November 29, 2019
This year's list includes 19 out of 24 toys that tested louder than 85
dB, the level set by the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety for
mandatory hearing protection.
Saint Paul, MN – Nineteen out of 24 toys tested by Sight & Hearing Association (SHA) for their 22nd Annual Noisy Toys List tested louder than 85 dB, which is the level set by the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) for mandatory hearing protection. The top toy this year will shake your little one's ears at 104.6 dB, which could cause hearing damage within 15 minutes of play time. Intended for children at 9 months, Fisher-Price® Laugh & Learn® Smart Learning Home™ is an interactive playhouse that is loaded with activities and sounds that will entertain your child for hours. While this engaging playhouse seems to do everything, including promoting environmental conservation through a solar power panel, it doesn't teach a child that hearing conservation is important.
Toys are required to meet the acoustic standard set by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM), which states that the sound-pressure level produced by toys shall not exceed 85 dB at 50 cm from the surface of the toy. While ASTM has acknowledged that 25 cm would be considered an average use distance for toys, they found 50 cm was a superior distance for measurement. And while there is no known sound limits that apply specifically for children, ASTM bases compliance on OSHA and U.S. military noise level limits for adults. According to SHA, “ASTM's testing standard is unreasonable. Toys should be tested based on how a child would play with it, not how an adult would play with it. If you watch a child playing with a sound-producing toy you will see them hold it close to their face, next to their ears, which is much closer than a child's arm's length of approximately 10 inches (25 cm), let alone 50 cm for an adult.”, explains Kathy Webb, Executive Director of SHA.
According to the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH), exposure to noise levels above 85 dB for no more than eight hours is the federal threshold for hearing protection. SHA reminds consumers that hearing loss is cumulative and it typically does not occur from one event; it gradually develops over time as we age and it is critically important that we protect children's hearing. If you own a smartphone, consumers can download a sound level meter app that can measure the sound level of a toy. But if you don't own a smartphone, Webb says, "your ears will do just fine, because if a toy sounds too loud to you, it is too loud for a child's young ears.”
If your child receives a noisy toy this holiday season, there are a few things you can do to make it quieter in your house. SHA recommends testing the toy before you buy it. Webb suggests you, “push buttons and rattle toys as you walk through the toy aisle and it is okay to say NO to noisy toys. But if saying no" is not an option, look for toys that have volume controls or on/off switches and you can place clear packing tape over the speaker, it will reduce the sound level enough to make the toy ear-safe.”
Minnesota-based Sight & Hearing Association is celebrating 80 years of identifying and preventing vision and hearing loss, in partnership with other professional and community organizations by providing screenings, education and research.
If you would like to receive a PDF copy of the complete 2019 Noisy Toys List©, contact Kathy Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org.