Dr. Hamid Djalilian of the University of California, Irvine, and colleagues measured the noise levels of two dozen popular toys in stores and purchased the 10 loudest. Using a soundproof booth at UC Irvine Medical Center, the reseachers found all exceeded 90 decibels and several reached 100 or more -- equivalent to the noise of a chainsaw, subway train or power mower.
"Generally, toys are safe if used properly," Djalilian said in a statement. "We tested the sound levels at the speaker and again at 12 inches, which is about the length of a toddler's arm."
However, if a noisy toy is held too close to the ears, problems could arise, Djalilian said.
"Children are very sensitive to loud and high-pitched sounds. Unfortunately, hearing loss from noise damage is permanent and not currently curable," Djalilian said. "The louder a sound is, the less time it takes to cause hearing loss."
Unprotected exposure to sounds above 85 decibels for a prolonged period can lead to hearing impairment, the American Academy of Otolaryngology said.
Some of the toys tested showed:
-- Road Rippers Lightning Rods has a decibel level of 108 and 68 12 inches from the speaker.
-- I Am T-Pain microphone/101 dB /64 dB.
-- Tonka Mighty Motorized Fire Truck/100 dB /69 dB.
-- Marvel Super Shield Captain America/ 98 dB/ 69 dB.
-- Whac-A-Mole game/ 95 dB / 69 dB.