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Are your holiday gifts on the ‘Noisy Toys List’?

Hearing Loss

Be careful of Noisy Toys! Noisy toys?

A review of a report in Medical Express.  Health Day Dec 1, 2021

Not too long ago, I wrote a summary of an article about Hearing loss and children.  In that article, I talked about seeing parents bringing young children, even infants to a tractor pull.  Some parents had hearing protection for themselves and their kids., knowing it was going to be loud.  That is the point.  They knew it was going to be loud.  Who thinks about the toys your children or grandchildren play with?  The answer is, the Sight and Hearing Association!

The Sight and Hearing Association’s annual 2021 list of noisy toys is out.

Many on the list tested higher than 85 decibels (dB), which is OSHA’s level for mandatory hearing protection.  According to Sarah Sydlowski, president of the American Academy of Audiology, “many parents don’t realize the permanent damage a simple toy can inflict on a child’s hearing.  When we fail to protect a child’s hearing, the result can be irreversible hearing loss”.

Kathy Webb,  executive director of the Sight & Hearing Association, says they “look for the most popular sound-producing toys on the market.  We measure the decibel level to raise awareness.  Toys are tested based on how a child would play with them, first at arm’s length (10 inches), and then next to the ear (0 inches), which is how a child often listens to a noisy toy.”

Parents can use a smartphone app to test the sound levels of toys before buying them.

Ms. Sydlowski advised that, “Toys that make noise at or above 85 dB can contribute to noise-induced hearing loss.  If they come in at 85 dB or higher when holding your phone microphone near them, like your child would hold the toy near their own ear, don’t buy them.  Remember, the louder the sound, the faster the damage and damage continues with exposure.”

As we at Hears to U and Hears Hearing & Hearables have stated in previous blogs, the inner ear has delicate hair cells that do not regrow.  Once damaged by noise, the result can lead to permanent hearing loss.  Hearing loss in children often goes undetected and can lead to behavioral problems, lack of focus, learning difficulties, and even depression, according to Ms. Sydlowski.  Is any toy really worth that risk?

For a full list of the noisiest toys go to:  http://www.sightandhearing.org and click on “Annual Noisy Toys List”.  There are 24 toys on the list which also tells you the decibel level for each toy at both zero inches and at ten inches, as well as the manufacturer and age range for each toy.

If you have any problems finding the list, let us know at Hears Hearing & Hearables, and we will be happy to help.

Happy Hearing to you and your family and a safe New Year!

Karen M.

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