For the last 15 years the Sight & Hearing Association and has been testing noisy children's toys to make sure they don't pose a risk to hearing. This year's testing revealed that 12 out of 20 toys tested produced sound over 100 decibels (dB).
To be considered safe, sounds should not exceed 85 dB.
Surprisingly, it wasn't until as late as 2009 that industry guidelines were developed to regulate the volume level of toys. However, experts argue the new guidelines are still too lax. As this year's Noisy Toy List demonstrates, there is clearly room for improvement.
Since most children play with there toy's at about an arm's length, or in some cases will put their ears right up to the speaker, researchers at the Sight & Hearing Association measure sound levels at the speaker of the toy and also at a distance of about 10 inches (arm's length for young child). These measurements are considered to be a more accurate reflection of real-world use.
Here's some simple tips to keep your children's hearing safe this holiday season:
· Listen to a toy before you buy it. If it sounds loud to you, it's too loud for your child
· Report a loud toy. Call the Consumer Product Safety Commission at 1-800-638-2772 or the Sight & Hearing Association at 1-800-992-0424 or by email at ReportAToy@sightandhearing.org
· Put masking tape over the speaker on the toy to help reduce the overall volume
· Noise measurement Apps can be downloaded to your smartphone and can be used to estimate if the noise levels are safe.
· Buy toys with volume controls