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Boston Child Injuries: Do Some Toys Cause Hearing Problems?

According to researchers at UC Irvine’s otolaryngology department, certain toys that are currently “in” may emit noises that hit decibel levels comparable to those made by chain saws or subway trains. This could place a child at risk of suffering from hearing loss. If so, his/her family may have grounds for a Boston products liability case.

10 popular toys were measured for loudness while they were held 12 inches away (approximately the length of a toddler’s arm stretched outward) and when placed next to a speaker. Per the study’s findings, popular toys such as the Tonka Mighty Motorized Fire Engine, T-Pain Mic, and Road Rippers hit decibel levels of 100 or greater. The Sesame Street Let’s Rock Elmo, Marvel Super Shield Captain America, Toy Story Buzz Lightyear Cosmic Blaster, VTech Princess Magical Learning Wand, and the Green Lantern Colossal Cannon Blaster hit decibels levels of 90 or over when placed next to the speaker. When kept 12 inches away, decibel levels for the toys hit the 60’s.

Considering that, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, noise higher than 85 decibels can lead to hearing loss (with duration playing a role in impairment) these toys may be cause for concern.

Are the products’ manufacturers warning about the potential for hearing loss? Are they doing enough to minimize the chance of this type of injury? Are they providing proper instructions for how to safely use these toys?

Researchers have recommended that if a toy has to emit sounds from a speaker, then the ones with speakers on the bottom are best. Proper supervision of toys that lack this safety measure, as well as placing tape over the speakers to decrease the sound, are also recommended.

You may have grounds for a Massachusetts products liability lawsuit if a product caused your child to sustain any type of injury. Possible liable parties include the manufacturer, seller, or distributor.

Study: Toys can be too loud, Daily Pilot, December 22, 2011
Noise and hearing protection, American Academy of Otolaryngology
Some children’s toys as loud as a chain saw, UCI study says, Los Angeles Times, December 23, 2011

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Contact our Boston injury lawyers at Altman & Altman, LLP today.