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Cover your ears: Arizona hearing advocacy group releases ‘noisy toys’ list

In this Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015 photo, children's toys are on display at the Macy's Backstage store in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

LISTEN: 'Noisy toys' can cause permanent hearing damage

PHOENIX —  Millions of people will be hitting their local mall in the coming week, looking for that perfect toy for a holiday gift for their son or daughter.

But that toy may be too loud for children and may cause permanent hearing damage.  That is why the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is encouraging parents to consider whether a toy is going to be too loud for their kids.

Dr. Jennifer Hensley with the commission said more than 1 million Arizonans are hard-of-hearing, including children. The ACDHH found one in five children over the age of 12 have some degree of hearing loss, with noise-induced hearing loss ranked as the number one type.

“It’s a pretty big deal, and we’re becoming more and more aware of that and how environmental things like toys that make noise can impact that (hearing),” Hensley said.

Hensley said children holding toys too close to their ears does not make the problem any better and used a decibel meter to demonstrate the noisiness of certain toys.

“We recommend that the maximum setting be 85 decibels or lower,”she said. “For any prolonged period of time, it could definitely be damaging above that.”

The toys that topped this year’s “noisy toy” list are:

  • Bruin R/C Racer
    • Registered at 103 dB near the ear and 74 dB at an adult’s arm length
  • Disney’s Sofia the First: Time to Shine Sing-Along Boombox
    • Registered at 102 dB near the ear and 76 dB at an adult’s arm length
  • LeapFrog: My Talking LapPup
    • Registered at 100 dB near the ear and 75 dB at an adult’s arm length
  • Blue Sky’s The Peanuts Movie: Happy Dance Snoopy
    • Registered at 96 dB near the ear and 78 dB at an adult’s arm length
  • Barbie Rock n’ Royals Rockstar Guitar
    • Registered at 94 dB near the ear and 75 dB at an adult’s arm length
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens Chewbacca Electronic Mask
    • Registered at 92 dB near the ear and 79 dB at an adult’s arm length

Hensley recommended an alternative toy with a safe sound quality: A volume-reducing headphone set that can be used with children’s electronics.

“It’s sized for children, but it also keeps the volume at a safer level for kids,” she said.

For parents looking to buy their children fun toys or electronics that will not break the bank (or their children’s eardrums), Hensley said they should look for an on/off volume switch or volume control.

If the toy seems loud to you, it will probably be just as loud, or maybe even louder, to your child.

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