Noisy toys could harm a child's hearing

Published On: Dec 24 2013 07:52:53 AM CST   Updated On: Oct 16 2013 12:21:14 PM CDT

Parents are used to warnings about choking hazards or lead paint in toys, but they rarely think about hearing loss

The "Dora Tunes Guitar" is one of the toys singled-out by safety experts because of concerns it's too noisy.

According to the 27th annual "Trouble in Toyland" report, issued by the Public Interest Research Group, the guitar has the potential to damage a child's hearing after long exposure.

"Dora's pretty loud," says Wichita hearing specialist Dr. Thomas Kryzer.

FactFinder 12 brought the list's noisiest toys to his office and asked for an opinion.

"Some of these loud toys, I don't know if I would just leave around so that they (children) would just play constantly for hours at a time," says Kryzer.

Using a decibel meter, Kryzer measures the toys' audio levels.  He finds the Dora guitar and the CAT Honk and Rumble Wheel to have readings consistently above 90db.

That's a sign children should play with the toys a maximum of four hours at a time.  Anything more and there's a risk for hearing loss.

If a portable music device is on the holiday wish list, Dr. Kryzer advises you ditch the earbuds in favor of more traditional head phones.  Using earbuds can double the intensity of the music and possibly cause permanent harm.

Hearing loss is irreversible and there's no medicine you can take to recapture lost frequencies.

A general rule of thumb: "If it's loud and annoying to you, it's probably too loud for your children," says Dr. Kryzer.