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Systematic assessment of noise amplitude generated by toys intended for young children.

  • Author(s): Mahboubi, Hossein
  • Oliaei, Sepehr
  • Badran, Karam W
  • Ziai, Kasra
  • Chang, Janice
  • Zardouz, Shawn
  • Shahriari, Shawn
  • Djalilian, Hamid R
  • et al.

OBJECTIVE: To systematically evaluate the noise generated by toys targeted for children and to compare the results over the course of 4 consecutive holiday shopping seasons. STUDY DESIGN: Experimental study. SETTING: Academic medical center. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: During 2008-2011, more than 200 toys marketed for children older than 6 months were screened for loudness. The toys with sound output of more than 80 dBA at speaker level were retested in a soundproof audiometry booth. The generated sound amplitude of each toy was measured at speaker level and at 30 cm away from the speaker. RESULTS: Ninety different toys were analyzed. The mean (SD) noise amplitude was 100 (8) dBA (range, 80-121 dBA) at the speaker level and 80 (11) dBA (range, 60-109 dBA) at 30 cm away from the speaker. Eighty-eight (98%) had more than an 85-dBA noise amplitude at speaker level, whereas 19 (26%) had more than an 85-dBA noise amplitude at a 30-cm distance. Only the mean noise amplitude at 30 cm significantly declined during the studied period (P < .001). There was no significant difference in mean noise amplitude of different toys specified for different age groups. CONCLUSION: Our findings demonstrate the persistence of extremely loud toys marketed for very young children. Acoustic trauma from toys remains a potential risk factor for noise-induced hearing loss in this age group, warranting promotion of public awareness and regulatory considerations for manufacture and marketing of toys.

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