hearing loss at christmas

By Rachel Lapham on 30th November 2015

Don't Gift Hearing Loss To Children This Christmas

It is that time of year again and the madness is definitely in full swing, even in the Lapham houshold there is a simmering obsession for all things merry. It really is a great time, when most people's thoughts turn to exactly what toys to get for the children in their life (even the big children). 

Noisy toys can cause hearing loss

It is a little shocking to think that a product designed for a child to receive joy from could actually damage their hearing health. However, that is the case, toy manufacturers don't currently work under regulations that cover the level of noise emitted by a toy. Although, there are moves afoot in Europe to change that situation. Some toys can emit sounds up to 135 dB, that's high enough to cause instant damage to hearing. Lets look at accepted exposure limits to differing levels of sound at work. 

Louder than 85 is problematic

The level of damage that sound can have on our hearing is directly related to the volume of sound and the amount of time we are exposed to it. The safe level of volume is believed to be 85 (decibels). When sounds are louder than 85 dB we need to limit our exposure to them because they can start to cause damage to to the structures of our ears. To put it in perspective, lets have a look at what that means in relation to common sounds we are all faced with.

Intensities of Common Sounds in Decibels

Sounds Intensities Permissible exposure time
City Traffic, inside the car 85 dB 8 hours
Bulldozer 88 dB 4 hours
Jazz Concert 91 dB 2 hours
Power Mower 94 dB 1 hour
Nightclub 97 dB 30 minutes
Ambulance Siren, inside driver window down 100 dB 15 minutes
Rock Concert, Leaf Blower 115 dB 30 seconds

As you can see from the table, the louder the sound, the less time we should be exposed to it. Toys are tops on the wish lists of most children, however before you or Santa delivers you should assess how noisy the toys in question are. The noise of some toys can actually rival a jet engine on take-off. That type of noise can damage a child's hearing.

To protect your childrens' hearing, you should really listen to a toy before buying it. The noise from toys can cause real harm to the hearing of children. Some common toys, like musical toys, toy phones and toy guns are in fact dangerously noisy.  While to us the noise may seem loud but harmless, we tend to be holding the toys at arm's length. Children tend to hold toys much closer and don't forget they have shorter arms. 

Rule of Thumb

For an easy rule of thumb, hold the toy close to your head and let it off, if the sound is uncomfortable for you, it could well be damaging for a child. If you have any questions about hearing loss, hearing healthcare or hearing aids on the Isle of Man, give us a call on 01624 830722 or book your appointment online now

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