Every fall, the Sight and Hearing Association tests a variety of toys on the market to find out how loud they are. It doesn't take as much as you think for a sound to be loud enough to cause damage, and the Sight and Hearing Association has rated Noisy Toys annually for two decades. So, before you start your annual holiday shopping, take a look at what toys made the Noisy Toys 2017 list, and learn to answer the question, "how loud is too loud?"
What are Current Standards?
Presently, the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) states that sound from toys not exceed 85 dB at 50 cm from the toy. This standard comes under some scrutiny, however, because the testing isn't based on how a child plays with the toy in the real world. The SHA states, "Toys should be tested based on how a child would play with it, not how an adult would play with it." Another criticism of the ASTM standards for testing, is the toys are measured by OSHA and military noise level limits for adults. Keep this in mind while shopping this season. Children are not likely to keep their toys 50 cm (nearly 20 inches) away from their ears.
How Loud is Too Loud?
Sound is measured in decibels. The higher the number you see, the louder the sound. 85 dB and higher is the level at which hearing protection is recommended. To give you an example, your hair dryer averages 75 dB. Rock concerts average 110 dB to 140 dB. You probably don't need hearing protection when you dry your hair, but you'll want to have some on hand for the rock concert. What about your children's toys?
Noisy Toys 2017
Topping this year's list is the Beat Bugs® Molded Sing Along Karaoke. The Sight and Hearing Association's independent testing registered 96.7 dB when a decibel meter was placed directly next to the toy, and 89.4 dB when measured from 10 inches away. We're reaching rock concert-level noise! When exposed to those levels regularly, your child is at much greater risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss occurs when you are exposed to loud sound, either through repeated noise exposure, or a sudden, high intensity noise such as an air horn. Damage to the tiny hair cells in the cochlea, the organ in the ear that generates nerve impulses in response to sound waves, is irreversible. In other words, these toys can potentially damage your child's hearing permanently! The link below is the Sound and Hearing Institute's comprehensive list attached.
You can print a copy of Noisy Toys 2017 from here, and take it along with you when you shop. Protect their hearing!
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