For most of us, the phrase “sounds of the holiday season” conjures up images of caroling choirs, jingling bells and jolly “ho, ho hos!” We probably don’t consider how some sounds may harm the tender ears of children. In fact, some of the most popular gifts for children may increase their risk of hearing loss. For example, certain battery-powered toy guns can create noise levels between 110 and 135 decibels — similar to the noise levels generated by a heavy truck, a rock concert or an airliner at take-off, according to the nonprofit Better Hearing Institute. Even toys that generate lower sound levels (for example, 85 to 95 decibels) can be harmful when the exposure occurs over an extended period of time. This holiday season, take into account noise levels when shopping for toys. If possible, find out how much noise they produce, and choose toys with lower outputs. A good rule of thumb is this: If it’s too loud for you, it will also be too loud for a child.