Headphones are now a part of most kid’s lives, and although they can be useful, they also pose a significant health risk to your child’s hearing. This is why it’s important for parents — who do the purchasing — to know which headphones are the best for children.
Think all headphones are alike? Not so. When kids are exposed to loud noises for extended periods of time, it can cause them to develop noise-induced hearing loss, tinnitus, hyperacusis, or other troubling ear-related issues. Most mp3 players can produce sound of up to 120 decibels. This is the equivalent to the sound level of a rock concert – right in your child’s ears. Just fifteen minutes of exposure can cause serious hearing damage. Children who regularly listen to music, video games, or any other digital entertainment through headphones can quickly accumulate significant hearing damage.
What Are the Best Headphones for Children to Use?
Not all headphones are created equal. There are two main types: earbuds (ones that go into your ear) and over-the-ear headphones (ones that rest on top of your ear). Of the two main types, earbuds are far worse for your child’s hearing.
Earbuds rest in your ear canal and are much closer to your eardrum. This amplifies the sound by 6 to 9 decibels — enough to cause some serious problems. Earbuds also fail at blocking out background noise, which often makes a person feel like they need to turn the volume up even more when using them.
Specific Models to Use
When it comes to headphones for your child, you want to look for several things. First, over-the-ear headphones are preferred. Second, they should have a volume limiter that prevents your child from turning the volume up over 85 decibels. Third, they should be well made because, well, kids frequently break headphones.
Here are the top headphone models that experts recommend.
Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Headphones
These over-the-ear headphones have a solid volume limiter that is effective for both wireless and USB connections. These headphones offer 85 percent noise isolation, which is pretty great if you’re not going for a total noise-canceling headphone. Best of all, you can find them on Amazon for only $79.99, which is inexpensive when talking quality headphones. Puro does make a higher-end model for $99.99 as well.
Explore Foldable Volume Limiting Kids Headphones
This headphone option is significantly cheaper – only $29.99 on Amazon. It has a volume limiter that is tested to max out at 85 decibels, has soft-padded cups on the ears, and a hard-plastic frame. It also comes in fun colors, with stickers that kids can put on the side. They’re a perfect starter set.
PC Magazine named these, “The best headphones for overall gaming.” These aren’t for little kids; at $360 from Sony on Amazon.com, they’re a super nice option for mature children who will know how to take care of them.
These headphones are super silent and have great battery life. As PC Mag states, “In our own testing, we found it was able to keep out most sounds, even on the crowded New York City subway. While the battery does take a hit as a result, you can take solace in the fact that the WH-1000XM3’s last 30 hours fully charged. After 10 minutes of being plugged in via USB-C, Sony claims they can deliver pristine high fidelity sound over a five hour period. And, to top it all off, volume and playback commands are touch-based. Goodbye forever, inline controls.”