Blog


Hearing Aids Reduce Health Risks in Seniors

Hearing loss is common as we age. Many older adults in Plano experience the negative effects of impaired hearing, including difficulty following conversations and trouble filtering out background noise. If left untreated, hearing loss can lead to social isolation and declines in mental and physical health. Fortunately, research shows that hearing aids can help reduce those risks and improve overall quality of life.

Age-Related Hearing Loss

senior couple sitting on a bench

Known as presbycusis, age-related hearing loss is a widespread condition affecting many people in Texas. It can occur due to the cumulative effects of a lifetime of noise exposure and is associated with factors such as genetics, medications, trauma and disease. One-third of people over the age of 65 develop hearing loss in Plano. By age 75, that figure is around 50 percent.

Do hearing aids help with symptoms of age-related hearing loss?

A study published in the September 4 edition of Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that people 66 and older who were treated with hearing aids upon being diagnosed with hearing loss had a lower risk of dementia, depression, anxiety and fall-related injuries over the following three years, compared to patients who did not start wearing hearing aids right away.

What benefits do hearing aids provide?

Specifically, the patients who wore hearing aids experienced the following benefits.

  • The risk of being diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s was 18 percent lower
  • The risk of a depression or anxiety diagnosis was 11 percent lower
  • The risk of receiving treatment for a fall-related injury was 13 percent lower

Does every eligible person choose to wear a hearing aid?

Elham Mahmoudi, a University of Michigan Department of Family Medicine health economist and study leader, summed up the results thusly: “Hearing loss is a potentially modifiable risk factor. A simpler system of hearing care, insurance coverage and more educational outreach on potential benefits of using hearing aids is needed.” Those benefits include a higher quality of life and lower healthcare costs because there are fewer chronic conditions or falls that require treatment.

The downside? Just 12 percent of seniors diagnosed with hearing loss decide to wear hearing aids, even when their health insurance helps cover at least part of the costs.

Barriers to Wearing Hearing Aids

Hearing loss usually develops gradually; this helps explain why it takes the average person seven years from the onset of their condition to seek treatment. There are other barriers to wearing hearing aids, as well. Cost is a factor, though it tends to be a minor one. There is a stigma to wearing hearing aids, with many people afraid the devices will make them appear older. There are also concerns about comfort and convenience.

Do men or women wear hearing aids more often?

Dr. Mahmoudi’s study showed that men are more likely to wear hearing aids; 13.3 percent of males and 11.3 percent of females in the study chose to wear them. Racial/ethnic makeup and geography also played a role. Latinos were the least likely to wear hearing aids while whites were more apt to choose them, and people living in the North Central region had much higher rates of hearing aid use compared to those living in the Desert Southwest.

As compelling as the study is, it leaves some unanswered questions. Despite the large sample size and lengthy follow-up period, it’s unknown how the degree of the patients’ hearing loss factored in or how often they used their hearing aids. Also unknown: whether hearing aids were responsible for the delay in health risks or merely associated with them. The National Institute on Aging is funding a new multi-year randomized study to help determine answers to those questions.

Contact us to learn more about treating hearing loss

There is no doubt that hearing aids provide benefit to a majority of individuals in Plano who have hearing loss. If you or a loved one are experiencing a decline in hearing, schedule a visit with an audiologist to learn about treatment options. Doing so will help offset your long-term health risks.


Related Hearing Loss Posts:

Hearing Aids Are Getting Smarter


Advances in technology, fueled by AI and other digital breakthroughs, have led to a wide range of smart devices.

Consumers in Plano can buy smart lightbulbs, thermostats, security cameras and more. Fans of “The Terminator” might view these modern devices with trepidation, but we’re all in favor of things that make life easier and more convenient. Hearing aids are already benefiting from new technology.

How Technology is Improving Hearing Aids

smart woman wearing glasses

Few would argue that hearing aids improve the lives of patients with hearing loss in Plano and across the U.S. They enable people to hear more easily and communicate more effectively, allowing them to participate in social activities and enjoy their favorite pastimes.

