About one in five people in Tucson experiences hearing loss, and many of them can blame noise exposure. Many sources of potentially damaging noise are obvious – think rock ‘n roll concerts, sporting events, power equipment and motorcycles. But danger lurks in some surprising places, as well. Maybe even beneath your Christmas tree!
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
An estimated 15 percent of all Americans experience noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Exposure to loud sounds – primarily those that exceed 85 decibels (dB) – permanently damages the sensory cells in the inner ear, causing irreversible hearing loss. High frequencies are the first to be affected, but the loss is progressive and there is no cure. The problem is especially acute in children, who are at risk for developmental delays that can affect their social and academic performance.
Approximately 30 to 50 million people in the U.S. are exposed to dangerous sound levels every day, a number that includes roughly half of all Tucson teenagers and young adults aged 12 to 35. Fortunately, NIHL can be prevented. Wearing hearing protection when participating in activities where harmful noise is present and taking steps to reduce exposure in the first place are the best ways to protect your hearing.
Protect Your Children this Holiday Season
Believe it or not, many of today’s most popular toys can potentially cause long-term hearing damage. You can help preserve your child’s hearing this holiday season by discouraging them from asking Santa for the following unsafe toys:
- Black & Decker Junior Leaf Blower (113.8 dB)
- Marvel Avengers Infinity War Infinity Gauntlet Electronic Fist (108.5 dB)
- My Little Pony Singing Rainbow Dash (108.4 dB)
- Vtech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Minnie Convertible (107 dB)
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi Bladebuilders Electronic Riot Baton (106.3 dB)
- toys Woofer Hound Dog Guitar (106.2 dB)
- Marvel Avengers Infinity War Mission Tech Iron Man (106.1 dB)
- Fisher-Price Sing & Learn Music Player (105.6 dB)
- Fisher-Price Bright Beats Spin & Crawl Tumble Ball (104 dB)
- Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Puppy’s Busy Activity Home (103.7 dB)
- toys Meowsic Keyboard (103.4 dB)
- toys You Turns Steering Wheel (103.3 dB)
- Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Sort Snail Pail (103 dB)
- Marvel Black Panther Slash & Strike Erik Killmonger Figure (101.6 dB)
- Fisher-Price Shimmer & Shine Tummy Rubs Nazboo (100.7 dB)
- VTech Pull and Discover Activity Elephant (100.3 dB)
- VTech Drill & Learn Toolbox (99 dB)
- Spider-Man Homecoming Super Sense Spider-Man (99 dB)
- VTech Sort & Discover Drum (98.8 dB)
- Playskool Friends Sesame Street Tickle Me Elmo (90 dB)
You might not think of Tickle Me Elmo and these other toys as being particularly dangerous, but all measurements were taken as if the child had his/her next to the toy’s speaker. And let’s face it, kids are likely to do just that!
If you’d like to measure the safety of other toys not on this list, there are plenty of free smartphone apps you can download that will measure dB levels. Your Tucson audiologist is happy to recommend safe toys that won’t damage your child’s hearing, as well.