Can Loud Toys Impair Childrens Hearing?

UC Irvine researchers from its otolaryngology department are saying that the sounds coming from toys that make the loudest noises have been known to hit decibel levels similar to sounds made by a subway train or a chainsaw. 10 toys that are popular among kids were tested for loudness.
The toys’ sound levels were measured while the objects were placed next to a speaker and from 12 inches away (the typical length from a toddler’s head to his/her hand.) Researchers say that these two distances are representative of the way that young children handle such toys–at arm’s length and held up to their ear. Per the study, some toys, including the Road Rippers, Tonka Mighty Motorized Fire Engine, and T-Pain Mic hit 100 decibels or higher when placed next to a speaker. At a 12-inch distance, the same toys reached decibels in the mid- to upper-60′s, which the American Academy of Otolaryngology reports is the level of noise a car might emit for someone observing the vehicle at a close distance. Noise/Sounds from the following toys when placed near a speaker hit the 90 decibels and higher range:
• Sesame Street Let’s Rock Elmo
• VTech Princes Magical Learning Wand
• Toy Story Buzz Lightyear Cosmic Blaster
• Marvel Super Shield Captain America
Considering that hearing loss can result from noise louder than 85 decibels, and, per study director Dr. Hamid R. Djalilian, young children are likely to place a toy emitting noise next to their ears to confirm the source of the sound, are these toys safe for use? If you believe that your child suffered hearing loss or any other injury as a result of a toy or another product, you should speak with a products liability lawyer immediately to find out whether you have a child injury case on your hands.
Djalilian said that most toys that make noise, if used properly, shouldn’t pose any danger to kids. However, the researchers are recommending that a speaker on any toy should be located on its bottom side. They are also suggesting that buyers test toys that emit noises to make sure they aren’t too loud before purchasing them.
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, toys that make noises so loud that they can potentially cause hearing damage include certain cap guns, toy vehicles with sirens or horns, walkie-talkies, talking dolls, toys with cranks, musical instruments, and squeaky rubber toys. Improper use of noisy toys can also up the risk of hearing loss.
It is important that toymakers warn of the risk of potential hearing loss posed by any toy and include instructions for safe and proper use. Hearing loss not only impairs a child’s ability to hear and experience the world, but also it may impede speech development, language development, learning, communication, social development, and self-esteem. The repercussions of hearing loss during childhood can seriously impact adulthood.
Study: Improper Use of Noisy Toys May Lead to Hearing Loss for Children, Fox News, December 5, 2007
Study: Toys can be too loud, Daily Pilot, December 22, 2011
Effects of Hearing Loss on Development, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
More Blog Posts:
Prevent Child Injuries This Holiday Season By Avoiding Dangerous and Defective Toys, Product Liability Law Blog, November 23, 2011
Swallowing High-Powered Magnets Can Be Deadly for Kids, Warns CPSC, Product Liability Law Blog, November 6, 2011
Little Tikes Recalls Another 1.7 Million Toy Workshop and Tool Sets Over Choking Hazard, Product Liability Law Blog, October 6, 2011

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