Thursday, December 21, 2006
Medical Reports: Toying with Trouble
It's the most wonderful time of the year for children. They can't wait to get their hands on the hottest toys. But, as Seven's Christine Cruz shows us, they could be toying with trouble when it comes to loud sounds.
WSVN -- All parents want for Christmas is a mute button because kids love toys that make noise. But all those super sounds aren't just annoying. They can be dangerous to your child's hearing.
Dr. Paul Kileny: "Loud toys or any sort of sound that is excessively loud can damage a child's hearing."
And it's not just all the hi-tech toys that are causing high-pitched problems. Even simple toys like harmonicas or whistles can reach a dangerous decibel level.
Kids have smaller ear canals, which actually make for louder sounds. Plus, they have shorter arms, so they hold toys closer to their ears.
Dr. Paul Kileny: "Noise exposure related to hearing loss is related to both level and time or duration of exposure. Impact or sudden increase of sound might cause hearing loss instantaneously."
Experts say anything less than 80 decibels is safe. But, since that information isn't listed on toys, here's an idea of what's safe and what's not.
Normal conversation is 60 decibels. The roar of a motorcycle or buzz of a lawn mower is 90 decibels. Certain children's toys are at approximately 110 decibels. A rock concert can reach up to 120.
The best toy test for parents is to hold it right up to your ear.
Dr. Paul Kileny: "If it sounds loud, then you have to realize it sounds much louder for a younger child. I would put it back on the shelf and look for something else."
Doctors say hearing loss may not show up until the child is 18 years old or even older.Any sort of hearing loss is permanent.