The 10 Best Kid's Headphones

Updated May 26, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

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We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Every kid loves to listen to their choice of music, TV shows, video games and movies, but not every parent enjoys those same types of media. Give your youngster the freedom to listen to whatever he or she wants at any time with a pair of these kids' headphones. Boasting colorful and snazzy designs, they also feature noise-limiting technology to protect young eardrums, except where noted. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best kid's headphone on Amazon.

10. Sakar International 303

It's hard to beat these Sakar International 303 over-ears in terms of price, and your youngster will love the classic cartoon artwork on all sides that is available in many different character designs. The earcups are soft and supple, perfect for hours of enjoyment.
  • rich stereo sound
  • not the most durable option
  • easily drowned out
Brand Sakar
Model 30382-TRU
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. Kidz Gear

The headband of the Kidz Gear is widely adjustable, so they can be made to fit onto children as young as two, but are still suitable for those well into their elementary years. They're compatible with all devices equipped with a standard 3.5 mm audio jack.
  • available in multiple colors
  • removable volume-limiting cable
  • thin cord is prone to snapping
Brand Kidz Gear
Model CH68KG03
Weight 7.8 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. Symphonized Premium Wood

The Symphonized Premium Wood are an in-ear, noise-isolating, volume-limited option that look so good parents may envy their child's hardware. Not only do they sound great, but they listen: these respond to simple spoken playback commands.
  • inline mic for phone calls
  • 3 sizes of silicone tips included
  • too big for some ears
Brand Symphonized
Model kidsblue
Weight 1.6 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. JLab Audio JBuddies

Featuring a compact folding design in a variety of colors, the JLab Audio JBuddies include eight 3D character stickers for customization. Soft pillow cushions ensure your child's comfort for hours, and an external volume adjustment dial keeps you in control.
  • pinch-proof hinges for safety
  • good for children as young as two
  • some pairs short out quickly
Brand JLAB
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. AmazonBasics HP04B

The AmazonBasics HP04B is a volume-limited pair of on-ears that's priced to sell and suitable for use during study, travel, or while your child enjoys some media. But know that with an abundance of background noise, they won't hear much from their diminutive drivers.
  • folding duotone design
  • pressure-relieving earpads
  • headband comes loose easily
Brand AmazonBasics
Model HP04B
Weight 8.2 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. CozyPhones Headband

For an alternative take on the format, the CozyPhones Headband has two slender speakers built into a soft fleece band with an extra-long cord, so your youngster can listen to music, watch a show, or play a game while keeping their head warm and comfortable.
  • several charming designs available
  • band is machine washable
  • great choice for nap time
Brand CozyPhones
Model HAW-KH-201-FROG
Weight 1.6 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

4. LilGadgets BestBuds

A pair of in-ear LilGadgets BestBuds promises immersive, high quality sound without the chance of eardrum damage, even with extended use. These limit the volume they produce to 73 decibels, well below the 85-decibel threshold for injury.
  • volume and play controls on cord
  • backed by a satisfaction guarantee
  • include a splitter for sharing music
Brand LilGadgets
Model LGBB
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

3. Noot Products Foldable K11

Featuring a nylon-wrapped cord that's both durable and easy to untangle, the Noot Products Foldable K11 are designed with your child in mind. Note that they're not volume limited, so you should use other safety precautions if you're worried about decibel levels.
  • 90-degree angled plug
  • extra-long 5-foot cable
  • backed by a 2-year warranty
Brand noot products
Model K11
Weight 9.4 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Onanoff Explore

The Onanoff Explore are available in many bright and colorful styles, and are both durable and flexible, so they can stand up to whatever your child may put them through. They limit the volume to 85 decibels, so you can be sure they're safe for your little one's ears.
  • passive noise reduction
  • flat cable resists tangles
  • buddy port for shared listening
Model BP-EX-GREEN-01-K
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Puro Sound Labs BT2200

For the family of dedicated audiophiles, the Puro Sound Labs BT2200 are the way to go. Bluetooth-enabled for wireless listening, these studio-quality monitors also feature noise limiting functionality, essential for protecting young ears.
  • great sounding 40-mm drivers
  • 18 hours of battery life
  • lightweight aluminum construction
Brand Puro Sound Labs
Model 22PLC
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

A Brief History Of Headphones

While they may be nearly ubiquitous today, headphones have a long technical history that dates back to the early 20th century. The earliest sets were developed for listening to Mormon church services, though the technology was quickly bought by the US Navy. The original versions worked in much the same way they do today.

