Every year, the Sight and Hearing Association tests a random selection of toys on the market for the holiday season. This year, they tested 24 toys, 19 of which tested louder than 85 decibels (dB). This is the level where the National Institute of Occupation Health and Safety (NIOSH) mandates hearing protection.
This year’s loudest toy is well known character from the Disney movie, Moana. This model of HeiHei, the chicken, reaches levels of 109.7 dB. The screech, which the authors described as “blood curdling” and “terrifying,” reaches a level that could cause hearing damage in a matter of minutes. Testing was also conducted at a distance equal to the average arm length of a toddler and levels still reached over 90 dB.
The Sight and Hearing Association recommends using a free sound level meter app on smartphones. Although not perfect, it will give you an idea of how loud your child’s toys are. Even easier, if you feel like the toy is too loud for you, it is too loud for your child. They also recommend checking return policies with stores. If a loud toy enters your house this holiday season, you may be able to return it, if you can get it away from your child.
For more information, check out the Sight and Hearing Association’s website: http://sightandhearing.org/Services/NoisyToysList%C2%A9.aspx