The Truth About Noisy Toys

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Knoxville (WVLT) - Just days from now, many of you will be heading to the stores and the malls to start filling your Christmas giving list.

As you shop, you probably know to look for age appropriate toys, but you may be surprised to find out nearly half the toys on the shelves pose a danger to your child.

As parents, when we shop for a toy, we always ask the obvious questions. Is it age appropriate? Is it safe? But have you ever asked yourself if the toy is too loud?

"About 45 percent of toys tested in an independent study showed that at ear level, many toys were as loud as a chainsaw," says Pediatric Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist Dr. John Little.

It may seem far fetched, but we had Dr. John Little and his audiologists test just a couple of toys from my son's toy box. Using a decibel reader, they tested our toys at what's considered ear level.

And they confirmed my suspicions.

The toys I found the most annoying to listen to, were in fact too loud.

Good old rubber duckie tipped the meter at 120 decibels.

"Many of the toys that are on shelves and toy closets go up to 110-140 decibels," explains Dr. Little.

I was shocked to hear this busy box plays music at 110 decibels.

The American Academy of Pediatrics along with the Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests children should not be exposed to noises over 85 decibels, or they can suffer permanent hearing loss. Dr. Little says parents must ask three questions.

"How close the child is to the toy? How loud is it? How long do they play with the toy?"

And parents need to heavily monitor gadget toys, like the iPod, that are used directly in the ear.

"The iPod set on its highest level you shouldn't listen to for any more than 1 minute."

If your child has a loud toy, limit their playtime to no more than 15 minutes.

"If you're wondering what to do with those noisy toys in your home, we have a solution, it's packing tape."

It will stifle the sound considerably, but won't squash the fun.

Permissible Noise Exposure

8 hours -- 90 decibels
6 hours -- 92 decibels
4 hours -- 95 decibels
3 hours -- 97 decibels
2 hours -- 100 decibels
1.5 hours -- 102 decibels
1 hour -- 105 decibels
30 minutes -- 110 decibels
15 minutes -- 115 decibels
Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.(NIOSH)