Studies have shown that, in addition to causing auditory damage, noise also increases children’s stress levels, which can lead to hormonal imbalances in the short term, and cardiovascular, immune system and digestive problems in the long term.
Current legislation in Canada bans toys and electronic games that emit noise levels exceeding 100 dB at a distance of 30 cm. However, the safety standard recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) is 75 dB for a period of
8 hours. As such, listening to noise from a toy that emits sound above 100 dB for 2 to 15 minutes can cause hearing damage. Moreover, children tend to hold noisy toys close to their ears, which is closer than the distance prescribed by law. In 2004, a study led by Option consommateurs revealed that while only 5% of the toys studied did not comply with the law, all of them exceeded safety standards if the child holds the toy up against his or her ear.
In 2004, a coalition was formed to push for changes to the current legislation and educate the public about the dangers of noisy toys. Despite its best efforts, the same laws, which date back to the 1970s, are still in force today.
It is thus up to consumers to protect their children by choosing not to buy excessively noisy toys or by opting for toys with a volume control and decreasing the amount of time spent playing with these toys. Parents can also cover speakers with masking tape to lower the volume of some noisy toys.
For further information, do not hesitate to consult a hearing health professional.