UC Irvine physician tests popular toys to warn parents about hearing damage

November 22, 2014

IN THE NEWS: Popular toys are louder than ever this holiday season but parents can take steps to protect their children’s hearing, Dr. Hamid Djalilian tells The Orange County Register. Djalilian says parents can reduce the sound reaching their children’s ears by placing tape over the toy’s speaker:

Pew pew pew! Pffffffrrrrt. Vroom. Beep beep beep!

If a noisy toy is grating on a parent, it’s a sign the space gun, fart machine or race car might be damaging to young ears, according to Dr. Hamid Djalilian, an otolaryngologist – or ear, nose and throat specialist – at UC Irvine.

“A lot of children, and I witness this with my own kids, will hold the toy to their ear to try figure out where the sound is coming from,” Djalilian said.

Held too close to the ears, loud toys can cause permanent hearing loss later in life.

Each year around the holidays, Djalilian tests the loudest among popular toys – this year, they were selected from Amazon’s top-sellers list – for decibel levels produced at varying distances.

Photo: Members of the testing team at UC Irvine Medical Center use a sound meter to check a popular toys' sound level. /Orange County Register

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