Headphones are now a part of most kid’s lives, and although they can be useful, they also pose a significant health risk to your child’s hearing. This is why it’s important for parents — who do the purchasing — to know which headphones are the best for children.
Think all headphones are alike? Not so. When kids are exposed to loud noises for extended periods of time, it can cause them to develop noise-induced hearing loss, tinnitus, hyperacusis, or other troubling ear-related issues. Most mp3 players can produce sound of up to 120 decibels. This is the equivalent to the sound level of a rock concert – right in your child’s ears. Just fifteen minutes of exposure can cause serious hearing damage. Children who regularly listen to music, video games, or any other digital entertainment through headphones can quickly accumulate significant hearing damage.
Not all headphones are created equal. There are two main types: earbuds (ones that go into your ear) and over-the-ear headphones (ones that rest on top of your ear). Of the two main types, earbuds are far worse for your child’s hearing.
Earbuds rest in your ear canal and are much closer to your eardrum. This amplifies the sound by 6 to 9 decibels — enough to cause some serious problems. Earbuds also fail at blocking out background noise, which often makes a person feel like they need to turn the volume up even more when using them.