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Noisy toys hard on hearing

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It's that time of year: many of you are headed out this holiday weekend to buy to toys and begin the Christmas shopping season. But when you play Santa, parents also need to pick wisely.

Many toys can hurt your children's hearing. Here's what you need to know:

When it comes to some of the most popular toys, even Dora the Explorer strikes a sour note with hearing experts.

"You wanna hold your dolly and its right in your ear," said Michele Michaels with Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing. "It's loud even for me with my hearing aids on."

Micheals said repeated exposure to noisy toys like these can cause permanent hearing damage in your children.

It's a more common problem than you might think: in first grade, less than 1 percent of all kids have hearing loss, but by the time they are teenagers, 20 percent have hearing loss.

Despite that toy sound levels aren't regulated, so Michaels says it's up to parents like Jennifer Hendrickson to do it themselves.

"We're always out there to protect our children some way some how, so as a parent and as a consumer, I think it's its really important to take those things into consideration," Hendrickson said.

Healthy decibel levels are 85 or below, but if you don't have a decibel meter you're not out of luck. there are plenty of free apps you can down load on you smart phone to measure toys' sound.

If its above 85 put the toy back and get another toy. Get something safe like a board game of a Barbie.

But if you already own a "noisy" toy, put heavy thick tape over the speaker.

Use the volume control on toys and mp3 players.

Limit the number of hours using the toy or music player. 

Also as a resource, the following are apps that parents can download to test the decibel readings.

Decibel 10th by SkyPaw Co. - https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/decibel-10th/id448155923?mt=8

DecibelMeter by Dominic Watson Utilities- https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/decibel-meter-pro-measure/id645214476?mt=8

dB-Meter by LK software group- https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/db-meter/id635306406?mt=8

dB Volume by DSP Mobile Music- https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/db-volume/id457245262?mt=8

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