December is Safe Toy and Awareness Month. Due to the holiday season, December is the biggest gift-giving month worldwide! When making toy purchases, safety is a big issue. Is this toy age-appropriate, are the pieces a choking hazard, and the ever-popular, will they shoot their eye out?! How often is noise level considered in your safety checklist? Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is the only type of preventable hearing loss. If you or your child are around loud noises for a long time, you may develop NIHL.
Normal conversation is often about 60 dB. Regularly being around sounds louder than 85 dB can cause hearing loss. 85 dB is the level set by the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) for mandatory hearing protection.
The Sight & Hearing Association released their 2021 Annual Noisy Toys List. This year, 19 out of the 24 toys that were tested had levels louder than 85 dB.
The top noisy toy this year is the Disney Moana Squeeze and Scream HeiHei. This toy is intended for ages 3+ and produces sounds of up to 109 dB. At that level, hearing damage can occur in just under 2 minutes!
To decrease the volume of a toy, Sight & Hearing Association recommends adjusting the volume at the lowest setting and applying clear packing tape over the speaker of the toy.
If you are concerned about loud toys that your child may already have, there are many sound level meter apps available that you can download and use to measure sounds. A good rule is if something sounds too loud for you, it’s likely too loud for your child.
This list is not an exhaustive list of toys manufactured in 2021, but a random sampling.
If you are concerned your child is not hearing faint sounds or if your child reports ringing or buzzing in their ears, please make an appointment with an Audiologist to have their hearing tested.