What are the best kids headphones?By Ian Allan
Why YOU Need Kids Headphones
Choosing the best kids headphones for your child is important because the wrong headphones could damage their hearing.
In many households kids headphones are essential items. If your household is anything like mine, Bananas in Pyjamas and my preppy’s homework apps are enough to drive me insane sometimes.
Travelling is another reason why you might want to buy kids headphones. Although my partner is very patient (with our daughter), a short stint for my daughter on her device can be a welcome relief after more than an hour of “I spy” on a car trip. And on long haul air travel, airline headphones are just too big for kids heads!
So, they’re the reasons why YOU might need kids headphones. But what about the reasons why YOUR CHILD needs kids headphones.
Why YOUR CHILD needs Kids Headphones
By kids headphones I don’t just mean small adult headphones. And I don’t mean pink / blue kids headphones with Disney characters on them. I mean kids headphones that are designed to protect kids hearing.
You see, 85 decibels is the maximum recommended noise level for kids and infants. But adult headphones are much louder than that. They can be as loud as 115 decibels [think chainsaw]. Chainsaw level noise on unprotected ears for just 15 minutes a day puts an adult at risk of severe hearing loss. Imagine what this would mean for your child if they were to wear adult headphones with the volume turned up!
The solution to this problem is to use specially designed-for-kids headphones. There are four parts to this…
- Kids headphones need to be noise limited: Kids headphones should be limited to a maximum of 85 decibel volume peaks. But your child should be listening at lower levels than that.
- Block competing ambient noise so that Kids headphones can operate at lower volumes: At lower volumes, ambient noise such as background conversations begin to compete. This means that your child will likely turn the volume up. Kids headphones that are designed to block ambient noise allow your child to operate them at a lower volume.
- Reduce exposure as well as volume: Some specialists warn against children using even specially designed kids headphones. Other specialists suggest that headphone time should be no more than 2 hours a day at 85 decibels, even for adults. It’s almost universally agreed that damage is caused by a combination of loudness and length of exposure.
- The middle ground: For all the reasons outlined at the beginning of this article, life is often not simple in the way that some specialists would like it to be. The middle ground is to buy a pair of kids headphones that limits both volume and competing noise. At the same time, limit your kids headphone time as much as possible.
Anatomy of good kids headphones
Its as simple as 1,2,3. Kids headphones should be…
- Limited to 85 decibels
- A snug fit
- Allow minimum competition from ambient noise.
Never buy earbuds because the sound source is too close to the inner ear and so more likely to cause ear damage.
Ems for Kids are one brand of kids headphones that tick all these boxes. They have in-built volume-limiting circuitry to prevent volume peaks exceeding 85 decibels – the maximum recommended level. They also have inline volume adjustment.
Ems for Kids headphones fit children to mid-teenagers.
These Australian designed kids headphones are good for everyone in the family. Their generous round-the-ear padding and internal acoustic treatment reduces competition with external sound sources, and so allows your child to have lower headphone volume. So for those times when you just need time out, this means that your child is not sharing Bananas in Pyjamas or their school apps with the rest of the room!
Ems for Kids headphones are hardy and have built in strain relief so that the audio chord can’t be pulled out of the earmuff cups.
The just under 1.2 metre long chord is generous, but is also a risk for younger children, so be careful to supervise use closely.
They’re compact and easily fold to be 12cm*12cm*10cm
The 3.5mm universal plug fits Apple iDevices as well as other devices with a 3.5mm audio fitting.