Noise-canceling headphones and earmuffs for kids and babies can provide health and mental benefits. In this article, we’ll examine the top 5 benefits, as well as recommend some of the best headphones and earmuffs for noise reduction that are available today.
Who should consider purchasing a set noise-canceling earmuffs? The answer is anyone who might bring their child with them into an environment where there is the potential for high noise levels and the risk of noise-induced hearing loss.
These are places you might overlook in the day to day life yet contain sustained or periodic high decibel levels. Places like schools, airports, airplanes, sporting events, concerts, shopping malls, festivals, and firework displays are all good examples.
In addition to the benefit of hearing protection, children with Autism, ADHD, and sensory and auditory processing issues can benefit from the reduction of noise that a set of top noise-reducing headphones can provide. School classrooms are not always soundproofed, and the amount of noise in a busy classroom can have detrimental effects on some kid’s ability to learn.
5 Benefits of Noise Canceling Headphones for Kids
There are undoubtedly many and varied benefits of providing your child with some quiet time. If you cannot apply any soundproofing to the rooms in your home, then the periodic use of some noise-reducing earmuffs may be a good alternative. Let’s take a more detailed look at 5 of the common benefits of noise protection earmuffs.
1. Protect Developing Ears
The overwhelming benefit of any pair of baby or children’s headphones is the protection of the ear against hearing loss and congenital abnormalities (e.g., ringing in the ears when no sound is present). The term “developing” ears is somewhat of a misnomer. The ear is the only human organ that is fully developed at birth. What you are really protecting is the full functioning of the ear.
Children’s ears are the most sensitive they will ever be. They can hear noises at frequencies up to 20,000 Hz, which means babies are extremely sensitive to high-pitched sounds and more sensitive to all sounds than anyone else. The right headphones will protect young ears against hearing damage at this important stage of life.
2. Provides Sensory breaks
Contrary to popular belief, most of the aural damage does not come from unexpected noise spikes. Ears in general, and especially the ears of children, are more often damaged by consistent loudness. This is the noise that you hear from a construction site or when a plane takes off. It may not be quite as loud or as surprising as an unexpected burst of fireworks, say, but the potential for damage is higher.
We run into these “consistently annoying” situations more often than we think throughout the course of a day. Adults tend to completely ignore these situations (which is quite bad), mostly because their ears have been damaged so much by adulthood that the noise does not have as much of an effect. However, children still have a chance to maintain high sensory function with headphones that provide sensory breaks.
3. Helps to Calm Nervous and Uneasy Feelings
Some children feel nervous and uneasy when louder unfamiliar noises are present. What might seem like normal noise to the adult, might be perceived as “nails on a chalkboard” to the child. If the noise-reducing earmuffs work, it can help you and your child to visit and experience new places that might otherwise upset them.
Young children especially babies are discovering the world constantly. Loud or unsettling sounds can be extremely jarring to their newly formed psyches. Do not make the mistake of thinking that their nervous behavior comes from something they see! It is possible they are responding to intense, high-pitched sounds that are completely outside of your more limited adult hearing range.
Using ear protection for kids can reduce the noise providing a much-needed sensory break. Calming music can also work with the right child headphones. If you have your baby headphones hooked up to an iPhone or other musical devices, the dual technologies will help you work wonders as a parent.
4. Reduce Noise Related Stress
Noise causes stress in all of us, but even more so in babies and young children. They hear things more intensely than adults. If you have ever used a dog whistle, which emits frequencies that are completely outside of the human hearing spectrum, then you understand what aural stress can do. In babies, aural stress can cause behavioral problems and psychosomatic episodes.
You need to be able to control the aural space around your child to avoid aural stress. Noise-canceling headphones are the perfect way to do this. The calming effect of wearing noise-canceling headphones can also reduce the stress the child may be feeling. Loud or unpleasant sounds can largely be filtered out, and possibly will prevent outbursts and meltdowns.
5. Increase Focus
The right aural environment has the potential for many positive effects. When properly controlled, sound can help to focus the mind. As a parent, this is an essential skill to teach your children, and it is one that will help you direct their efforts towards productive activities.
Reducing background noise and distractions can help children with auditory processing issues to focus. A pair of noise-canceling headphones for kids with this type of disorder can help them pick out the important sounds while filtering out the background noise. This can help the child with listening problems and also help improve their learning skills.
