Toys Bring the Noise

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Toys Bring the Noise

noisy toys and hearing loss

It’s that time of year again – toys and all of their noise! What to know and what to do about noisy toys kids get this Christmas.

The holiday season is here and with it, toys, toys, and more toys. Catalogs of them arrive by mail. Stores have fully stocked shelves of them. Friends and relatives are ready to shower the kids with them. Kids eyes light up at the sight, but what are those often noisy toys doing to their hearing?

These days, it’s almost hard to find a toy that doesn’t light up or have sound. And, most of the time, they are anything but quiet, soothing sounds. This can pose a serious risk to the hearing of kids (not to mention their families). Hearing loss starts earlier than many people believe, often in childhood. In fact, research indicates that approximately 14% of kids between the ages of 12 and 19 have a measurable hearing loss in at least one ear. This percentage has even increased over the years, a trend that has experts, parents and hearing healthcare providers concerned about kids’ growing exposure to noise.

Are they really that noisy?

To bring awareness to the growing problem of noisy toys, the Sight & Hearing Association (SHA), tested noise levels of a variety of toys and found that over 20 of the toys tested at greater than 100 decibels. This is similar to the level of sound produced by a motorcycle.

While toys now must meet noise standards, not exceeding 85 decibels at 50 centimeters away, experts warn that children, young children especially, rarely keep toys at a safe distance of 50 centimeters from their ears. In fact, how often do we see those same toys just a few inches from little ones’ faces?

What you can do about noisy toys

There is hope that as the serious impact of noisy toys on kids’ hearing comes to light, toys will become quieter, but in the meantime, there are things you can do to minimize risk.

  • Test toys before you buy. Many toys allow consumers to try them out before they buy with open packaging and batteries already installed. This can give you an idea of just how loud a toy is and whether or not there is a volume control available.
  • If you already have toys at home that seem too loud to be safe, try covering speakers to minimize sound. Heavy tape can be a good option.
  • Opt for quieter activities whenever possible such as building sets, games or reading with your child.

Beyond the toys

Today’s world is noisier than ever, especially for sensitive young ears. Help children learn to value and protect their hearing from a young age. Be aware of noise levels from televisions, radios, and at events. Have hearing protection on hand and ready to use. Don’t be afraid to model smart choices for hearing health.

Noisy toys and an ever louder environment don’t have to damage kids’ hearing. Contact our office to schedule a hearing evaluation or to learn more about noise-induced hearing loss and how to avoid it.

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