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ASHA Reminds Consumers to Beware of Noisy Toys This Holiday Season

Rockville, MD-December 8, 2004 As parents and family members begin shopping for toys to share with their children this holiday season, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) reminds consumers that the noise produced by some toys may be harmful to a childs ears. ASHA urges parents and others who purchase toys to listen to them before buying to make sure that the toys are not too loud.

Studies have shown that some toys, such as those with sirens or horns, can emit noises at a level of 90 decibels (dB) or higher, exposing childrens ears to levels of noise equivalent to those produced by a lawnmower. Other toys that may pose a danger to a childs hearing include squeaky rubber toys, cap guns, walkie talkies, musical instruments and toys with cranks. The dangers of noisy toys become even greater when the toys are held directly to the ears, as children often do. This action can expose the ear to as much as 120 dB of sound, equivalent to the noise of a jet airplane taking off. Noise at this level is painful and can result in permanent hearing loss for individuals of any age.

ASHA urges parents and others buying toys to inspect them for noise dangers just as they would for small pieces that can be easily swallowed, and to not buy a toy if it sounds too loud.

If parents suspect that their child has been exposed to high levels of sound for a prolonged period of time, an ASHA-certified audiologist can help identify and assess any damage that may have occurred due to noise. An ASHA-certified audiologist can also provide information about the types of hearing protection available as well as treatment for noise-induced hearing loss. For free information on hearing loss and hearing conservation or a referral to a certified audiologist in their area, consumers may contact ASHAs Helpline at 1-800-638-8255 (TALK).

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 115,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems including swallowing disorders.

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