Loud toys hazardous for chilren's ear

14th November 2008, Comments 0 comments

A survey by De Voorzorg reveals that EU auditory norms are apparently not adapted to children.

14 November

A survey by the Flemish socialist health insurance mutuality De Voorzorg reveals that EU auditory norms are apparently not adapted to children and can cause permanent damage to their ears. Nonetheless the toys conform to the EU auditory norms in terms of decibels and carry the European label of approval.

In less than a month Saint Nicolas will fill the children's shoes in the Low Countries with toys- some of them that make noise. For young children this could be hazardous- the approved auditory level of 90 decibels can cause hearing damage if the toy is brought too close to the ear.

The Flemish health mutuality De Voorzorg inspected 16 randomly selected toys that make noise. A team of experts armed with the necessary equipment tested the 16 toys available in the toy shops in Belgium.

They all comply with the European auditory norms.

The European Union fixes a maximum noise level (in decibels) that toys may have. For children up to the age of 14 the norm is 90 decibels.

The measurement is based on the source of the noise at a distance of 25 centimetres from the ear.

The survey by De Voorzorg reveals that 80% of the toys tested produced noise that could damage the children's ears if they were brought too close to the ear.

Babies and children run the risk of getting permanent damage through auditory lesions because these toys are too loud for them.

According to Sylvia Pardon of De Voorzorg, the European norm is not sufficient. "The arms of young children and babies are short so the source of the noise is closer to their ears."

"What's more, children's ears are still developing and they are more susceptible to exterior noise. Plus, young children tend to bring the toys right up to their ears to listen," explains Sylvia Pardon.

According to Ms Pardon, the EU norm does not sufficiently take these facts into account. The socialist mutuality suggests lowering the norm to 80 decibels.


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