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



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.


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.


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.


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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