Headphones are great for helping keep kids entertained both a home and on the move. Unfortunately, the sound levels admitted by standard headphones are often much too loud for little ears.
Over time, exposure can lead to hearing complications such as tinnitus. That’s why more parents are turning to safer headphones designed with kids in mind. We’ve taken a look best kids’ headphones suitable for younger children and what adults can do to protect their child’s hearing.
Are headphones safe for kids?
Human ears weren’t made to listen to sounds above 70 decibels for long periods of time. For children and toddlers, in particular, regular exposure can lead to a permanent hearing loss.
Adult headphones can be turned up to 115 decibels – that’s louder than a Pneumatic drill! Just 15 minutes of this can damage even an adult’s hearing. Most children’s headphones, however, are restricted to 85 decibels of sound. This is the maximum noise level recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Even child-friendly headphones are not completely safe
The problem for parents trying to make wise choices is that not all children’s headphones are created equal. Tests conducted by product recommendation magazine, The Wirecutter, found that nearly half of the children’s headphones could be pushed beyond the safe 85 decibels noise limit.
That’s why experts suggest that both children and adults should limit headphones use to two hours a day, even if the volume is kept relatively low.
Follow this link to find out more about protecting kids from Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL).
Best kids headphones for safer listening
Using the best information available through current industry research, we’ve put together some of the top headphones recommend for use by children.
1. Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Children’s Bluetooth Headphones
These high-end headphones look good and get the job done too. The volume sticks to the recommended 85dB threshold, making them safer than many similar products on the market. Their sleek design means they’re ideal for style-conscious older kids, but their aluminium frame helps them cope with heavy-duty handling.
These headphones can be used wire-free through the Bluetooth setting, which makes controlling the volume even easier. They also come with a cable for those devices that don’t have Bluetooth capability (although this must be connected correctly or the volume control won’t work). A strong selling point for Puro is their sound quality. The headphones block out background noise really well, so the low volume levels aren’t an issue for listeners.
Pricey? Yes, but if you can afford it these headphones are top of the range when it comes to performance.
2. Onanoff BuddyPhones Explore
These headphones are a great low-cost option for kids under 5 due to their small size and bright colours. Although their size means they won’t grow with your child, the fit is ideal for little heads and ears. The rigorous tests conducted by the Wirecutter found that the sound remained with safe levels, and these headphones have a couple of other nifty features, too. One is the built-in audio splitter. This allows up to four children to connect to a single device.
Another bonus is the tangle-resistant, detachable cable that will disconnect if it becomes caught on something. Not only will this help protect the headphones from damage, but it’s a handy safety feature as well. There’s also a foldable version of these headphones that are perfect for travelling.
The sound quality of the Onanoffs isn’t as good as the Puro, but they’re our top pick for anyone looking for a budget option that will last the toddler years.
From £19.90. Available from www.amazon.co.uk
3. MEE Audio KidJamz KJ25
The cheapest of our three picks, these headphones fit younger children really well. The volume-limiting technology keeps sound within safety guidelines and the quality is also of a good standard.
Experts do point out one potential issue, however. The headphones feature a concealed switch that allows the volume-limiter to be turned off. While small children are unlikely to attempt this, older kids could figure it out and decided to whack the volume up. Due to this, we’d suggest that a grown-up should be on hand to occasionally check that they aren’t fiddling with the settings.
£16.99. Available from www.amazon.co.uk