If you’ve ever suffered through endless YouTube toy videos (I’m looking at you, Ryan) or listened to “It’s Raining Tacos” on repeat, you’ve probably considered purchasing headphones for kids. But where to start? Should they be waterproof? Noise-cancelling? Wireless? The short answer: It depends.
Parentology researched the main factors to consider before making a purchase, as well as what to avoid. Because if you have to listen to Baby Shark one more time…
Features to Consider
Imagine you’re embarking on a road trip with your children. One child wants to play a game on his iPad, while the other one wants to listen to his carefully curated Spotify playlist. Solution: invest in two pairs of children’s headphones. From movies to music, using headphones will keep your child immersed and engaged, allowing you some peace and quiet. However, not all headphones are created equal.
Any headphones designed for children should have a volume limiter. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hearing damage can occur in children after prolonged exposure to sound over 90 decibels. Any headphones your child uses should max out at 80-85 decibels, or up to 90 if you’re in a loud environment such as an airplane.
It may seem self-evident, but putting anything small into your child’s ear is a big no-no. Because they press right against your child’s eardrum, earbuds can amplify the sound level by 6-9 decibels. Secondly, most earbuds aren’t designed for tiny ears, meaning a smaller bud could unintentionally cause damage to her ear canal by repeatedly jamming it back into her ear every time it falls out.
Andrew Dalton from SleepPhones advises that children under two years of age shouldn’t wear headphones. Outside of potential hearing loss due to prolonged exposure to noise, headphones have small parts, such as speaker magnets, that can quickly become a choking hazard.
A common mistake many parents make is letting their child use headphones designed for adults. According to headphonesupreme.com, children’s headphones fit much smaller — the average width is 13cm and the average height is 16cm. Whatever you decide to purchase, make sure they’re lightweight and durable. Ideally, the headband would be adjustable so it can grow with your child.
Wired vs. Unplugged
Wireless headphones (including newer Bluetooth models) are a great alternative to their corded ancestors. No wires mean no tangling hazards or frayed jacks. Wireless headphones offer up a hands-free, portable listening experience, which is perfect for children on-the-go.