Happy Holidays! The Sight and Hearing Association wasn’t going to let a little pandemic lockdown stop their annual list of “Noisy Toys!” Every year there are new toys that are loud enough to potentially damage your child’s hearing, not mention increase the stress level in the midst of stay-at-home orders. Before we debut this year’s list, let’s review again what “loud” means in decibels.

What Are the Current Standards?

According to the American Society of Testing and Materials (ATSM), the toy’s sound should not exceed 85 dB at 50 cm away. 50 cm is approximately 20 inches. These toys are tested and measured by OSHA military noise standards for adults, and thus has been the focus of criticism. A child playing with a noisy toy in the real world is not likely to keep a toy that far away from their ears during routine play. Since hearing damage can occur at a lower decibel level than you may realize, it’s important to keep the following numbers in mind:

Remember: Hearing protection is recommended at 85 dB (decibels). A rock concert’s decibel levels range from 110 dB to 140 dB.

There are smartphone apps available to measure the decibel level if you want to find out just how loud it is around you. We recommend the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) SLM app.

Drum Roll Please…the Noisy Toys 2020 Winner Is…

The illustrious Noisy Toys 2020 winner: Little Baby Bongo Drums by The Learning Journey International. Designed for children ages 12 months and up, this electronic drum set measures 105.5 dB at zero inches, and 89.7 dB at 10 inches. If your baby needs hearing protection to play with a toy, it’s probably not the ideal choice. The 2020 Noisy Toys runner-up: Fisher-Price® Little People® Travel Together Airplane by Mattel®, for ages 12 months to 5 years, measures 105.1 at zero inches, and 89.2 at 10 inches. 

Download the complete list: (pdf) Sight & Hearing Association’s Noisy Toys List 2020 

What Can You Do?

We always try to give you a little guidance on how to mitigate some of the noise in our world, and children’s toys are no exception. Kathy Webb, Executive Director of the Sight & Hearing Association, provided the following insight:

Several years ago we worked with ENT students at the University of Minnesota to figure-out a way to decrease the volume of the toys we were testing – beyond taking the batteries out, of course (and that’s always an option!). What we found is that Elmer’s glue will muffle the sound enough to make a toy safe, but it’s pretty messy filling speaker holes with glue and it’s a bit distracting for kids to see the glue on their toy. So…we also tried clear packing tape, and it worked well, but some toys are so loud that you have to apply multiple layers of tape to make a difference. In any event, there are ways to make a toy a little quieter for those tiny ears (and our big ears).

Healthy Hearing For Life!

Hearing Resources Audiology, Dr. Serpa and her teams are committed to giving you and your family the tools and information you need to hear bettr and stay connected to your world. Contact us today!