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Audiologist warns dangerously loud toys can lead to hearing loss

Published: Nov. 26, 2021 at 5:54 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - As parents buy their kids presents this holiday season, experts warn certain toys can damage their ears.

Prevea Health audiologist Kimberly Finlan said parents have to think about how their kid would use a toy when buying it.

“There are plenty from really commonly known brands that are released producing unsafe sound levels,” she said. “One concern is when a parent holds a toy, there arms are so much longer that the sound of that toy is not getting to their ear in the same way.”

Finlan said kids hold toys closer to their ears than adults.

She added there isn’t a ton of regulation when it comes to the sound of kids toys.

However, that doesn’t mean parents can’t do anything to mitigate the noise.

“If you’re holding a child’s toy and it seems loud to you, it’s probably going to seem even louder to that child,” Finlan said. “One thing you can to do mitigate this is looking up the volume of that toy ahead of time, removing the batteries so that toy can’t produce any sound at all.”

She also said parents can put tape over a toy’s speakers to reduce its volume.

There are also apps that can measure sound. Finlan said kids can safely use toys under 85 decibels for around eight hours per day.

As for devices, there are ways to protect kids from their volume.

“With most tablets, there are ways to access a setting where you can do some sound limiting,” Finlan said. “With Apple products in particular, we would recommend setting the sound limiting at about 70 percent of the total volume. That would allow the child to listen safely for approximately eight hours.”

Another option is buying toys that don’t make a lot of noise.

Imagination Station Co-Owner Jenifer Quilling sells plenty of those.

“We work really hard to get a selection of toys that are somewhat of an alternative to the light-up, the sound toys,” she said.

For parents who are planning on buying noisy toys, the Sight & Hearing Association’s lists the noisiest toys each year.

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