In addition to being caused by infections or genetic factors, hearing loss can be caused by exposure to loud noise. Learn about the dangers and the practical steps you can take to protect your child's hearing.
Loud toys can be dangerous to children's hearing, if held too close to the ear, or used for extended periods of time.
A 1997 Department of Trade and Industry report measured the loudness of different toys, held 25 cm away.
A teething rattle was measured at 109.9 decibels, and a talking soft toy at 97.1 decibels.
Prolonged exposure to sounds over 80 decibels causes damage to hearing, so it's sensible to ensure that your child does not play with loud toys for extended periods of time, and that after any exposure to loud noise, there is a period of quiet time to rest the ears.
As a rule of thumb, don’t let your child play with noisy toys or electronic games for more than one hour a day. Follow any period of exposure to loud noise with ten minutes of rest.
When your child is old enough, explain the consequences of loud noise and encourage them to take responsibility for their own hearing.
Encourage them to use earplugs to protect their ears in noisy periods, such as at band practice or when going to a gig or club.
If your child listens to music through headphones or on a portable MP3 player, encourage them to listen to it on no more than 60% of maximum volume for no more than an hour a day.
For more advice and support on protecting your child's hearing, please get in touch with our Advisory Service.