From simple wired headsets to wireless, noise-cancelling headphones, these are the best – and safest – headphones for your kids
Our guide to understanding noise cancellation and how to choose the best noise-canceling device for your child.
Children these days are always glued to one form of electronic entertainment or another, so it really pays off to make sure they have the best pair of kids’ headphones on the market.
Here headphones play two vital roles. First, they give your offspring a much richer experience than they’re going to get from their device’s tinny built-in speakers.
And while it’s never a bad idea to push your child outside or in the direction of a good book, they’ll still keep coming back to their YouTube videos, their music and their video games.
Second, they save us adults from having to suffer through the audio of whatever they’re watching, playing or listening to, which is good for your sanity.
If you’ve ever been assailed by the racket from a YouTube funny memes compilation, a game of Fortnite or the average Netflix kids’ cartoon, you’ll know exactly what we mean.
How to choose the best kids headphones for your child
What’s different about headphones for kids? Kids’ headphones have much the same features as adult headphones, except they tend to be smaller (for obvious reasons) and brightly coloured (because black or white is boring). They come in wired and wireless varieties, and with or without active noise cancellation.
The crucial difference is that they usually feature some kind of volume-limiting technology, to stop your kids whacking the sound up and doing permanent harm to their ears. How limited should the volume be?
There’s plenty of research showing that prolonged listening through headphones at high volumes can damage hearing and cause additional symptoms like tinnitus. Children, whose ear canals are smaller and whose ears are still developing, are even more at risk than adults. Generally speaking, kids’ headphones should limit the volume to below 85dB and may have additional measures to stop kids overriding the limit. Some health experts suggest keeping the limits even lower, to around 70dB, though this might be a bit too low if there’s any chatter or ambient noise around.