In addition, hearing aid help prevent some of the health complications associated with untreated hearing loss—a list that includes depression, anxiety, cognitive impairment and physical conditions like diabetes and kidney disease.

Hearing aids have changed drastically over the years as analog gave way to digital technology—and every year, they improve even more.

Recent hearing aid innovations

The biggest innovations in hearing aid technology in recent years include:

  • Audio streaming. Wireless technology has made it possible to connect Bluetooth®-enabled devices like smartphones and TVs directly to your hearing aids, allowing you to stream audio to one or both hearing aids. Sound is controlled through a phone app, enabling you to operate your hearing aids easily and conveniently. Multiple devices can be connected, ensuring you won’t miss a phone call while listening to music or watching television.
  • Smart home connectivity. Hearing aids are joining the list of smart home devices thanks to a software platform called IFTTT, which takes advantage of a wireless connection to sync internet-enabled devices, automating many everyday functions. Smart hearing aids allow sounds such as spoken notifications or chimes to be delivered directly to the wearer—but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Hearing aids can be synced with devices such as bedroom lights and coffeemakers, enabling the user to turn these devices on or off whenever their hearing aids are powered up.
  • AI health monitoring. Artificial intelligence is seeping its way into many aspects of our daily lives, and hearing aids are no exception. Some manufacturers are integrating sensors and AI into their products, enabling them to monitor the user’s physical and mental health. Apps can track different aspects of your health such as daily steps, social engagement, and active listening to deliver an overall wellness score. These sensors may also be able to detect when you have fallen, and automatically alert emergency contacts that have been programmed. Additional measurements, such as heart rate monitoring, will be available in the near future.

Contact a Plano audiologist to learn more about how hearing aids can help improve your quality of life.


Related Hearing Loss Posts:


Our Plano Audiologist Office Location

Plano
4012 W Park Blvd
Plano, TX 75093
(972) 612-0943

Can Hearing Aids Save Your Marriage?


The physical, mental and psychological effects of hearing loss in Plano are well-documented. Rarely discussed is the toll a hearing impairment can take on your marriage. Many a Texas couple has fought over accusations that their partner doesn’t listen to them, but in reality, it’s possible they simply can’t hear them!

Is it Hearing Loss or a Deeper Rift?

wedding photo

Hearing loss is a widespread condition not only in Plano, but across the country, affecting an estimated 48 million Americans. It’s the third most common chronic physical health condition, trailing only arthritis and heart disease. The belief that hearing impairment is confined to the elderly is a misconception; it can strike people of all ages and is often the result of exposure to noise. Even if your spouse is a decade or two away from qualifying for an AARP membership, it’s very possible that they are having trouble hearing you – and they might not even realize it! Because hearing loss develops gradually and the brain automatically compensates, the condition often goes unrecognized for years.

To determine whether your better half isn’t really your “better” half or if they may be suffering from impaired hearing, the following signs indicate you shouldn’t be quite so eager to banish them to the proverbial doghouse just yet:

  • They frequently asking you to repeat yourself
  • They complain that other people mumble when they speak
  • They find holding a conversation when background noise is present to be difficult
  • They watch TV or listen to music with the volume turned up uncomfortably high

If you suspect your partner is suffering from hearing loss, quit looking for a divorce lawyer and make an appointment with an audiologist in Plano instead. The sooner their condition is diagnosed, the more likely you two are to be celebrating that silver wedding anniversary together!

The key to your long-term marriage success just might be hearing aids. These devices are a boon to couples everywhere who feel ignored – and, of course, they help improve the quality of life for the vast majority of patients with hearing loss! Studies indicate the biggest benefit appears to be in the users’ social lives – this includes relationships! No marriage is perfect, but when hearing loss is contributing to your relationship woes, hearing aids might just be the solution to keep you together for the long haul.

