your baby, then the point is well made. It is nothing new to the goal new parents have of doing the very best they can, in all ways regarding their new babies.
I see tv as just one of many sources of amusement (from the Latin "away from thinking") which can certainly be a wonderfully relaxing way for new parents to avoid obsessing about their babies and allow themselves the healthy choice to spend time while Baby is sleeping , simply "chilling".