These days, toy manufacturers seem to think that the louder their toys are, the better consumers will remember them. But while such toys are considered flashy, entertaining, and full of surprises, a new study is saying that these noisy products could pose a threat to your children's hearing.
Based on research, anything above 90 decibels is considered harmful. Unfortunately, many toys today exceed the safety limit. In the study, researchers from the University of California (UC) Irvine's Department of Otolaryngology gathered 24 popular toys and measured them for their noise levels. They then brought the 10 loudest products among the stack to be measured more accurately at the UC Irvine Medical Center’s soundproof booth. Results revealed that all toys--among them Sesame Street Let's Rock Elmo and Toy Story Buzz Lightyear Cosmic Blaster--were past the 90-decibel limit. Some were even hitting 100!
If your children are playing with toys that emit sounds, it’s important to teach them how to handle their toys properly or at least supervise them while they’re playing. Speakers that are located on the base of a toy can keep most of the noise subdued. So will holding the toy at a distance instead of bringing it close to their ears. If your kids want to listen to the toy themselves, pressing the speakers against their ear is out of the question. According to Dr. Hamid Djalilian, associate professor of otolaryngology and director of neurotology and skull base surgery at UC Irvine, "Children are very sensitive to loud and high-pitched sounds. Unfortunately, hearing loss from noise damage is permanent and not currently curable."
The statement by Dr. Djalilian is sobering—a reminder that even something as simple as your choice of toys can affect your children’s future. This makes it important to be hypervigilant about picking the right toys--ones that not only do not contain harsh chemicals, but also aren't loud enough to affect your children's hearing.
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(Photo by sean dreilinger via Flickr Creative Commons)