For more information on hearing loss in Plano, or to discuss options for hearing aids, schedule an appointment with your local audiologist as soon as possible.


Related Hearing Loss Posts:


Our Plano Audiologist Office Location

Plano
4012 W Park Blvd
Plano, TX 75093
(972) 612-0943

Coping with Hearing Loss & Tinnitus

Hearing loss and tinnitus both affect roughly one in five people in Plano.

These individuals face challenges when it comes to following conversations.

For the unlucky ones who suffer from both, coping on a daily basis is even more difficult.

When Tinnitus & Hearing Loss Cause Problems

yoga on a rock by the ocean

Hearing loss and tinnitus often go hand in hand; there is a lot of overlap between the two, and tinnitus sufferers – already burdened by poor sleep, stress and anxiety, and problems with concentration and memory – have it doubly bad when they must also deal with hearing loss.

That ringing in the ears can become even more troublesome and difficult to control, given that most of the traditional strategies recommended for coping with tinnitus involve sound – problematic when contending with a hearing impairment.

Compounding matters is the fact that tinnitus has no cure.

That doesn’t mean you have to grimace and bear it, however; your Plano audiologist has some strategies that can help you cope when you are dealing with both tinnitus and hearing loss.

Make sure to do the following:

  • See an audiologist. Before doing anything else, see an audiologist. A hearing specialist will determine the type and severity of your hearing loss by administering a hearing exam that will allow them to pinpoint the specific frequencies affected and recommend a hearing aid that specifically targets those areas. They may even be able to treat your tinnitus if the cause is something simple, such as excess earwax or the side effect of a drug you have been prescribed. If not, they can still recommend strategies based on the severity of your tinnitus.
  • Wear hearing aids. The majority of people with hearing loss in Plano benefit from wearing hearing aids. These are designed to boost the volume of sounds in your listening environment, providing you with the ability to hear more effectively. Hearing aids don’t only help restore the frequencies affected by your hearing impairment – they can also be used to help you treat tinnitus. Turning up the volume on your aids and boosting background sounds can help mask the ringing in your ears, making your tinnitus less noticeable. Many hearing aids even come with features designed for people with tinnitus, such as white noise, music or nature sounds – all of which serve to lower the perceived volume of your tinnitus, helping your brain habituate to it so it becomes less noticeable.
  • Learn to relax…literally. Stress can cause tinnitus to flare up, making symptoms worse. Learning to relax will help calm you down and quiet the ringing in your ears. Try home remedies such as a hot bath before bedtime, giving yourself a trigger point massage using a tennis ball or foam roller and trying progressive muscle relaxation, a technique that involves tensing and then relaxing different groups of muscles for 10-20 seconds at a time, beginning with your toes and working your way up to your head. Another helpful trick is the 4-7-8 breathing exercise:
    • Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue behind your upper front teeth.
    • Exhale through your mouth, making a whooshing sound.
    • Close your mouth and inhale through your nose while counting to four.
    • Hold your breath and count to seven.
    • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whooshing sound and counting to eight.
    • Repeat the cycle three more times.
  • Get rid of tinnitus triggers. For many people, tinnitus waxes and wanes, much like the moon and tides. It will come on strong, level off and then increase in intensity and volume – and never when you expect it to. Try keeping a journal charting things like diet, exercise, lifestyle and environment to help pinpoint potential tinnitus triggers. If you are able to identify those, take the steps necessary to reduce their influence on your life.

Your Plano audiologist can provide you with more tips for coping with tinnitus and hearing loss. Schedule an appointment today if you’d like additional information.


Related Hearing Loss Posts:


Our Plano Audiologist Office Location

Plano
4012 W Park Blvd
Plano, TX 75093
(972) 612-0943

Three Life Hacks for Tinnitus Patients

Tinnitus is common in Plano. About one in five Texas residents experiences a ringing or other sensation in one or both ears. For some it’s barely noticeable, but others perceive it as a full-time distraction that impacts their quality of life. For these people, living with tinnitus can be challenging – but we have a few tips that can help ease your suffering.

