Researchers from UC Irvine’s Department of Otolaryngology measured the noise levels of two dozen popular toys in stores and purchased the 10 loudest for precise gauging in a soundproof booth at UC Irvine Medical Center. They found that all exceeded 90 decibels and several reached 100 or more, equivalent to the noise of a chain saw, subway train or power mower.
“Generally, toys are safe if used properly,” said Dr. Hamid Djalilian, associate professor of otolaryngology and director of neurotology and skull base surgery. “We tested the sound levels at the speaker and again at 12 inches, which is about the length of a toddler’s arm.”
But problems can arise if a noisy toy is held too close to the ears, he said: “Children are very sensitive to loud and high-pitched sounds. Unfortunately, hearing loss from noise damage is permanent and not currently curable.”
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