Top Best Baby Headphones and Noise Canceling Headphones for Kids
To make a quick comparison we made this chart of the 10 top rated baby headphones and hearing protection headphones for kids.
|1. [amazon link="B00NU1JJ4Y" title="Snug Kids Earmuffs" link_title="Snug Kids Earmuffs" /]||[amazon fields="B00NU1JJ4Y" value="thumb" image_size="small"]||2-6 yo||25||Kids|
|2. [amazon link="B000I7NX5E" title="Peltor Sports Earmuffs" link_title="Peltor Sports Earmuffs" /]||[amazon fields="B000I7NX5E" value="thumb" image_size="small"]||3+ yo||25||Kids|
|3. [amazon link="B00649B6QS" title="Pro Ears ReVO Kids" link_title="Pro Ears ReVO Kids" /]||[amazon fields="B00649B6QS" value="thumb" image_size="small"]||2+ yo||22||Kids|
|4. [amazon link="B007BEHSDU" title="Baby Banz Earmuffs" link_title="Baby Banz Earmuffs" /]||[amazon fields="B007BEHSDU" value="thumb" image_size="small"]||0-24 mo||31||Baby|
|5. [amazon link="B00BHIZW0W" title="Ems for Kids Baby" link_title="Ems for Kids Baby" /]||[amazon fields="B00BHIZW0W" value="thumb" image_size="small"]||0-18 mo||22||Baby|
|6. [amazon link="B01EF11XJQ" title="BEBE Muffs" link_title="BEBE Muffs" /]||[amazon fields="B01EF11XJQ" value="thumb" image_size="small"]||3-24 mo||25||Baby|
|7. [amazon link="B00HX0RTMC" title="LilGadgets Untangled Pro" link_title="LilGadgets Untangled Pro" /]||[amazon fields="B00HX0RTMC" value="thumb" image_size="small"]||4+ yo||n/a||Headphones|
|8. [amazon link="B01A5RKT6C" title="Snug Play+ Kids" link_title="Snug Play+ Kids" /]||[amazon fields="B01A5RKT6C" value="thumb" image_size="small"]||3-8 yo||n/a||Headphones|
|9. [amazon link="B06XT8ZWSH" title="LilGadgets Connect+ Pro" link_title="LilGadgets Connect+ Pro" /]||[amazon fields="B06XT8ZWSH" value="thumb" image_size="small"]||6+ yo||n/a||Headphones|
|10. [amazon link="B01M7V7HZL" title="CozyPhones Kids" link_title="CozyPhones Kids" /]||[amazon fields="B01M7V7HZL" value="thumb" image_size="small"]||4+ yo||n/a||Headphones|
3 Types of Ear Protection for Children
Next, it is essential to consider the slight differences between various ear protection for children. Understanding the nuances here will help you make the best decision for your child based on individual needs and life stage.
- Noise Reducing Earmuffs – These are passive earphones that do not produce sound or connect to sound devices. They are great for children at sporting events and concerts because they give parents the ability to control the amount of outside noise that reaches the child’s ear.
- Baby Ear Defenders – These are ear protection devices that are designed specifically for babies. The shape of the head and ratio of ear size to head size changes quickly during the first few months of life. The head is also an extremely sensitive area for babies that must be considered in headphone/earmuff design. Babies under 12 months should only wear this type of ear protection mechanism.
- Kids Noise Cancelling Headphones – Noise-canceling headphones for kids have the ability to connect to media devices while limiting the amount of sound that a child takes in from the outside environment. Children can quietly play games, listen to music, or interact with media using these headphones. This is a great option for a family taking a trip that needs a child to focus on entertainment while parents drive.
Understanding the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)
As a parent, you do not have to fly by the seat of your pants when trying to measure the level of protection that headphones provide. The Noise Reduction Rating, or NRR, is a way to quantify exactly how much noise you are protecting your child from.
General noise is measured in decibels (dBs). The NRR is a description of the average amount of sound protection that headphones provide. For instance, if the noise level outside is 90 dBs (very loud) and your child protection headphones have an NRR rating of 20, then you can expect your child to hear only 70 dB of noise when wearing those headphones.
The NRR that you see on headphone packaging represents an average noise attenuation (sound reduction). Different people may get slightly different results. Headphones are tested by 10 subjects to achieve their ranking – five might experience an attenuation of 10 dB, while five others may get 16 dB. In this case, the headphone manufacturer would have a legitimate right to put an NRR rating of 13 on the packaging ((16+10)/2).
In most cases, the maximum NRR that headphones can achieve is in the low 30s. This assumes the headphones are being worn properly.