Side Effects of Tinnitus

large bell

Whether tinnitus is an occasional nuisance or a constant bother, you are sure to experience at least a few side effects. People with tinnitus in Plano often deal with anxiety, stress and irritability, all of which can make symptoms worse. It’s a vicious circle that many find tough to break. The worse your tinnitus, the more of an impact it has on your life. Many find tinnitus interferes with sleep, causing daytime fatigue, memory problems and difficulty concentrating. Jobs and relationships can suffer.

There is no cure for tinnitus, but we have compiled some “life hacks” that should make living with a ringing in your ears more bearable.

  1. High-fidelity earplugs. Tinnitus may be mild at first but can progress over time. This makes preserving your remaining hearing a top priority. Be cognizant of the damage noise causes and protect your hearing by wearing earplugs whenever you participate in activities where harmful noise levels are likely to occur. Earplugs sold in drugstores do offer protection, but they cause sounds to appear distorted or muffled. High-fidelity earplugs solve this problem by utilizing filters that reduce decibel levels evenly across the hearing spectrum. This allows you to participate in conversations more easily and enjoy music. One-size-fits-all high-fidelity earplugs can be purchased online or in select retail stores, but you’ll receive better protection, not to mention a more comfortable fit, with custom earplugs crafted from molds of your ear canals. Your Plano audiologist can do this for you. Custom earplugs will cost a bit more, but can you really put a price tag on preserving your hearing?
  2. White noise. Many people with tinnitus in Plano utilize white noise therapy as a way to mask, or cover up, the ringing in their ears. White noise is a random assortment of sounds with flat spectral density throughout the audible frequency range; because there are so many different frequencies being employed, white noise is great at masking other sounds – including tinnitus. You can find white noise machines that offer falling rain, ocean waves and other ambient sounds at many specialty retailers or download an app for your smartphone – a wide variety are available for both iPhone and Android users. Or simply switch on an air-conditioner or fan to achieve the same effect. For the best results, set your white noise volume a little lower than the ringing in your ears; partial masking can help your brain habituate more easily and make your tinnitus less noticeable.
  3. Assemble a tinnitus kit. Tinnitus tends to be unpredictable, worse at certain times and less noticeable during others. In order to be prepared for any possibility when heading out, put together a “tinnitus kit” containing supplies that will help you cope with tinnitus when your symptoms come on strong. Include items such as medications, earplugs, earbuds or headphones and hearing aids. Include a list of emergency contacts and be sure to add your Plano audiologist’s information.

For more strategies on managing tinnitus symptoms, contact your Plano hearing specialist.


Related Hearing Loss Posts:


Our Plano Audiologist Office Location

Plano
4012 W Park Blvd
Plano, TX 75093
(972) 612-0943

Navigating Plano Roads Safely with Hearing Loss


The Beatles once sang, “Baby, you can drive my car.”

But if you’ve got hearing loss in Plano, don’t even think about sliding behind the wheel without your hearing aids.

There are other steps you can take to ensure a safe trip from Point A to Point B, as well.

Hearing is Essential to Safe Driving

person driving a car with hearing loss

Having good vision is imperative for Plano drivers, but hearing is equally important.

Your safety depends upon it!

You’ll need to be alert to warning sounds such as emergency vehicle sirens and honking horns.

The following tips will help ensure a safe driving experience for those with a hearing impairment.

