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Best headphones for kids: Comfort, safety, and durability win every time

Built-in audio limiting capabilities make these pairs stand out.
By Jennifer Allen  on 
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Overview

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Best budget headphones

Maxell children headphones

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Best for older kids

Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet

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Best for gamer kids

PuroGamer gaming headset

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Best for comfort and security

CozyPhones kids headphone headband

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Best for kids who want wireless

Puro Sound Labs Junior Jams

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These days, raising kids means being inundated with technology. Everywhere you turn, there’s a little one with a device of some kind in their hand. Like it or not, technology is just as much a part of our kids’ daily lives as it is our own. And more often than not, parents have given their wee one a set of headphones to listen to their favorite show or game. While headphones for babies and kids certainly have their place — listening to music, a show, or even just to block out background noise — they aren’t without their drawbacks.

You might think that the main benefit to buying headphones for your children is that you don't have to hear what they're listening to, but there's actually a more important reason. Your child's ears are super sensitive while they're developing and it's possible to damage them by hearing sounds over 85 decibels. Adult headphones just aren't the best idea for them to use, as they can crank the volume way past a safe listening level. That is, at least not unless you can convince them to lower the volume, which is pretty unlikely.

Instead, you're best off purchasing a pair of headphones designed specifically for children. They tend to fit better on little heads and all of the best headphones for kids contain a volume limiter so the sound can't get too high and potentially damage their hearing. Adult headphones are bulkier and heavier than headphones designed specifically for kids. Plus, headphones can be expensive, and we all know kids are hard on their belongings. If you give them your headphones to use, or purchase a set of adult headphones just for them, you could be shelling out a lot of money for a replacement pair when they inevitably get broken. This is just one more reason why you’re better off buying your kid their own set of headphones.

Finding the best headphones for children is about more than just fun, colorful designs, and affordability. Whether you’re looking for a set of Bluetooth headphones, wired headphones, a budget-friendly model, or something that’ll stand up to daily wear and tear, here are the best headphones for kids, based on features, volume limits, and overall comfort.

All kids love cute things, and the Kidrox Tiger-Ear kids headphones are a very cute thing indeed. The ear cups are softly cushioned and have a tiger face on their exterior so they look super playful and charming. Your child will enjoy wearing them, feeling like they get to show off their tiger-loving self in a set of cans designed specifically for small heads. In terms of features, they have a built-in volume restrictor of 85 decibels — the absolute maximum noise level recommended by authorities for children. The only downside is that the connective cable is a little short, so your kiddo will need to be close to their music-playing device.

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The Maxell children headphones certainly won't win any prizes for looks or style. However, they're super lightweight, which young kids will appreciate. Despite their lightweight design, they also sound pretty good thanks to a 30mm driver, and they contain a volume limiter so things can't get too loud for your child. Granted, the limiter is set to 90 dB, which is less than ideal, as it’s just above the recommended maximum sound level for kids, but it's a promising start for very inexpensive headphones. If you want to keep costs down or your child is likely to break them easily so you want something easily replaceable, these are one of the best options to pursue.

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The Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones look like something that even an adult might wear, so you can be pretty confident that your older child will love them. Not only do they look good, they sound great too, providing some of the best audio quality out of any set of headphones for kids. There's an 85 dB limiter tied into them, so your kids won't have to risk their hearing being damaged while they listen. With an 18-hour battery life, they're not quite as great as you might like, but that's more than respectable enough. Ambient noise isolation makes up for their lack of active noise cancelation, too.

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If your kid is desperate to look cool, but you want to keep them and their hearing safe, then look to the Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet headphones. These on-ear wireless headphones look almost as fashionable as adult headphones, but they include useful technology to keep your child's hearing safe. They have a limited volume of 85 dB, which can be further reduced by up to 22 dB courtesy of the active noise cancellation that's built into these headphones. A steady battery life of 22 hours means you won't have to recharge them often, but you can always switch them over to the wired mode if need be.

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For those with children who adore gaming, the PuroGamer gaming headset is a great option. There's a microphone for easy communication with their buddies online while they go nuts on Minecraft, and they can hear every sound possible through the volume-limited ear cups. Sound is limited to 85 dB but it won't get in the way of hearing what's going on. It'll just protect your child's ears. You can hook them up via 3.5mm aux connection, which is perfect for different gaming systems — they’re compatible with PC, Xbox, PlayStation and mobile devices. The noise-canceling and anti-interference detachable mic picks up sound from virtually any direction, and filters ambient noise.

