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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 1991 Apr;21(2):143-8.

Inner ear damage from toy cap pistols and fire-crackers.

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  • 1Department of Audiology, University of Göteborg, Sahlgrenska Hospital, Sweden.


Groups of guinea pigs comprising 7 animals in each group were exposed to 10, 50 or 100 exposures to fire-crackers or 10, 50 or 100 exposures to toy cap pistol shots. An additional group of 7 animals comprised the control material. The exposures were performed with 15-s intervals at 0.25 m distance for the toy cap pistol shots and at 0.8 m for the fire-crackers. The peak sound level at the ear was 155 dBC for both impulsive sounds. After a 3-week survival period the animals were anesthetized and decapitated. The cochleas were examined histologically in surface preparations and read double-blind. One animal in each group exposed to 10 fire-crackers and 10 toy cap pistol shots showed sensory cell loss. With 50 or 100 toy cap pistol shots or fire-cracker exposures, 24 out of 28 animals showed pronounced sensory cell loss. The present results clearly indicate the risk for noise-induced hearing loss in children playing with toy cap guns and fire-crackers.

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