Keep in mind that every 10 dB up represents a doubling of the sound intensity – 60 dB (an average restaurant at capacity) is twice as loud as 50 dB (conversation around a family dinner table). 30 dB of attenuation is quite significant, and a 30 NRR rating will protect your child from a great deal of noise.
Now that you understand the technical stuff behind protecting your child’s precious ears, let’s go into the brands that provide this service for you.
10 Best Noise Reduction Headphones for Kids
1. Snug Kids Earmuffs[amazon box=”B00NU1JJ4Y” template=”vertical” title=”Snug Kids Earmuffs” link_title=”Snug Kids Earmuffs” /]
These stylish noise-reducing earmuffs sell themselves on fit and comfort, and customer reviews seem to uphold this assertion. The Snug’s come in 7 different colors, and the manufacturer fully stands behind their product with an awesome 5-year warranty and guarantee.
The Snug Earmuffs have an adjustable and foldable headband that provides maximum comfort. This feature also means they can fold up into the smallest size possible, making it easy to pack and take with anywhere. Also keep in mind that the better earmuffs fit, the more attenuation you get from the product, not to mention your child is more likely to wear them.
The 25 NRR rating is slightly above average for elite products in this market space. If your child is on the autism spectrum and between the ages of 2 and 6, this may be the brand for you.
2. Peltor Sports Kids Earmuffs[amazon box=”B000I7NX5E” template=”vertical” title=”Peltor Sports Earmuffs” link_title=”Peltor Sports Earmuffs” /]
A hefty frame makes these earmuffs perfect to keep noise out of your child’s ears during sporting events, including shooting ranges. The NRR rating of 22 is good for this type of product.
These headphones are made for children ages 3 and up and are easily adjustable so that you can get a great fit no matter what shape your child’s head. These are also headphones that can grow with your child.
The best parts sourced from all over the world make up the Peltor brand (3M), ensuring durability even when used in high velocity, rugged environments.
3. Pro Ears ReVO Kids[amazon box=”B00649B6QS” template=”vertical” title=”Pro Ears ReVO Kids” link_title=”Pro Ears ReVO Kids” /]
The Pro Ears ReVO are top-rated passive noise-canceling headphones for kids 2 years old and up. With 13 different colors, anyone can find a color to match the personality of their child.
The ReVO has an adjustable, and padded, headband, to make a snug but comfortable fit for different sized heads. They may cost a little bit more than other brands, but you do get a higher NRR of 25 decibels, compared to the average NRR of 21 dB.
After giving a pair of ReVO’s to their kids, many parents have discovered how much they like them, even asking to use them at home when they want some quiet time. Other reviewers have given the Pro Ears good ratings for their ability to block out most of the strong bass sounds at concerts.
Best Noise Canceling Headphones for Babies
4. Baby Banz Earmuffs[amazon box=”B007BEHSDU” template=”vertical” title=”Baby Banz Earmuffs” link_title=”Baby Banz Earmuffs” /]
Baby Banz earmuffs are specifically designed for newborns (3 months per the manufacturer), but are suitable for kids up to 2 years old. They are lightweight, at 6.7 ounces, and are compact in size to fit into your purse or bag.
Baby Banz are known for their soft padding around the cups, making it comfortable for your baby to wear for several hours at a time when needed. Many parents have discovered that traveling on airplanes is much easier when they bring a pair of Baby Banz along for their babies.
The headband is designed for a nice balance of a snug fit over the ear, but not so tight that it will hurt your baby’s head. Baby Banz comes in multiple colors for both boys and girls so your baby will be stylish as well as protected.
5. Ems for Kids Baby[amazon box=”B00BHIZW0W” template=”vertical” title=”Ems for Kids Baby” link_title=”Ems for Kids Baby” /]
While Baby Banz is for babies 3 months and up, the Em’s for Bubs is truly meant for newborn infants.
Bubs are unique in that there is no plastic headband, using a soft stretchy fabric instead. The fabric headband and 6 color designs also make for a stylish baby on the go.
This type of headband is better suited to spread the pressure of the ear cups around your baby’s head, making it more comfortable and safer for the infants’ still-developing skull. Some parents have found this headband is more prone to slipping down their kid’s foreheads and requiring more adjustments than traditional over the headbands.
It really is a matter of preference for both parents and the baby. Due to being so inexpensive, many parents buy both Baby Banz and Em’s 4 Bubs to test which fits their child the best.
