For weeks, you’ve been chasing down the toys on your child’s unending wish list to help ensure big smiles and happy squeals this holiday season.
Like most popular toys, the ones on your shopping list most likely include lots of sounds, voices, and songs designed to entertain your child and keep you hoping for the day their batteries run out.
But did you know that many of these toys can actually damage your child’s hearing?
Recent studies show approximately 12.5% of children and teens aged 6-19 currently have noise-induced hearing loss. If left untreated, hearing loss can affect your child’s language development, self-confidence, academic performance, social interactions, and more.
Exposure to sounds 85 decibels (dB) and above for any period of time can cause permanent hearing damage. Sounds that reach this threshold include lawn mowers, chainsaws, sirens, and jet engines. However, that list is growing to include many of today’s top toys.
In order to help call your attention to the dangers of noise-induced hearing loss, the Sight & Hearing Association tests and releases an annual list of the loudest toys on the market.
This year’s list includes:
- Animal Babies Nursery Jumpin’ Lil Monkeys
The loudest toy recorded this year at 103.4 dB, the Jumpin’ Lil Monkeys jumps and sings “5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.” It’s intended for children aged three to six.
- Disney’s Frozen Cool Tunes Sing-Along Boombox
This boombox lets children sing along to their favorite songs from the wildly popular movie and reaches sound levels up to 100.4 dB. It includes a real working microphone and can connect to MP3 players.
- Little Tykes® Lil’ Ocean Explorers™ Push ‘n Glow Fish™
Designed for infants who are mastering crawling, this unassuming toy makes various sounds that reach up to 93.8 dB to encourage them to keep moving.
If you’ve already purchased these or other noisy toys this holiday, there are some steps you can take to keep your child safe. For example, if the toy has a volume control knob, you can glue it so it will stay at a lower level.
To help monitor your child’s hearing health, the best practice is to have their hearing screened every year. Just like annual checkups at the dentist, annual hearing screenings are the best and easiest way to ensure your child’s overall health.