  • Visit your Plano audiologist. Ignoring signs of hearing loss won’t make your impairment disappear. If you are experiencing symptoms, make an appointment with an audiologist in Plano as soon as possible. Untreated hearing loss significantly impacts your quality of life and increases your risk of developing a number of physical, social and psychological problems.
  • Avoid distracted driving. Distracted driving was responsible for 3,500 traffic fatalities in 2016 and 390,000 injuries in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The most common driving distractions include:
    • Music. Loud music interferes with your concentration and can prevent you from hearing warning sounds. Keep the volume turned down when listening to music and other forms of entertainment – podcasts and audio books can be every bit as distracting.
    • Passengers. It’s nice to have company when you’re driving, but chatty passengers can distract you from driving. Let them know that, as much as you enjoy chitchat about the weather and the latest pennant race, your hearing impairment demands you pay close attention to the road.
    • Open windows. Cranking open the windows on a warm day can let in a nice, refreshing breeze, but wind and road noise may interfere with your ability to stay alert. Turn on the air-conditioner instead of rolling down windows, opening the moonroof, etc.
    • Cellphones. When it comes to driving distractions, cellphones are public enemy #1. More traffic accidents can be attributed to inappropriate cellphone use than anything else. Keep your phone in your pocket; there is no call that can’t wait until you reach your destination (with the exception of an emergency). Texting is even more dangerous.
  • Rely on visual cues. Good vision can help compensate for hearing loss. Schedule regular eye exams and, if you require corrective lenses, always wear them when driving. Additional tips to help with visual acuity include:
    • Full-view rearview mirrors. Full-view rearview mirrors allow you to see more and are especially handy when backing up and navigating parking lots and other places with a lot of pedestrians.
    • Backup cameras. Many of today’s cars and trucks come with dashboard-mounted backup cameras; these help alert you to vehicles, pedestrians and other hazards you might have trouble spotting on your own.

For more tips on driving safely with hearing loss, contact your Plano hearing specialist.

Side Effects of Mumps Include Hearing Loss


Most people with hearing loss in Plano can attribute their condition to a common cause such as aging or noise exposure. There are other factors that can lead to impaired hearing, though – including mumps.

Vaccinations are Important

Person in the hospital with an IV

Mumps has made a resurgence in the U.S. over the past few years, thanks in large part to the “anti-vaxxer” movement that has led to a small but growing number of parents refusing to have their children immunized.

The number of cases has risen from around 1,000 in 2015 to over 6,000 the past few years. Considering this once-common childhood disease was considered all but eradicated decades ago, this is an alarming trend that can have serious health consequences.

Mumps is a viral infection belonging to the same family as measles. It is highly contagious, with the most frequent method of transmission being infected saliva usually spread by coughing and sneezing.

Mumps Exposure and Symptoms

Once you have been exposed, symptoms appear about two weeks later and include swollen salivary glands on one or both sides of the face, pain when chewing or swallowing, fever, headache and muscle aches, weakness, fatigue and loss of appetite.

Complications such as inflammation of the testicles, ovaries, breasts, pancreas and brain can occur; other rare but serious side effects include fluid buildup around the brain and spinal cord and hearing loss.

How Mumps Causes Hearing Loss

The link between mumps and hearing loss isn’t entirely understood, but it is believed that the virus can attack the cochlea, auditory nerve, brainstem and stria vascularis, affecting blood supply to the inner ear and damaging the nerve cells responsible for hearing.

Those with hearing loss resulting from mumps – such as Hollywood actress Holly Hunter, who contracted the disease as a child – are usually affected in only one ear (in Holly’s case, her left). Inner ear damage is permanent, so once the hair cells are destroyed, they do not grow back and can’t be repaired. Fortunately, only 1-4 percent of people infected with mumps in Plano will go on to develop hearing loss as a result.

But why take that chance, when a vaccine is readily available and highly effective?  The MMR vaccine protects against mumps, measles and rubella, all three of which can cause hearing loss. It has been available since 1971 and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person receiving two doses will reduce their risk of contracting the disease by 88 percent. Your child should receive their first immunization between the ages of 12 and 15 months, with a second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. A booster shot in the teen years is also recommended.

For more information on preventing hearing loss from mumps, make a call to your Plano audiologist today.

Respect Your Ears for Added Years


One out of every five adults will be diagnosed with hearing loss in Plano at some point in their lives. This will inevitably change their lives as they adjust to communication challenges and other daily obstacles. Fortunately, the majority of these individuals – 90 percent – will benefit from using hearing aids. Not only will hearing aids reduce the burden of hearing aids – they can also lead to a longer life, according to new research.

