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Headphones aren't just for adults, but you should think twice before handing your kids any pair of headphones. The wrong pair not only provides poor audio but can also cause lasting damage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that an estimated 5.2 million children between 6 and 19 years old have suffered hearing loss due to loud noise. Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by a variety of events, including exposure to loud noise over an extended amount of time.
When hearing loss occurs, sometimes it can't be reversed. Luckily, there are headphones made specifically for children to help ensure your little one's ears stay safe. Kids' headphones have a limited maximum volume to prevent hearing loss.
But first, you need the best kid's headphones for the children in your family. I rounded up the best kids' headphones on the market based on a variety of features.
Also: The best headphones of 2023
Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones specs: Bluetooth: Yes | Microphone: Yes | Battery: 20 hours | Volume limit: 85 dB | Noise-canceling: Yes | Recommended ages: 2 and up
The Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones are the best kids' headphones overall, combining performance with safety in a wireless design. These headphones use Puro Sound Labs' patent-pending Puro Balanced Response Curve for a full-bodied sound that still stays within the parameters of safe listening. The maximum volume is 65 decibels, and active noise cancellation (ANC) technology comes built-in with 83% protection against ambient noise.
The built-in microphone is an extra bonus, allowing kids to use their headphones for remote learning and gaming. The lithium-ion battery is generous, too, offering 20 hours of battery life for music playback and 200 hours on standby, so your child gets plenty of use before it requires a charge. Comfort is also a priority with an adjustable headband and cushioned ear pads.
Bluetooth pairing with a 30-foot range is easy, so your child can move away from the connected device while still listening. An extra bonus is the built-in audio splitter that enables your children to connect two headphones to the same device to listen with friends. These kids' headphones come in four colors, including teal and pink, for extra personality.
The Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a one-year warranty.
JLab JBuddies Studio Wireless specs: Bluetooth: Yes | Microphone: Yes | Battery: 24+ hours | Volume limit: 85 dB | Noise-canceling: No | Recommended ages: 6-16
JLab JBuddies Studio Wireless headphones offer maximum versatility with the option to function as wired or wireless Bluetooth headphones. The 40mm drivers inside each ear piece provide excellent sound, allowing your children to listen to their favorite content safely. These headphones prioritize safe volume control, using built-in regulators to deliver a max volume of 85 decibels. They also incorporate a universal microphone with built-in track controls for easy management. All other controls are found on the bottom of the left ear cup, like play, pause, and volume controls.
The JLab JBuddies Studio Wireless headphones also come with a shareport auxiliary cord, so two children can listen together with separate pairs. The shareport can also be used to charge the battery while your children listen together.
As a father of four, Jeff Hunt, Co-Founder of Kid Travel, is no stranger to headphones. He shares, "We've been using JLab JBuddies Studio Wireless headphones, and I'm very pleased with how they work. They provide an excellent sound quality that my children love, and they are also super easy to use; plus, the fact they're wireless allows my kids to move around freely, and it is great that they don't get tangled in cords like traditional headphones can. They're portable and comfortable to wear, and I've heard no complaints so far."
The stainless steel headband is durable, and the memory foam cushions ensure comfortable use. When your child is finished listening, you can fold the headphones for compact storage. The headphones offer over 24 hours of playtime when connected to Bluetooth, more than enough to get your child through the school day.
A two-year warranty accompanies your purchase.
Onanoff BuddyPhones Explore+ specs: Bluetooth: No | Microphone: Yes | Volume limit: 85 dB | Noise-canceling: No | Recommended ages: 3-8
The Onanoff BuddyPhones Explore+ kids' headphones are fantastic for toddlers. They are made with hypoallergenic materials and recommended for children as young as three years old. The wired set features a detachable cable, built-in microphone, and all the controls you need, including a call button and playback button.
The maximum volume is 85 decibels, and it's monitored by integrated Safe Audio volume control. The BuddyJack audio splitter allows your kids to listen with friends, and the stackable audio jack can connect up to four pairs of kids' headphones to a single device. What better way to keep the kids entertained during a roadtrip?
These lightweight headphones feature a wide adjustable headband to ensure a secure fit. They are comfortable thanks to soft protein PU leather, and can still be folded up for storage when not in use.
These kids' headphones also receive an endorsement from Dr. Amy Sarow, Doctor of Audiology. "Onanoff BuddyPhones Explore+ headphones are a great option for kids, with their self-limiting 85 dB volume and fun colors and design."
Available in five colors, like Cool Blue, Sun Yellow, and Deep Blue, the headphones allow your child to show their personality. They also come with four sticker options, so your child can customize their new headphones to their heart's content.
A three-year warranty is included when you register your headphones with Onanoff.
Onanoff BuddyPhones School+ specs: Bluetooth: No | Microphone: Yes | Battery: 20 hours | Volume limit: 85 dB | Noise-canceling: Yes | Recommended ages: 3-8
The Onanoff BuddyPhones School+ wired headphones feature a premium boom microphone that is perfect for online learning or gaming. The microphone automatically reduces background noise, so your child can be clearly heard.
The internal circuitry offers a SafeAudio maximum volume limit of 85 decibels, but you can also take advantage of Toddler Mode, which reduces the max volume to 75 decibels. Built-in passive noise cancellation helps reduce external noise so your child can hear more clearly and at lower volumes.
CEO and Founder of 123 Baby Box Zarina Bahadur also recommends these headphones. She said, "Onanoff BuddyPhones School+ are a wonderful choice for school-aged youngsters since they come with a built-in microphone for virtual learning."
