It’s that time of year! For the past few weeks, you have been listening to endless requests and adding a number of toys to your shopping list. Many of these toys probably come full of sound effects, music, and voices to keep your child entertained and engaged.
While you’re probably aware that these noisy toys will be mildly irritating to you—have you ever thought about how they might impact your child’s hearing? Children and teens are experiencing noise-induced hearing loss at an increasing rate and electronic devices and toys are contributing to this problem, as many exceed the safe volume limit for listening. Permanent hearing damage can occur after exposure to noise 85 decibels (dB) or more, which is actually significantly lower than some popular toys.
Each year, the Sight and Hearing Association releases a list of the year’s noisiest toys. Here are some popular gifts that made 2016’s list!
This toy fire truck is one of the loudest toys recorded this year! When held close to the child’s ear, the engine and siren sounds reach up to 103.9 dB, which is about the same level as a jet flying over at 100 feet.
This working microphone with a built-in speaker comes equipped with songs from Disney’s Frozen and can also connect to MP3 players. Be aware that these tunes can reach up to 97 dB, which is almost as loud as the average farm tractor.
The set of glowing musical instruments is intended for newborns and can attach to most cribs, strollers and car seats. However, having the toy that close to your baby’s ears is dangerous! It can reach up to 96.1 dB, which is louder than a lawnmower.
You can see the complete list of 2016’s noisiest toys here.
If you are concerned that your child’s toys or devices are too loud, there are some steps you can take to limit the noise. For example, if the toy has a volume control knob, you can glue it so it will stay at a lower level.
As always, one of the best ways to make sure your children have healthy hearing is to take them for a screening each year. Just like regular checkups at the dentist, annual hearing screenings are the best and easiest way to ensure your child’s overall health.
Schedule an appointment for your child today and make sure they are hearing at their very best!