5 Reasons to Wear Hearing Aids

A metal number 5 placed on top of a table

Hearing aids are considered the gold standard in hearing loss treatment for one very simple reason: they work!

Studies from around the world have shown many benefits to wearing them including improved communication ability, increased participation in social activities, better personal and professional relationships and a reduced risk for many physical, psychological and social conditions.

Hands down, they are the best tool for improving your quality of life if you have hearing loss in Plano.

Best of all? Hearing aids can help add years to your life. Here’s how:

  • Hearing aids improve your balance. When you have hearing loss, your brain must work harder to process sound. Doing so is costly: it must divert resources that would otherwise be used in other areas, such as the balance system. Good hearing is important in preventing falls, one of the leading causes of injury and death in the elderly. Studies show your risk of falling is three times higher if you have mild hearing loss; the more severe your impairment, the bigger your risk. Hearing aids allow your brain to focus more on balance, making it less likely you’ll experience a fall.
  • Hearing aids keep you safer in emergencies. Most people with hearing loss experience a decline in their ability to hear higher-frequency sounds, such as those emitted by emergency vehicles and smoke detectors. Being unable to hear these warning signals and others, such as car horns, increases your risk of injury or death in an emergency situation. Hearing aids are programmed to target the frequencies you have trouble with, so wearing them keeps you safer.
  • Hearing aids lower your risk of depression. People with hearing loss experience depression rates that are 8 percent higher than those found in individuals with normal hearing, according to research by the National Council on Aging. Not only is hearing loss emotionally devastating; it impacts your everyday way of life and can cause a reduction in social engagement. Hearing aids help counter these negative effects.
  • Hearing aids improve social interaction. Individuals with hearing loss are less socially active, due in large part to the anxiety and fatigue their impairment causes. Withdrawal and isolation are common, factors that are associated with higher mortality rates. When you wear hearing aids, your brain doesn’t have to work as hard, making social activities much more enjoyable – and lowering your risk of premature death.
  • Hearing aids reduce cognitive decline. There is a positive correlation between hearing loss and cognitive decline. We’ve already mentioned how your brain must work harder to process sound; this leaves fewer resources available for important functions such as memory and cognition – reasons why dementia rates are higher in people with untreated hearing loss. Wearing hearing aids allows your brain to focus on these key areas, reducing the likelihood you will experience cognitive decline and lowering your risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease – both of which can lead to an earlier death.

If you have hearing loss but aren’t wearing hearing aids, we encourage you to talk to your Plano audiologist to learn more about how these devices can help improve – and lengthen! – your life.

The Tinnitus Cycle


Statistics show that about one out of every five adults in Plano experience tinnitus. Commonly referred to as a ringing in the ears, tinnitus affects everybody differently. It may be an occasional nuisance or a full-time disruption to your daily life. Regardless of its impact on your daily life, tinnitus follows a well-established cycle – one which you’ll want to break in order to enjoy a higher quality of life.

What Causes Tinnitus?

cathedral bells

While tinnitus typically begins with hearing loss, it is not exclusively an auditory problem. It is a result of neurological changes within the auditory system and the parts of the brain that influence conscious attention and emotional state.

No single explanation applies to all cases, but the process outlined below describes one of the more commonly accepted theories about what causes tinnitus.

Your Balance

When your natural balance is upset by hearing loss, the neurological activity is altered; this altered activity is then interpreted by the brain as sound. This results in whistling or ringing sounds commonly known as tinnitus.

Tinnitus Causes

Tinnitus most often results from hearing loss caused by exposure to excessive or loud noises. Other common causes include aging, ototoxic drugs, Temporo-mandibular joint disorder (TMJ), depression, anxiety, Lyme disease or thyroid disorders, as well as ear infections or wax in the ear.

