The best headphones for kids that won‘t hurt their ears

The best headphones for kids that won‘t hurt their ears

If you‘re shopping for headphones for your kids, the safest option is a pair that limits the maximum volume. Out of nearly 20 models we tested, the best ones are the. They‘re a bit pricier than most, but they‘re well-built, sound great, and have effective wired and wireless volume limits—when used properly.

Why should you buy volume-limiting headphones? Because even cheap earbuds can dangerously exceed. Noise-induced hearing loss can start showing up in even young children, and.

Worst of all? Many volume-limiting headphones are capable of exceeding their advertised limits with nothing more powerful than an iPhone. To sort out the good from the bad, we put 19 models through the ringer in our state-of-the-art audio lab. If you want to dig into the nitty gritty of how we tested, why, and what a $25,000 dummy wearing kids‘ headphones looks like, I highly recommend. If you just want to know what to buy, here‘s what you need to know:


  • Experts recommend a max volume of 85dB for no more than 60min/day. For adults, noise exposure is. An iPhone‘s earbuds can easily average 105dB at full volume, which can be hazardous after just a few minutes.

  • Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is permanent. NIHL is cumulative, may not become apparent until years later, and it. Caution is key—we don‘t know exactly where the “safe” threshold is.

  • Volume-limiting headphones are not a guarantee of safety. We used an iPhone 7 Plus for our tests, but anything more powerful—like an amp—could drive even the best wired models we tested above recommended levels. Your best bet is to go wireless if possible, or just turn the volume to about 60% of the max.

The Puro BT2200 headphones look good, sound great, are durable, are well-designed, and have effective volume limits. (Photo: Reviewed / TJ Donegan)

Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Kids Headphones

Best Overall

If you‘re looking for a high-quality pair of volume-limited headphones, the Puro BT2200 is the way to go. Though they‘re the priciest of the pairs we looked at, that‘s because they have the best combination of comfort, build quality, and sound quality. They are a bit too big for a toddler, but they should fit school-age children and up quite well.

In our tests, the BT2200s played at about 82-84.6dB(a) when used wirelessly at full volume, with about 12 hours of battery life. And because they run off their own internal power when in Bluetooth mode, there‘s no risk of them being overpowered. When used wired with our standard source (an iPhone 7 Plus with the Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter), they topped out right at the 85dB(a) threshold—as long as you plug the volume-limiting cable in the right way.

Our one issue is that the cable can easily be plugged in the wrong way (I did, the first time). This pushed the max volume to 96-100dB(a) in our tests, which could cause damage. The cable does have “Headphones→” written on it so you know which end is which, but these should really be designed so the cable only plugs in the correct way.



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