Why buy Baby Earmuffs and Kids Earmuffs?By Ian Allan
Have you ever wanted to take your child to a music or sports event, but couldn’t because the noise there was too loud for them? Loud sounds are distressing to young children for good reason – their anatomy is different to adults. Their hearing can be damaged by both sudden very loud noises, and constant exposure to lower level loud noise. Wearing earmuffs not only prevents ear damage, from personal experience, kids are also calmer and more likely to want to stay with you at your event. Kids earmuffs should be designed specifically for your child’s age.
Some people argue that their young children don’t need ear protection because “my parents never made me wear earmuffs”. They are misguided. The levels, frequency and types of sound our babies are exposed today are not the same as what they once were. Sounds are louder these days and a more frequent part of everyone’s lives. Appliances such as vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, washing machines and dishwashers may not seem loud to adults. Babies in particular, spend lots of time on the floor, and so their sensitive ears are often much closer to the noise source.
Common sense says to avoid loud noise whenever possible. If you must shout to be heard, then your child should either be somewhere else, or they should be wearing ear protection.
Kids earmuffs are only effective at providing hearing protection if your child keeps them on. Some children will happily wear earmuffs and others not, so be sure to monitor you child when they’re wearing them.
What to look for in kids earmuffs
Kids ear muffs must be comfortable. Otherwise your child will not wear them. They must not be “token”. Invest in high-quality ear muffs that have the following qualities. They should…
- Be designed for children of the age you need to protect…
- Adult earmuffs won’t fit your child properly.
- Kids earmuffs are too tight for babies soft skulls and so you should use specially designed baby earmuffs.
- Fit properly so they can work as designed.
- Block out harmful noise while still allowing ambient sounds to be heard. That way you will still be able to attract their attention.
- Be adjustable to cater for your growing child.
- Be certified to have an NRR / SNR rating that is more than 25dB. The higher the number the better. 25dB is enough to lower harmful noises that you’d come across at most events to acceptable levels. See below for a more detailed description.
- Ideally they will be compact so that you’re more inclined to take them with you everywhere. I leave my daughter’s earmuffs in the car.
Special features for baby earmuffs
The qualities in the dot points above apply for both babies earmuffs and young children’s earmuffs. However, there are some additional important qualities for babies earmuffs.
For baby earmuffs, you need a soft and stretchy headband that adjusts easily. That will ensure that as your baby grows, the baby earmuffs will never be too tight around their soft skull. The headband should keep the ear cups positioned over the ears so that it seals against noise, while making sure the fit stays secure, gentle, and comfortable.
The earmuffs we recommend
Em’s 4 Kids earmuffs are one brand of earmuffs that are suitable for both babies and young children. Both the Em’s 4 Kids earmuffs and Em’s 4 Kids baby earmuffs have an SNR rating of 26. In lay terms, this should make chainsaw noise fall within the 85db peak, above which can cause hearing damage.
Both earmuffs have all the qualities that are desirable in kids earmuffs that are in the dot-points above. The baby earmuffs are one of the few on the market that are designed to fit babies from birth until 18 months old. They are lightweight and the headband is adjustable. The ear cups are comfortable so your baby is more likely to keep the earmuffs on. And they’re padded to provide the best noise reduction possible.
About ANSI, EN, SNR and NRR
The critical level for damaging children’s ears is 85dB. The most important thing to check when choosing ear protection for your child is the Noise Reduction Rate. It indicates the average amount that noise is lowered by the earmuffs. The higher the NRR / SNR number, the better.
Two common certification measures are Noise Reduction Rate (NRR – American Standard) / Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR – European Standard). These numbers are calculated in laboratories. Both are used to ensure that hearing protection devices provide a predictable level of protection for your ears.
Simplistically, earmuffs with an SNR value of 25 will reduce a 100dB noise to 75 dB at your child’s ears.