Telephone, doll, fire truck, cart: do their sound toys sometimes break your ears? If they are too strong, they can also affect those of your children.
They sure are fun and interactive, your kids love them, but sound toys should be used with caution. Too noisy, they can indeed be harmful for the little ears of children. It is estimated that a sound over 100 decibels (dB) is harmful to hearing after just two minutes. However, Canadian law sets the limit at 100 dB for children's toys. To give you an idea, 100 dB is the equivalent of the noise of a chainsaw, a disco, a subway train, a jackhammer. Tablets, which children love, sometimes exceed 100 dB.
For several years, the OAC (Speech and Audiology in Canada) has been campaigning to change this outdated regulation, which dates back to the 1970s. Professionals are categorical: a limit of 100 dB only protects children against excessive noise, which could cause short-term damage (a shotgun blast, a firecracker),but they are not protected against toys that potentially could cause long-term hearing problems. Indeed, the maximum exposure time to 100 dB noise should not exceed 15 minutes per day, and it would be harmful to a child's hearing system after just two minutes.
Compared to Canadian law, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) instead recommends a limit of 65 dB for toys intended to be handled near the ear. The volume of other toys should not exceed 85 dB.
More alarmist, the World He alth Organization (WHO) estimates that the safe standard should be 75 dB.
The louder, closer and more repeated the sound, the more likely the sound toy will cause hearing damage, which may be permanent. Also, noise-induced hearing loss is cumulative, meaning it gets progressively worse over time.
Fortunately, young children usually don't stay interested in a toy for long and drop it after a few minutes. However, they also have the annoying habit of sticking their ears directly to the speaker, even if the device was not designed for such use. Manufacturers establish the sound level of a game according to the distance at which it should normally be held from the ear.
That being said, several sound toyscan be very fun and challenging for children. You just have to choose them well!
- Ask yourself about the necessity of sound effects: before buying a toy, ask yourself if sound effects are essential. Do they add to the value of the game or, on the contrary, we could do without them without problem? For example, a silent doll is just as fun as a doll that cries and laughs so hard it alerts the whole neighborhood! In addition, your child will then be tempted to personify his doll himself.
- battery-free soft toys and rattles are, of course, much less noisy, but above all, they are much easier to wash.
- We always favor toys whose volume is adjustable.
- Don't forget to warn those around you, especially before the holidays, so that they don't give away toys that are too noisy. Offer them some tips for choosing well, or invite them to choose quiet toys. Share this article with them so they understand the effects of noise!
What if a toy is too loud?
No matter how careful we are, banishing all noisy toys from the house is a losing battle. What to do when a toy turns out to be too strong?
- If it's adjustable, of course, make sure the volume is at minimum.
- You can plug the speaker with tape. The child will still hear the sounds, but they will be much less deafening.
- Make Vary your games: After a period with a noisy toy, offer your child something quiet.
- If the volume is not adjustable, or if a game does not lose value without sound, just remove the batteries.
Ban noisy toys?
Over the past decade, toy manufacturers have been providing consumers with more noisy toys than quiet toys. The universe in which children grow up is sometimes dizzying: television, video games, daycare… It is therefore up to parents to limit the decibels at home. Of course, some sound games are excellent for the development of little ones: we think, among other things, of musical instruments. Once again, the important thing is to manage to punctuate the day with periods of silence, here and there.