The Best Headphones for Kids that Won’t Damage Their Ears

May 30, 2017

Music, movies, audiobooks, podcasts – these are just a few of the ways we use our digital devices. Headphones help us take these favorites with us on-the-go, while and keep everyone around us a little bit happier.

So, what is the downside? Hearing loss is closer than you think.

Hearing Loss and Your Kids

According to the World Health Organization, “some 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe use of personal audio devices.” If used irresponsibly, headphones pose a serious threat of hearing loss.

Explaining this danger to kids can be difficult. It is not an immediate issue but instead occurs over longer periods of time. It’s like trying to tell them not to eat too much candy because they may face health issues years later. If the problem isn’t a big, scary monster right in front of them, kids tend to disregard it. Read our article about how earbuds can increase hearing loss in kids here.

It is very difficult to trust kids to heed the warnings you provide about their listening habits. And let’s face it, we often don’t heed our own warnings. We all know how tempting it can be to punch that volume up and slip into dangerous decibel (dB) levels when our favorite song comes on.

The World Health Organization suggests a healthy level of noise exposure is 85 dB for a maximum of eight hours each day. At full volume, or close to full volume, normal headphones reach from 105 dB to even 120 dB.

What’s Safe for Kids?

So, how can parents constantly monitor the volume of the audio blasting at close range into kids’ ears? The best option is volume limiting headphones, designed specifically for kids to protect them from hearing loss due to prolonged exposure to unsafe levels of noise. Below are a few items we recommend:

Maxell Safe Soundz Headphones

These over-ear headphones are designed to fit and protect kids’ ears for an affordable price, under $20. The Maxell Safe Soundz limit volume output to a very safe 75 dB. Parents are assured that kids will listen to their favorite music, movies, or television shows all day without the risk of hearing loss. Constructed with cushioned ear cups and headband and smaller sizing for kids’ heads, the Maxell’s are comfortable to wear for long periods of time, keeping kids entertained and cozy during car rides and flights.

MEE Audio KidJamz KJ25

The MEE Audio KidJamz are volume limiting headphones made for kids ages 4 to 12. They have cushioned ear cups that fit on top of the ear. The cups are too small to fully enclose the ear. The KidJamz are built with an ultra-flexible headband to withstand the twisting, turning, and wear and tear that is to be expected with any product for kids. The key feature is a volume limiting switch that, when activated, keeps dB levels below the safe range of 85. This switch is concealed and very difficult to access (one reviewer needed to use tweezers), so kids will have a tough time turning off the volume limits if they do find the switch. For just around $20, the MEE Audio KidJamz are a good choice to keep kids ears safe.

Kidz Gear Wired Headphones

Designed for kids age 2 and up, the Kidz Gear Wired Headphones cost under $20 and come in a variety of fun colors. The headphones fit over the ear and have cushions for comfortable listening. They come with a volume limiting cable that will knock off about 20 dB from the maximum volume level of the device, leaving the maximum limited listening around 88 dB, just above the safe 85 dB range for 8 hours of listening. This option offers more flexibility, as the cable can be switched with a standard cable that does not limit volume. The ability to switch cables is beneficial when listening to softer noises, such as an audiobook, in crowded, loud areas, but it is impractical to carry around an extra cable. It is important to note that if kids switch the cable to listen to their music as loud as they want or if the limiter cable is damaged, the safety function of the headphones is gone.

JLab JBuddies Folding Headphones

The JLab JBuddies are created for kids’ ears. These over-ear, folding headphones come in a variety of colors and include a set of stickers to decorate the merchandise. The cushioned ear cups and an adjustable headband are standard comfort features among similar products. Unlike most similar headphones, though, the JBuddies fold in half for easy, compact storage. They limit volume to 85 dB, ensuring safe listening for up to 8 consecutive hours. At an affordable price of $17, the JLabs JBuddies Folding Headphones are a great choice for kids.

Puro Sound Labs Kids Volume Limiting Bluetooth Headphones

The Puro Sound Labs Kids Headphones are high-end, luxury headphones that protect kids ears from hearing loss. At $100, these wireless, Bluetooth enabled headphones offer excellent sound quality that is unrivaled by other volume limiting headphones. The charge for wireless listening lasts about 18 hours. They are constructed with aluminum and designed to fit kids’ heads. The left ear cup includes buttons to control volume, turn the headphones on and off, and a button to pause and play music or answer phone calls. The headphones also include a 3.5 mm jack to plug into devices that are not Bluetooth enabled. The Puro Sound Labs are not noise canceling, but effectively block out most ambient noise, meaning kids can hear their media at lower, safer levels. In addition to blocking out ambient noise, these headphones limit volume levels to a safe 85 dB to protect young ears while maintaining a high quality of sound.

Make the Investment

The danger of hearing loss is real, especially as kids have access to personal listening devices at younger and younger ages. Volume limiting headphones are one of the best options to ensure your kid is listening at safe decibel levels.

With a wide range of options available now, parents can rest easy knowing their kids are enjoying their favorite media in stylish, functional headphones that protect them from hearing loss.