August 27, 2014

Best Headphones for Kids

MacWorld did a nice review on the best headphones for kids which is important given the increasing use of electronic devices in the classroom. It should be noted that the best headphones for adults are not the best headphones for kids due to important discrepancies in size, durability, and absence of volume-limit controls.

From an ENT perspective, volume-limit controls are the most important factor when picking a set of headphones for a child as such circuitry prevents the headphones from playing audio at damaging levels (above 85 dBHL per CDC).

In any case, to summarize the findings from MacWorld in rank order from cheapest to the most expensive... (highest rated was the most expensive)

Sony MDR-222KD  (2.5 out of 5)

Cheapest, but worst of the bunch. Volume-limit controls are absent and has an open design which allows others to hear what you're listening to.

Kidz Gear KidzControl  (2.5 out of 5)

The volume-limit control comes via a separate adapter cable which I think is a bad idea. If a child wants to listen to music loudly, they can just remove the adapter. This model was also the least comfortable of the bunch.

Griffin Technology Crayola MyPhones  (3.5 out of 5)

Volume-limit circuitry works to prevent sounds from being damaging to young ears. Sound isolation is limited however.

MarBlue HeadFoams  (3 out of 5)

Probably the most "organic" of the headphones because the entire thing is made from semi-rigid EVA foam that is BPA-free without any visible metal or plastic components. The headband is also not adjustable. Volume-limit controls do not work either.

JLab JBuddies (2.5 out of 5)

Volume limit circuitry does not work. However, earpieces are hypoallergenic.

Lil Gadgets Untangled Pro  (3 out of 5)

Had the best sound, but NO volume limiting controls.

Fuhu Nabi Headphones (4.5 out of 5)

Designed for kids and adults and therefore can be used as a child becomes older and bigger. Offers excellent sound-limiting controls (as long as the child does not figure out the hidden switch that activates this feature). Offers excellent sound isolation.

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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