The Sight & Hearing Association has released its annual Noisy Toy list for 2020. Each year they try to pick toys that are somewhat popular, and this year 14 of the 24 toys that they tested reached above 85 decibels (dB), which is the federal threshold for exposure up to 8 hours. Did you know that with each 3 dB rise in noise the “safe” exposure time is cut in half? (See more here.) As you’ll see on the list, there are a couple of toys that are over 100 dB, and scarily they’re recommended for babies.
Because of COVID-19 it’s expected that more toys will be purchased online this year and so all of the toys on the list are available from big box stores, as well as Amazon. Thankfully, all retailers offer a generous return policy, because some of the toys on the list are definitely worthy of returning due to how loud they are and obviously, if you’re purchasing online you don’t have the opportunity to push buttons and hear the sound of the toy before you decide to purchase it.
Hearing loss is permeant; if you’re thinking of purchasing one of these toys, we urge you to reconsider.
Decibel (dB) level measurements were taken with a hand-held digital sound level meter (Tenma®, Model 72-935) calibrated to manufacturer’s specifications. A-weighted scale, set at a slow response time capturing the maximum sound level. 0 inches is equal to a child’s ear to the toy. 10 inches is equal to a child’s arm length from the toy. Toys were tested at their highest volume setting. To decrease the volume of a noise-producing toy, SHA recommends setting the volume at the lowest setting and then apply clear packing tape over the speaker of the toy.