Essentially, their job is to convert electronic signals into sound waves. This is achieved by a magnet which exerts pressure on a diaphragm, which, in turn, vibrates, creating an audible signal. If you've ever seen the front part of a speaker visibly vibrating, you're familiar with what this looks like. Headphones work in just the same way, but scaled down for your ears.

The original versions were uncomfortable and had terrible sound quality. It wasn't until the late 1950s that consumers started using them to listen to music. Until that point, they were used almost exclusively by telephone and radio operators. The shift came with the 1958 invention of stereo headphones by jazz musician John C. Koss. Today, the Koss Corporation is one of the most respected manufacturers of high-fidelity headphones and audio equipment.

Soon after the first pair of stereo headphones was introduced, earbud-style models were developed. Originally intended for use as hearing aids, they became popular for use with transistor radios. These were becoming increasingly portable at the time, lending themselves well to listening on-the-go, which consumer headphone models further enabled.

As devices for listening to recorded music became increasingly portable, the demand for headphones rose in tandem. Over time, the jack of choice for most models shifted from the original 1/4-inch style, which dates back to 1878, to the more compact 3.5mm jack, which is the standard today. It was developed in the 1950s and buoyed by various Sony products: first, the EFM-117J radio in 1964, and then by their Walkman line, which was released in 1979.

While 3.5mm ports are still found on most computers, phones, stereos, and other music-listening devices, wireless headphones have become increasingly popular in recent years. These primarily use Bluetooth technology and typically have a range of up to 30 feet. In most cases, they boast premium sound quality and make it possible to unburden users from the tyranny of cords. Whatever your stance is on the new technology, its presence is undeniable, and it will only become more popular as more and more devices begin to eschew the analog headphone port.

The Benefits of Children's Headphones

Headphones are useful for isolating sound, keeping yourself focused in a frantic environment, and keeping your musical selections to yourself while in public. Unfortunately, they can also be dangerous for young ears. Over the past few decades, hearing loss among teenagers has been on the rise. This can be attributed in part to the widespread use of headphones pumping loud music straight into their ears.

Sound is measured in decibels. The average music player can reach volumes of up to 105 decibels, while most concerts peak around 110. The reality is that any noise above 85 decibels can potentially damage a child's eardrums, resulting in hearing loss. That's approximately the volume of a large room full of people talking, or the ambient noise of heavy traffic.

Standard headphones are designed to reproduce the range of volumes supported by the device to which they are connected. While that accuracy is welcome for adults, you might not want to expose your child's ears to the loudest setting available on their iPod. Thankfully, there are a number of solutions to this problem. These include the use of ear plugs in loud settings and, of course, headphones designed for kids.

Kids' headphones are designed to limit the maximum volume to levels well below the danger zone. That way, even when they listen to their music with the volume all the way up, their ears stay protected. Of course, the headsets are made to fit comfortably on the heads or in the ears of youngsters, as well.

Giving your child their own pair of headphones also encourages them to take ownership of their entertainment. It's a great way to help them start building their own tastes and preferences when it comes to music. Just make sure they're not hurting themselves inadvertently if they happen to prefer Metallica to Chopin.

A Note About Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

It's important to remember that, even though it might not seem like a big deal, exposing children to loud noise can do permanent damage. In truth, more than an hour per day of music or noise at the comparatively safe volume of 85 decibels can do harm. For that reason, if you do buy headphones for your child, it's still recommended that you keep the time they spend listening at full volume to a minimum.

In addition to pain and inconvenience, the secondary effects of hearing loss are many, and include difficulty communicating, socializing, and even learning. Students who have suffered hearing loss even in mild amounts underperform in school when compared with their peers.

The problem is widespread. About one in every eight children has permanent damage done to their hearing by the end of their teen years. That number increases to about one in six among adults. Noise-induced hearing loss can't be fixed, even through surgery. That's why it's important to take every possible precaution when it comes to your child's ears.

Of course, noise exposure is not the only way a child can lose his or her hearing. There are a number of conditions that can cause hearing impairment at birth, and many of them are genetic. Untreated ear infections, perforated eardrums, head injuries, and second-hand smoke exposure can also lead to acquired hearing loss.

There are various milestones associated with how your child should respond to sound as they grow. If you're unsure about the health of your baby's hearing for any reason, it's a good idea to consult your doctor sooner rather than later.

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Last updated on May 26, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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