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Noise & Children

Dear Dr. Teresa,

Many's of my daughter's toys and even her books make sounds. She often loves to push the buttons and make her toy farm make "Moo" sounds and such. She enjoys it, but it seems loud to me. Is all this sound ok?

Concerned Mom in Midtown

Dear Concerned Mom,

Many toys that make sound, produce levels that damage hearing. If you are feeling the sounds from the toys are too loud, they likely are. Children often hold the toys closely to their ears which makes the damaging levels even greater.

I suggest removing the batteries when possible or taping over the speaker to lower the volume.

We measure sound in a unit called decibels (dB). Normal conversation is at about 60 dB. Sounds at 80 dB and above are potentially damaging.

Once damage occurs to hearing cells they cannot heal or grow back. Damaged cells don't sent clear signals to the brain, so even if you get a hearing aid, it's an unclear signal that is boosted.That means, you may not understand what you hear well.

If you are raising your conversational voice that means the sound in the environment is too loud.

Noise also negatively impacts heart rate, breathing and sleeping (even after the sound has stopped).

Noise interferes with concentration too. When children play, we want them to concentrate and think of what they are doing. Noise will prevent this.

If you or you child are exposed to noise often, you should have regular check ups with an ASHA certified and state Licensed Audiologist..

Best of luck,

Dr. Teresa

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