These adjustable headphones are built for extended use, too, with an ultra-comfortable, hypoallergenic headband that repels sweat. Like with the Explore+ mode, the detachable BuddyCable enables sharing between children with multiple pairs of kids' headphones.
When it comes time to store them away, these foldable headphones have a removable microphone and come with their own storage bag. Your child can choose between four colors, including green, yellow, and pink, and then decorate with the four included stickers for an extra splash of personality.
A warranty of up to three years is included.
Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet specs: Bluetooth: Yes | Microphone: Yes | Battery: 35 hours | Volume limit: 85 dB | Noise-canceling: Yes | Recommended ages: 2-12
The Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet wireless kids' headphones offer exceptional noise cancellation. Intelligent digital signal processing enables active noise cancellation, which is available at the flip of a switch. The ANC technology can reduce background noise by up to 22 decibels with 78% noise cancellation, so your child can hear more clearly.
Like other options on this list, these headphones can produce a maximum volume of 85 decibels. The adjustable headband is an added bonus with cushioned ear cups to provide extra comfort.
"I decided to get my kids Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet headphones, and they're really great," shares Brenda Kosciuk, CEO of Paper Heart Family and mother of two. "Being able to adjust the headband and make sure the headphones fit my kids correctly helps ensure that the 85-decibel limit is enforced. The sound quality of the headphones is also excellent, providing a rich and clear sound that my kids can enjoy."
The built-in microphone is excellent for remote learning, and there is one-touch Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity with a 30-foot range for freedom of movement. With this set, you receive 35 hours of playtime without active noise cancellation, 23 hours when it is turned on, or 200 hours on standby. When you need to recharge, you can simply revert to wired use or plug it in with the included USB cable.
A 30-day money-back guarantee comes included with the one-year warranty.
The Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones are the best kids' headphones that you can buy. They work for kdis as young as two years old and incorporate all the best features. The headphones offer phenomenal sound quality with volume control, active noise cancellation, and Bluetooth capability. The built-in microphone is also a perfect addition for school and gaming.
However, they are far from the only option. To see how the best kids' headphones compare, I broke them down based on price, type, and recommended ages.
Best kids' headphones
Puro Sound Labs BT2200
2 and up
JLab JBuddies Studio Wireless
Onanoff BuddyPhones Explore+
Onanoff BuddyPhones School+
Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet
There are several factors to consider from when browing for the best kids' headphones. Each set has special features that make it different from the next.
Whether you prioritize active noise cancellation or budget, there are several ways to determine which headphones are right for your child. Our expert recommendations can help you find the best kids' headphones for your needs.
Choose these best kids' headphones...
If you want...
Puro Sound Labs BT2200
Kids' headphones suitable for streaming content. These may be a splurge, but they offer wireless Bluetooth connectivity in a premium package.
JLab JBuddies Studio Wireless
Headphones made for gaming. These wireless headphones capture detailed audio and dialogue.
Onanoff BuddyPhones Explore+
Headphones made for very small ears. These wired headphones are comfortable even for toddlers' ears.
Onanoff BuddyPhones School+
A microphone fit for all activities. These kids' headphones incorporate a superior microphone fit so your child can communicate effectively.
Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet
Built-in noise cancellation. These kids' headphones are perfect to take on the go, whether you're on a roadtrip or on the way to school.
There are several factors we consider when choosing the best kids' headphones.
If your children need headphones, it is critical that you find the best kids' headphones to preserve their health because hearing loss is all too common these days. Of common chronic physical conditions, hearing loss is the third most common and twice as prevalent as cancer. It is also non-reversible.
"I have been recommending these headphones to parents as they are comfortable, safe and easy to use," explains Mark Joseph, Founder of Parentalqueries.com. "Kids' headphones are specifically designed with smaller sizes and lower levels of sound to protect their developing hearing. The technology used in such headphones is often more durable, meaning they can withstand the rigors of daily playtime. These headphones also come with simplified controls, making them easier for kids to use."
Kids' headphones also incorporate special features not seen in other models, such as restricted volume levels. Several organizations, including the World Health Organization, recommend a maximum volume of 75 decibels for children, so you will find that many kids' headphones do have volume limitations, usually around 85 decibels or so.
Children have far more sensitive ears than adults, so it is critical that everything possible is done to protect them. That includes noise cancellation. Noise-canceling headphones are a relatively new addition to the market and an invaluable one at that.
Dr. Sarow explains why: "Noise-canceling headphones are a good choice to help prevent hearing damage. Normally, when there is a lot of background noise, people tend to turn up the volume. Noise-canceling headphones make listening at a safe volume easier without straining to hear over the background noise."
Kosciuk adds another perspective. "They're important because they allow parents to control the type of content their children are exposed to. Parents can limit their child's media exposure and control the type of content they are exposed to while still allowing them to enjoy their favorite shows or listen to music."
There are many reasons why a microphone may be useful to your child. With remote learning so prevalent these days, a microphone allows children to learn from home with ease, sounding almost as if they were there in person. It can also come in handy if your child enjoys gaming.
These are far from the only options available today. Check out these other picks for best kids' headphones.
Your child is sure to love these best kids' headphones for gaming.
If you want extra connectivity options, pick the LilGadgets Untangled Pro for your kids' headphones.
Keep your Snuggly Rascals close when it's cool outside to stay warm while you listen to your favorite tunes.
For other types of headphones, check out the best wired headphones, the best wireless headphones, and the best earbuds.