Many Toys Have Potentially Damaging Noise Levels
Every year the Sight & Hearing Association (SHA) measures the noise levels of toys from the shelves of local toy stores. Measurements of 24 popular toys found that more than half of those selected produce potentially damaging levels of noise.
Two of the most popular toys for infants, Bright Stars Safari Beats Musical Toy and Spin & Sing Zoo tested at 102 dB (A).
Toys are required to meet noise standards of the American Society of Testing and Material. However, the sound measurements are taken about 20 inches from the toy, which is significantly further than the typical distance children use toys. The acceptable level of 85 dB (A) is a standard that was originally set for adults in industrial and military settings, not for children. Furthermore, 85 dB (A) has been listed as an acceptable noise level, not as a level that may not damage hearing over an extended period.
According to Kath Web of SHA, children often hold these toys up to their ears, creating the potential for hearing damage. She also suggested the presence of noisy toys may acclimate infants and children to the presence of noise, regardless of effects on hearing.
For more information, go to www.sightandhearing.org.