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6 Loudest Children’s Toys That Can Damage Their Hearing

Jan 08, 2016 6 Loudest Children’s Toys That Can Damage Their Hearing

To kids they’re delightful, to adults they’re annoying. But many toys have noise levels that aren’t just annoying, but unsafe. Find out which toys top the list, and what you can do to help prevent hearing damage.

Each year, the Sight and Hearing Association (SHA) releases their “Annual Noisy Toy List” which includes toys that exceed safety guidelines for loudness .

Pay Attention To Noise Levels

Anything over 85 decibels (dB) can cause damage to a child’s hearing, though it may not be noticeable right away. The hearing loss can accumulate over time, leading to noticeable impairment down the road. That is why it is important to pay attention to the noise your child is exposed to now.

Here are the top six offending toys according to the Sight and Hearing Association:

1. Animal Babies Nursery: Jumpin’ Lil Monkeys

Not only is this the loudest toy of the year, peaking at 103.4 dB, it is also a cuddly toy that is meant to be snuggled. That means this toy will spend a lot of time up close to the child’s ears, while emitting a sound as loud as a lawn mower.

2. Disney Frozen: Cool Tunes Sing-Along Boombox

There isn’t a little girl out there who doesn’t want to sing along to her favorite songs from the most popular Disney movie of all time. It includes three songs from the movie Frozen, plus a spot for an mp3 player so kids can sing along to other songs too. This toy is recommended for children as young as 3, but with the sound peaking at over 100 dB, it is better saved for older kids who can monitor the volume.

3. Little Tykes: Lil’ Ocean Explorers: Push ‘n Glow Fish

This toy advertises “fun sounds and lights with the press of a button on the handle,” but the sounds can reach up to 93.8 dB. And to make matters worse, this toy is marketed for children as young as six months old – an age when children often hold toys right up to their little heads, and when their skulls are thinner so the inner ear has less protection from harmful noises.

4. FurReal Friend: Happy To See Me Pets: Piper, My Dancing Penguin Pet

This furry penguin can dance on a tabletop, away from the sensitive ears of little ones. But it is still a soft cuddly toy, and children will inevitably snuggle it close to their ears. And while the kids may enjoy the music and dancing of this cheerful-looking toy, their ears will resent the loud music peaking at 93.7 dB.

5. Disney Pixar Inside Out: Bing Bong Musical

This toy has an option for “On” and another for “SFX” or Sound Effects. In the “On” position, the toy speaks a few lines which are loud, but ultimately not bothersome if not held right up to the child’s ears. However, the “SFX” option includes a song that hits up to 93.6 dB.

6. Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Half-Shell Heroes: Shellraiser with Driver Leo

The nice thing about this toy is that it has many ways to be played with that don’t include noise. It can be pushed around on its wheels, and kids can use their imaginations to make up their own teenage mutant adventures. But when the sound buttons are pushed, the noise peaks at 91.6 dB. Even at a distance, the sound is simply too loud.

Protect Your Child’s Hearing From Noisy Toys

Here are a few things you can do when shopping for toys to make sure you keep your child’s hearing safe:

  • Read product reviews before you buy. Other parents will let you know when a toy is too loud.
  • Test the toy before you buy it. Most interactive toys have a “Try Me” button, and if you find the toy is too loud for you, it is definitely too loud for your little one.
  • Check for a volume control knob. If you can’t control how loud it goes, don’t buy it.
  • Download a sound level meter app to your smartphone and use it to test the actual noise level of a toy before you buy it.
  • If a noisy toy does find it’s way into your house, put a piece of tape (or two pieces, if it’s still too loud) over the speaker to muffle the sound. Your child probably won’t notice, but the noise will be at a safer level.

Be mindful of the toys you buy, and don’t let your child’s loud toys lead to impaired hearing later in life.


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