Noisy Toys Can Damage Your Hearing
Parents may think that noise is a problem they do not
need to worry about until their child reaches the teenage
years. Not so. Some toys are so loud that they can cause
hearing damage in children. Certain toy sirens and
squeaky rubber toys can emit sounds of 90 decibels (dB).
These sounds can be as loud as a lawnmower and dangerous
to a child's hearing. Workers would have to wear ear
protection for similarly noisy sounds on the job.
The danger with noisy toys is greater than the 90 dB
level implies. When held directly to the ear, as children
often do, a noisy toy actually exposes the ear to as much
as 120dB of sound, a damaging dose - the equivalent of a
jet plane taking off. Noise at this level is painful and
can result in permanent hearing loss.
Toys that pose a noise danger include cap guns,
talking dolls, vehicles with horns and sirens,
walkie-talkies, musical instruments, and toys with
cranks. Parents who have normal hearing need to inspect
toys for noise danger just as they would for small pieces
that can be easily swallowed.
If you are concerned about your child's hearing,
be certain to have their hearing tested by an
ASHA-certified audiologist. For a list of audiologists in
your area or ASHA's brochures on noise, hearing and
hearing health, consumers may call 800-638-8255 or go to
ASHA Web site
What if Your Child Fails a Hearing
A hearing screening provides pass/fail information on
your child's ability to hear sounds at a certain
loudness level and at specific pitches. An ASHA-certified
audiologist can conduct a comprehensive audiologic
assessment of your child's hearing and middle ear
function. An audiologist evaluating a child typically
uses certain basic procedures to determine if the child
has a hearing loss and, if so, type and degree of loss.
Based on the results of the assessment, the audiologists
will provide information regarding the impact your
child's type and degree of hearing loss may have on
communication, learning and social skills. There are four
types of hearing loss:
- Conductive - hearing loss resulting from disorders
of the outer and/or middle ear (e.g., resulting from
ear infections, abnormal ear structures).
- Sensorineural - hearing loss resulting from
disorders of the inner ear or the 8
cranial nerve that carries the auditory signals to the
brain (e.g., resulting from meningitis, noise exposure,
problems at birth).
- Mixed - a combination of conductive and
sensorineural hearing loss.
- Central - results from disorders of the central
auditory processing system (e.g., auditory processing
Whether your child has a hearing loss, frequent ear
infections, auditory processing problems (trouble
listening or understanding), or normal hearing
sensitivity, audiologists can help children achieve
communication, academic and social success by improving
their listening skills and listening environment. For
more information or a referral to an ASHA-certified
audiologist, consumers may call 800-638-8255.
are hearing health care professionals who specialize in
preventing, identifying and assessing hearing disorders
as well as providing audiologic treatment including
hearing aids and other assistive listening devices.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
is the national professional, scientific and
credentialing association for more than 127,000
audiologists, speech-language pathologists and speech,
language, and hearing scientists.
ASHA is part of a national campaign called
, a coalition organized by the National Institute on
Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), and
in partnership with the National Institute of
Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), to help prevent
noise-induced hearing loss. For more information go to
Ears! Web site
B-roll on noise and hearing loss and newborn hearing
screening is available for broadcast stories. Members of
the media may contact
for more information or help with stories.