Breaking the Cycle of Tinnitus

  • Normally, background neurological activity in the brain is covered up by everyday sounds.
  • Neurological changes may cause the perceived sound to be more noticeable and disturbing.
  • For some people, the presence of tinnitus is so troubling, the brain treats it as important and focuses on it, increasing awareness.
  • This increased awareness can lead to stress and anxiety, resulting in further enhancement by the emotional centers of the brain and further amplification of the tinnitus.
  • Additionally, the brain may try to compensate for the hearing loss by “turning up” the sensitivity of the hearing system. This not only amplifies the tinnitus but can also make ordinary sounds uncomfortably loud for some people, further adding to stress and anxiety.

The result is a cycle of symptoms that can be self-reinforcing, leading to progressive worsening of the tinnitus over time. These factors have made tinnitus very difficult to treat in the past. While there is no cure for tinnitus, there are ways to manage symptoms and help break the cycle. Popular solutions include masking techniques such as white noise therapy; counseling; lifestyle modifications and prescription drugs.

One of the best solutions might be right at your fingertips. If you have hearing loss and wear hearing aids, turning up the volume to boost background noises will help distract your brain from tinnitus.

If you are suffering from tinnitus in Plano and looking to break the cycle, a consultation with an audiologist can help you find relief.

When Noise from Toys Harms Girls and Boys

Children in Plano will wake up on Christmas morning eager to tear into their gifts. Parents in Plano will wake up on Christmas morning reaching for the earplugs, because – let’s face it – many of those toys beneath the tree can be loud and annoying. Some of them, it turns out, pose a real danger to kids, with the possibility of causing permanent hearing damage.

Toys with Dangerous Decibel Levels

pile of wrapped presents

In the holiday classic “A Christmas Story,” Ralphie famously asks for a Red Ryder BB gun but his mother objects because she’s afraid he might shoot an eye out. BB guns aren’t the only toys with the potential to cause harm to children in Plano. Many of the toys being offered by manufacturers this holiday season are dangerously loud. The threshold for safe noise exposure is 85 decibels; anything louder can cause irreversible damage to the tiny hair cells in the cochlea responsible for hearing.

The following toys all represent hazards. Decibel levels are listed, as well; all measurements were taken as if the child had their ear next to the toy’s speaker.

  • Black & Decker Junior Leaf Blower (113.8 dB)
  • Marvel Avengers Infinity War Infinity Gauntlet Electronic Fist (108.5 dB)
  • My Little Pony Singing Rainbow Dash (108.4 dB)
  • Vtech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Minnie Convertible (107 dB)
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi Bladebuilders Electronic Riot Baton (106.3 dB)
  • toys Woofer Hound Dog Guitar (106.2 dB)
  • Marvel Avengers Infinity War Mission Tech Iron Man (106.1 dB)
  • Fisher-Price Sing & Learn Music Player (105.6 dB)
  • Fisher-Price Bright Beats Spin & Crawl Tumble Ball (104 dB)
  • Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Puppy’s Busy Activity Home (103.7 dB)
  • toys Meowsic Keyboard (103.4 dB)
  • toys You Turns Steering Wheel (103.3 dB)
  • Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Sort Snail Pail (103 dB)
  • Marvel Black Panther Slash & Strike Erik Killmonger Figure (101.6 dB)
  • Fisher-Price Shimmer & Shine Tummy Rubs Nazboo (100.7 dB)
  • VTech Pull and Discover Activity Elephant (100.3 dB)
  • VTech Drill & Learn Toolbox (99 dB)
  • Spider-Man Homecoming Super Sense Spider-Man (99 dB)
  • VTech Sort & Discover Drum (98.8 dB)
  • Playskool Friends Sesame Street Tickle Me Elmo (90 dB)

This list is not all-encompassing; other toys might also damage your child’s hearing. If possible, check the packaging for warnings or go online and seek out information on decibel levels. User forums such as Reddit are good sources for info. If in doubt, talk to your Plano audiologist about safe toys for your child this holiday season.