From adorable talking dolls to small firetrucks with miniature sirens, noisy toys might actually contribute to hearing loss for kids and their caregivers. And with holiday gift-giving right around the corner, now’s the perfect time to learn more about which toys are on the naughty or the nice list when to comes to noise levels.
They Can Create a Real Racket
Hearing damage from a toy can occur when it emits a sound that’s too loud for too long—that’s any sound that measures 90dB (the noise level of a lawnmower) or higher. And kids can make the likelihood of damage much greater because they often hold toys closer to their ears due to their short arm span, or they may hold toys too close to their caregivers’ ears. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, a child who does this can make a 90dB sound grow to be as loud as 120dB—that’s as loud as a jet plane taking off—and can cause permanent hearing loss.
Some regulations are in place to protect kids against too-loud toys. The American Society for Testing and Materials states that a handheld, tabletop or crib toy cannot exceed 90dB at any position 10 inches away from the toy’s surface; however, manufacturers’ compliance with this requirement is voluntary.
Which Toys Could Harm Hearing?
According to the Center for Hearing and Communication, the following toy types could result in hearing loss because they create sounds over 90dB.
- Certain rattles and squeaky toys can emit 110 dBA sounds.
- Musical toys, such as electric guitars, drums and horns, may produce sounds as loud as 120 dBA.
- Toy phones for small children can clock in at between 123 and 129 dBA.
- Toys designed to amplify the voice have been measured at 135 dBA.
- Toys producing firearm sounds emit volumes as loud as 150 dBA one foot away from the noise source.
Household toys, like vacuum cleaners, talking dolls, walkie-talkies and others can also contribute to noise-induced hearing loss.
Looking for specific toys you may want to use with caution? Here are the Sight & Hearing Association’s top five noisiest toys for 2021 and their corresponding decibel level when measured at zero inches from the toy:
- Disney Moana Squeeze and Scream HeiHei (109.7 dB)
- DJ Mix & Spin Studio from Hape (107.8 dB)
- Outdoor Discovery™ Hoot n’ Holler Animal Caller from Toysmith (104.5 dB)
- 4-in-1 Ultimate Learning Bot from Fisher-Price (103.6 dB)
- Baby Einstein Neptune’s Friends Play-a-Sound Book from Vtech (98.4 dB)
You can also find the entire list of 2021’s noisiest toys on their website.
Take Steps to Protect Ears of All Sizes
Santa Claus may be coming to town soon, but you can make sure his sleigh isn’t full of noisy toys (or make them less loud if they are).
- Try before you buy: If the toy sounds too loud, it probably is. Don’t purchase it.
- Muffle the sound: Placing duct tape over the speakers will help.
- Bye-bye batteries: Remove batteries from toys that emit too much noise.
- Get rid of the toy: Your loved ones’ ears will thank you.
You can also give the children in your life quieter options for playtime. For example, low-volume gifts such as puzzles, board games, coloring books and Legos let your child have fun without potentially damaging their (or your) hearing—which makes for a happier holiday season for everyone.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with an expert audiologist, call us at Pinnacle ENT Associates today!