Hazardous noise exposure from noisy toys may increase after purchase and removal from packaging: A call for advocacy

Noel Jabbour, Heather M. Weinreich, James Owusu, Marta Lehn, Bevan Yueh, Samuel C Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Previous studies identified hazardous noise levels from packaged toys. Sound levels may increase when packaging is removed and therefore, complicate the ability to accurately assess noise levels before purchase. The goal of this study was to evaluate how packaging affects the decibel (dB) level of toys by: 1) Assessing dB level of toys with and without packaging. 2) Evaluating the percentage of packaged and unpackaged toys that exceed a safety limit of 85 dB. Methods: Thirty-five toys were selected from the 2009–2011 Sight and Hearing Association (SHA) based on availability for purchase. Toys’ speakers were categorized as Exposed, Partially Exposed, or Covered, based on its packaging. The dB level of each toy was tested at 0 cm and 25 cm from the speaker using a handheld digital sound meter in a standard audiometric booth. T tests and ANOVA were performed to assess mean change in sound level before and after packaging removal. Results: Significant dB increases were noted after packaging was removed (mean change 11.9 dB at 0 cm; and 2.5 dB at 25 cm, p < 0.001). Sixty-four percentage of Covered toys (n = 14) had dB greater than 85 dB when packaged and this increased to 100% when unpackaged. Conclusion: Many manufactured toys have hazardous sound levels. Caregivers and healthcare providers should be aware that toys tested in the store may actually be louder when brought home and removed from their packaging. Limits on and disclosure of dB level of toys should be considered nationally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-87
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Hearing loss
  • Noise
  • Pediatric
  • Toys

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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