Connect Safely: Bluetooth headphones protect children’s hearing

Connect Safely: Bluetooth headphones protect children’s hearing

If you have kids, chances are very good that they are listening to music through earbuds or earphones. No problem with that, but if the volume is too high, it can affect your child’s hearing. That’s why it makes sense to equip them with headphones or earbuds that limit the volume to about 85 db or less. At that level, children can listen for about eight hours without damage, according to Higher levels are OK for much shorter times. For example:

  • At 91 decibels, your ears can tolerate up to two hours of exposure.
  • At 100 decibels, damage can occur with 15 minutes of exposure.
  • At 112 decibels, damage can occur with only one minute of exposure.
  • At 140 decibels, immediate nerve damage can occur.


The noise levels (in decibels) on the thermometer are approximate as measured at a typical listener’s distance.  Use this sound thermometer to judge your or your child’s noise exposure. Noise levels at 85 dB or above can be harmful to your hearing and require protection. (Source Environmental Protection Agency)

Most headphones will pump out as much sound as you put into them which means that if you turn up the volume on your device too high for too long you can damage your ears. Of course you can control the volume from your phone or other device but parents rightfully worry that their children may be tempted to listen to music that’s louder than the safe level.

One solution is to get headphones that limit the amount of sound. I’ve been testing the Puro Sound Labs BT2200, which connect to phones, tablets and other devices via Bluetooth or a standard audio cable. The headphones are designed specifically for kids but they fit me, albeit a bit tightly. They’re designed to play a maximum of 85 db (safe for up eight hours) and — perhaps because they do fit tightly — they also block out a lot of ambient noise even though they don’t have any active noise canceling technology.

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