6. BEBE Muffs[amazon box=”B01EF11XJQ” template=”vertical” title=”BEBE Muffs” link_title=”BEBE Muffs” /]
These headphones are the only ones in this grouping not recommended for newborns. The recommended age for these phones is between 3 and 24 months old.
It is also necessary to note the fit before ordering. Different products will have limitations on their headband adjustments.
The NRR on these headphones is 25, which is moderate in performance for this market grouping.
Best Kids Noise Cancelling Headphones
7. LilGadgets Untangled Pro[amazon box=”B00HX0RTMC” template=”vertical” title=”LilGadgets Untangled Pro” link_title=”LilGadgets Untangled Pro” /]
The price point for these LilGadgets is the most expensive on the market, and with good reason – they are wireless (hence the “untangled” tagline).
These headphones are meant for ages 4 and up because of a few less durable parts. The headphones are made from a lot of breathable mesh, which is not as durable as some of the other materials in competing headphones.
The guarantee from the company, the 12 hours of battery life, and 180-hour standby give you more performance than competitors.
8. Snug Play+ Kids[amazon box=”B01A5RKT6C” template=”vertical” title=”Snug Play+ Kids” link_title=”Snug Play+ Kids” /]
The volume on Snug Play+ Plus headphones is limited automatically.
These headphones have the widest recommendation age of any product in this category, from ages 3 to 8 years old.
If the actual sound quality of the headphones is important to you, this product gives the best frequency response of any product in the category.
These headphones are made to be durable, so you don’t have to worry about rough play.
9. LilGadgets Connect+ Pro[amazon box=”B06XT8ZWSH” template=”vertical” title=”LilGadgets Connect+ Pro” link_title=”LilGadgets Connect+ Pro” /]
This product has a patent for its design, which is made for children who are ages 6 and over. The design features a padded over the ear fit that is also surprisingly durable.
The 52-inch audio cable allows for the greatest amount of distance between the child and the device of any wired device. However, the long cable may be a safety hazard depending on how rough your children play.
The max volume is set at 93 dB and has 40 mm drivers for high sound quality.
10. CozyPhones Kids[amazon box=”B01M7V7HZL” template=”vertical” title=”CozyPhones Kids” link_title=”CozyPhones Kids” /]
If your child does not like earbuds that go over the ear, this stylish alternative is a great looking choice. The design is patent-pending and made to imitate the fun animals that your child can get into.
The design allows for the head wrap to be pulled down over the eyes to create a sleep mask. It is made for special needs children who have sensory issues as well.
The braided cord is more durable and will not break or kink up under normal use.
What Ear Protection is Right for Your Family?
We’ve covered a lot in this guide, so it’s helpful to summarize our top recommendations for the best ear protection for all three categories.
- Best Noise Reduction Headphones for Kids – In general, the Snug Kids Earmuffs provide excellent noise reduction, but the design also allows for the widest age recommendation of any product in the category. The fit is also considered the best based on user reviews, and the parts that Snug uses are highly durable. These characteristics make Snug great for families of all lifestyles.
- Best Noise Canceling Headphones for Babies – Baby Banz are the best in this category because of its high NRR ranking (31) and its 0 to 24 month age recommendation. BEBE Muffs may have taken the award, but they recommend only using the product at 3 months. From 0 to 3 months is the most sensitive time in a baby’s life, it’s nice to have earmuffs that will fit well on a newborn!
- Best Kids Noise Canceling Headphones – LilGadgets Untangled Pro is far and away the best set of headphones in this category, because they are wireless, but also because you get great sound, you get a stylish look, and you get durable parts all in a volume safe package. Yes, they are the most expensive because they are wireless, so if that is a concern, the Snug Play+ Kids is a great alternative.
Ear protection for children is a vitally important yet often overlooked safety measure. Consider the guidelines we’ve provided above, and follow the advice of your trusted medical professional to make the best decision for your child’s ears.
Soundproofing as an Alternative to Noise Canceling Headphones
As great and cheap an investment that noise-canceling headphones for kids are, you definitely don’t want to overuse them. Be sure to set a specific schedule when your child will use them for quiet time at home or in the classroom.
If you are able to, a low-cost way to get the benefit of noise reduction in your home is to use sound dampening curtains or soundproofing foam panels. Placing these products in your room can help reduce the amount of sound and echo in the room making it easier for your child to concentrate.
Another possible solution is to buy a white noise machine for your home. White noise machines produce a low-level background noise, intended to mask the obtrusive sound. White noise has been shown to help adults and children relax and sleep, as well as increase productivity.