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Study reveals noisy Christmas toys can damage hearing

realistic distance a child would hold the toy during normal play, 8 of the 15 toys had average levels ranging from 81dB(A) to 105dB(A). Laser Command, an electronic phaser game, had a level of 88.6dB(A) while Pixar Cars Lightening McQueen had a level just below the threshold at 82.5dB(A).

How a child plays with a toy can strongly influence the risk to his or her hearing. How far the child holds the toy from their ear and how long and how often the child plays with a toy are the critical factors.

Dr. Brad Backus said: "Childrens toys clearly have the potential to do harm to their hearing so its important that people are aware of the dangers and what to do about them. With most of the toys we tested, apart from the guns, there is a potential for harm but theyre safe if used sensibly. With most toys, your child will only damage their hearing if they use them too often and for too long a duration, or if they stick them in their ear."

He continued: "Our advice is pretty simple: dont let your child hold noisy toys too close to their ear and dont let them play with them for more than an hour a day. Most parents probably dont want to listen to these toys for too long anyway!"

Three mechanical toy guns were tested a machine gun, a tommy gun and a cap gun. These were found to have noise levels between 130db(C) and 143 dB(C) at 2.5cm and of between 120 140dB(C) at 25cm from the toy.

Dr. Backus continued: "While many of the toys had noise levels that were loud enough to be of concern, the toy guns we tested were extremely noisy and these are what were most concerned about. They were so loud that my ears were ringing for a while after the testing. If I had children, I wouldnt give any of these gun-toys to them, and I would recommend that people avoid them. They have the very real potential to cause permanent hearing loss."

How loud is too loud"

Noise is measured in dBA, which is a decibel scale modified to
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Contact: David Reid
david.reid@deafnessresearch.org.uk
44-020-767-98953
Deafness Research UK
11-Dec-2006


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