The Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing (ACDHH) randomly tested some of the hottest toys on the market today and found 15 of them to be “too loud.” Noisy toys are categorized as any toy that reaches a sound level of 85 dB or higher. 

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 85 dB is the maximum volume a child should be exposed to for no more than eight hours a day. Sounds louder than 100 dB can damage hearing in less than 15 minutes. 

Noise is the number one cause of hearing loss. Nearly 15 percent of school-age children (ages 6-19) have some degree of hearing loss. In addition, loud noises can increase fatigue, decrease a child’s ability to pay attention, and reduce short term memory.

“All parents want to do what is right for their child,” said Michele Michaels, hearing healthcare program manager for ACDHH. “When purchasing toys, we want to educate parents there is a fine line between a safe sound level and a harmful level, and how they can help lessen the impact on hearing.” 

ACDHH investigated some of this season’s most popular toys. Each decibel measure was taken as if the child placed their ear next to the speaker. If your shopping list includes toys for the children in your life, you may want to consider turning down the volume on these toys:

Top 15 Noisy Toys listed in dB order:

1. Basic Fun Galaga Mini Arcade, age 8+, 114.7 dB

2. Disney Frozen II Microphone, age 3+, 114 dB

3. Maxx Action Long Haul Vehicle Transport, age 3+, 111.9 dB

4. Disney Frozen II Sing-Along Boombox, age 3+, 108.8 dB

5. B. Toys Woofer Hound Dog Guitar, age 2+, 106.2 dB 

6. Baby Einstein Discovering Music Activity Table, age 6 months+, 105.3 dB

7. PAW Patrol Ultimate Fire Truck, age 3+, 104.6 dB

8. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Light-Up Learning Vacuum, age 12 months +, 104 dB

9. Disney Lion King Sing-Along Boombox, age 3+, 103.5 dB

10. B. Toys Meowsic Keyboard, age 2+, 103.4 dB

11. Vtech Touch & Teach Elephant, age 12 months+, 102.7 dB

12. Little Tikes Gas ‘n Go Mower, age 18 months +, 102.2 dB

13. Jurassic World Velociraptor Chomp ‘n Roar Mask, age 6+, 101.1 dB

14. Leap Frog Magic Adventures Globe, age 5+, 100.1 dB

15. Vtech Sort & Discover Drum, age 6 months+, 98.8 dB

ACDHH encourages parents to purchase a toy from the “safe” list. This list is not meant to be all-inclusive.

Top 15 Safe Toys listed by age:

1. Leap Frog Butterfly Counting Pal, age Birth+

2. Baby Born Goodnight Lullaby Baby, age Birth+

3. V-Tech Musical Rhymes Book, age 6 months+

4. Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Puppy, age 6 months+

5. Baby Einstein Magic Touch Piano, age 12 months+

6. Leap Frog Chat & Count Emoji Phone, age 18 months+

7. Fisher Price Little People See ‘n Say, age 18 months+

8. Little Tikes Touch ‘N Go Racers Police Car, age 2+

9. DreamWorks She-Ra Princess of Power Sword & Shield Set, age 3+

10. Tonka Mighty Fleet Fire Ladder Truck, age 3+

11. Paw Patrol Snuggle Up Skye, age 3+

12. Disney Junior Singing Minnie, age 3+

13. Barbie Pets Walking Puppy, age 3+

14. Animal Planet Interactive T-Rex, age 5+

15. Hasbro Marvel Spider-man Far from Home Stealth Suit Mask, age 5+

“It is important to consider how the child will use the toy,” said Michaels. “Children aren’t always using these toys at arm’s length as they may be intended. It’s also important to consider the decibel levels of other sounds around the child in addition to the toy, such as the television, kids yelling, or other toys. These factors can quickly add up and cause hearing loss.”

For parents who would like to conduct their own decibel test, there are free smartphone apps available to test the sound levels of any toy parents are considering buying or have already purchased.

Simple test methods to ensure toys won’t hurt young ears before you buy: 

• Use try-me buttons on the toys in stores

• Hold the toy as close to your ear as your child would and ask yourself if the toy is too loud

• Hold the toy eight inches away from your ear (approximately the length of your child’s arm), and if you must shout above the sound effects it is too loud

How to keep the volume down on noisy toys:

• If the toy has volume control, ensure it’s always set to the lowest level

• Put waterproof tape or super glue over speaker to mute

• Put tape over volume control to prevent your child from increasing to unsafe volume level