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If your child hates wearing conventional headphones, no matter how cute the ear cups may look, then the CozyPhones kids headphone headband is the perfect solution for them. It works like a regular headband but it contains ultra-thin speakers for listening to music. Soft and stretchy, it's easy for your child to wear and just as easy for them to store safely afterward. It's even washable, for when life's little accidents happen. The only real downside with these is that the volume limiter is set to a maximum of 90 dB, which is a little high for our liking. Other than that, it's a good solution to a common issue.

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Over-the-ear headphones with a white headband and green ear cups

Puro Sound Labs Junior Jams

Best for kids who want wireless

If your little listener doesn’t want to be tied down by a cord while enjoying music, stories, or games, these Bluetooth headphones for kids are just the ticket. They give kids a wireless range of up to 30 feet. While they might limit harmful volumes over 85dB, these headphones still emit crystal-clear sounds thanks to advanced sound-optimizing technology that isolates 87% of ambient noise. Parents won’t have to worry about frequent recharging because the lithium-ion battery has a working life of 22 hours. Plush vegan leather covers the ear cups and headband in softness for comfortable all-day wear. The plastic frame is flexible yet still lightweight.

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Frequently Asked Questions


The decision on whether or not to get wired or wireless headphones for your kid is largely dependent on how much money you want to spend and whether or not you want to worry about needing to recharge headphones on a regular basis. Many of the wireless headphones listed here have decent battery life, but they are typically more expensive than a wired solution.

Many people (kids included) prefer wired headphones for their reliable connection and superior sound quality. One thing to keep in mind, particularly for young children, is that wired headphones can be a strangling risk, so always supervise them while they're using wired headphones. This is also an important consideration if there are younger siblings in the house who might get their hands on an older sibling’s wired headphones.


Generally, many auditory health organizations recommend that the ideal noise level for a child is about 70 decibels, and that volumes should never exceed 85 decibels. (Anything above 85 decibels is deemed dangerous, and could result in hearing loss or damage.) Most adult headphones peak at about 115 decibels, which is why it's important to use a dedicated solution for your child. The limit is a limit too, not a guide, so always aim to play music a little quieter if you can.


According to the WHO and CDC, headphones can absolutely damage children’s hearing, which is why it’s so important for parents to know and manage their child's exposure to loud sounds. It’s also why headphones designed specifically for kids are recommended for little listeners, in order to help avoid any permanent damage to their hearing. Remember hearing damage is permanent and once it is gone it is gone.


When it comes to setting audio level limits for your kid(s) many parents might be pleased to learn that there are actually apps that allow you to set a volume limit for a device. This way you can feel confident knowing that your child isn't listening to audio at an excessive volume. Most experts agree that keeping the device at or below 50 percent of the maximum volume is a good place to start when it comes to safe listening. In addition, ensure your child is taking listening breaks to help protect their hearing.


Kids should absolutely be using noise-canceling headphones if possible. They can help to preserve your child’s hearing by blocking out louder background noise, which means they can listen to their audio at a lower level. In addition, noise-canceling headphones can also be helpful when it comes to blocking out external noise when your child needs to focus on things such as homework. This is especially beneficial for children who have trouble with auditory processing or attention span issues — and when used in a classroom setting, noise-canceling headphones can help kids stay on task and improve their focus. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, you can even use noise-canceling headphones to help protect kids’ ears from loud noises — such as at a concert or other loud event. Because the headphones reduce the amount of noise that reaches the eardrums, they can help to prevent hearing damage.


When most people think about earphones as it relates to headphones, they think about earbuds. In-ear buds are great for adults, but they're not recommended for children. That's because their developing ears are more sensitive to noise damage. This is because their nerve fibers are still growing. Also, since they have smaller external auditory canals, their eardrum is always closer to the sound source. You don't want that to be exacerbated by earbuds — their little ears are too delicate to risk their safety.


As with screen time in general, it's worth laying out some sensible guidelines, in order to give both eyes and ears a break and make time for other types of activities. That said, there's no hard limit: Some experts say that children can use headphones up to 40 hours a week, which is probably way more than most kids will get to. 


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