If you gathered around with friends and family this Thanksgiving, then it has probably served as a reminder of how loud the noise level can get during the holidays. Add toys into the mix, and you have a recipe for noise-induced hearing loss. Noisy toys can cause damage, not because they are played once or twice, but because they are used in a way that exposes a child to unintended noise levels or sustained noise for a longer period of time.
Safe Noise Levels
While noisy toys don’t seem to pose a problem to most parents, what many of us don’t know is that toy safety standards are not adequately protecting our children’s hearing. Yes, toy manufacturers are not allowed to produce toys louder than 85db, but when a child is holding that toy close to their ears, that 85db can be harmful.
If a child is playing in a noisy room, the sound from the toy combined with all of the other noises can bring decibel levels to unsafe numbers. Additionally, most children don’t intrinsically know at what distance a toy a noisy toy can be safely played. They may want to hold it close to their ear simply because it’s fun to do so, noisy room or not. If they continue to play with noisy toys at unsafe distances for prolonged periods, the exposure can damage their young hearing.
What You Can Do
A good portion of children’s toys on the market today make noise. To keep your children safe, you don’t have to cut all the noisy toys out. Instead, there are some key steps you can take to mitigate the risk.
Remove The Batteries
Inventory the noise making toys in your house. Are there toys that make noise unnecessarily? Would removing the batteries make much of a difference in your child’s play? If not, then take the batteries out. That’s one less noisy toy you’ll need to worry about.
Talk To Your Children
Very young children may be tempted to hold noisy toys close to their ears. But if you talk to your young children and the older ones about the dangers of holding them so close, you’ll bring awareness to the situation. Talk to them often about it and encourage the older children to set a good example and guide the younger children.
Purchase Toys With Volume Control
Many toys have loudness settings. If you plan on buying toys that make noise, purchase ones that have these settings. Set the volume on the lowest setting and securely place a piece of strong tape over the control.
Place Toys In Quiet Settings
The last thing you want to do is put noisy toys in the same room in which you watch TV or host get-togethers, or where the family gathers each evening. Instead, put those noisemakers in quiet places such as the children’s bedroom or a playroom separate from the TV room.
Watch Your Children
Lastly, keep an eye on your kids. If you notice them playing with these toys to close to their ears, or the noise level in the room seems to be increasing, take the proper steps to reduce your child’s exposure to noise-induced hearing loss.