An annual Noisy Toys List is published by the Sight and Hearing Association which lists toys that can cause hearing loss. In addition to toys, items such as nursery sleep sound machines have been found to exceed recommended noise limits for adults in the workplace (>85dBA)! The World Health Organization has indicated that noises over 80dBA can cause possible hearing damage in children and those over 90dBA can cause chronic hearing damage if children are exposed for over 8 hours.
After educating myself on this topic and realizing that current standards are not adequately protecting our children, I purchased a digital sound level meter to check our toys myself. We have typically chosen toys which do not make sounds for our child, but inevitably, there are toys in the house which do produce sounds and some do not have a volume button (or off switch). I was shocked at the high readings these toys received on the sound level meter. After using tape over the speakers, the sound was often significantly reduced. If not, the toys found their way to our garage… Check out the Mini Digital Sound Level Meter on Amazon.com!