Noisy Toys: Another warning for parents!

by Mary Ellen Eagan

A while back, I blogged about iPods, and how you should not let your kids play them too loud.  Not in the car, or on the train.  Not with a friend, or on a plane.  (OK, Dr. Seuss I’m not).  The rule of thumb in our house:  if mom or dad can hear it (and it’s in the kid’s ear), it’s way too loud.  Our other rule of thumb:  the volume knob should not go past the middle of the range (did you know that iPods in the EU have a lower volume limit?).

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Anyway, today’s post is about kids toys.  Basic findings of a study (here and here) conducted at the University of California-Irvine Medical Center’s Department of Otolaryngology show that some of those plastic, musical toys that your toddlers love most can create maximum noise levels as high as 90 – 100 dBA at a distance of 12 inches (i.e., where your kids ears are).  These levels are probably only high enough to cause hearing damage if you listen to them persistently, or if you put them right up to your ear, but it’s just not a good idea.  And for comparison, aircraft noise levels that folks complain about are generally on the order of 70 – 80 dBA, which is many times quieter than these sources!  So if your kid must have Tickle Me Elmo (or you can’t convince your in-laws not to get it for her), please make sure she keeps it away from her ears!

Toy List - Noisy Toys Study 2009

Toy List - Noisy Toys Study 2009

Source:  Sight and Hearing Association, 2009

Thanks for listening.

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