Are you looking for a pair of noise-canceling headphones for your kids?
Whether you want to help them study, get through a long plane journey, or just improve their audio experience, one thing is clear—adult headphones will not suffice. They’re too big, and that’s before you start worrying about things like durability and choking hazards. Instead, you need some specialized kids’ equipment.
Here are the best noise-canceling headphones you can currently buy for children.
Active Noise Canceling vs. Passive Noise Canceling
Before we dive into the list, let’s take a moment to ensure you understand the differences between the two main noise canceling technologies.
- Active Noise Canceling: Active noise canceling headphones have a microphone, digital signal processor (DSP), and battery unit inside the headset. The mic listens to external sounds then uses the DSP to play the exact opposite sound frequencies. Doing so cancels out the intruding noise.
- Passive Noise Canceling: Passive noise isolation headphones use non-electrical methods to diminish external sounds. They attempt to seal the ear canal using high-density foam or tightly-fitting earbuds.
If you’d like to learn more about these differences, check out our in-depth analysis of noise canceling vs. noise isolation.
While adults have a great choice of noise-canceling headphones, electrical safety reasons mean it’s almost impossible to find active noise canceling headphones for kids. But there are some great passive options. Keep reading to find out our top seven noise canceling headphones for children.
LilGadgets’ Untangled Pro headphones offer 13dB of passive noise cancellation.
For safety, all the headphones are limited to a maximum audio output of 93dB. That’s above the industry standard of 85dB, but the number has been specifically chosen so that when combined with the headphone’s noise cancellation, the output is still comfortably audible on a plane.
Because of the slightly higher decibel limits, the headphones are only suitable for children aged four and older.
Inside the headphones are studio-grade 40mm drivers with a range of 20Hz to 20kHz. There’s also a built-in microphone. The batteries last for 12 hours of continuous listening and up to 180 hours when in standby mode.
The Untangled Pro headphones are available in six different colors.
The JBuddies are arguably the best cheap noise canceling headphones for kids that you will find. They use passive noise cancellation.
JBuddies are limited to 90dB and a thus aimed at children aged two and above.
Features wise, you’ll find an on-headphone volume knob for easy adjustments, hypoallergenic ear cushions, and a travel pouch.
Kids will also love the JBuddies customization options—the headphones come with a selection of stickers so your children can make it look the way they want.
These kids’ headphones come in three colors.
At the other end of the price scale, we have the passive noise canceling Nabi Headphones.
The standout feature is the dual listening mode—one for parents, and one for kids. The child mode limits volume to 80dB. The adult mode has no such limits; you’ll be able to play your favorite heavy rock music with the volume turned up to 11.
Under the hood, you’ll find a 40mm driver. The headphones also include a microphone (on the audio cable) and leather ear cushions.
The Nabi Headphones weigh just 0.24 kilograms.
While covering the 2018 IFA Conference in Germany, we noticed this fantastic pair of headphones from BuddyPhones.
The company’s entire product line is dedicated to kids. There are wired and wireless headphones, as well as accessories such as cases, airplane adapters, and sticker sets.
The Play model is our favorite. It uses passive noise isolation technology. The headphones offer 14 hours of battery life, a 360-degree integrated microphone, Bluetooth support, and customizable stickers. They are also foldable.
Parents can also limit the volume depending on their age of their child. It’s 75dB for toddlers, 85dB for kids, and a maximum of 94dB for noisy environments like planes and cars.
It’s also worth mentioning the BuddyCables accessory. It’s an audio cable with a built-in audio splitter. It allows four sets of headphones to connect to a single device without the need for adapters. No more arguing over whose turn it is to watch YouTube!
Babies under the age of 18 months really shouldn’t be listening to music via headphones. You don’t know what long-term effects it might have on their still-developing ears.
But it doesn’t mean that little ones can’t benefit from some peace and quiet, especially in noisy situations. It can reduce stress, calm a child down, and give them a much-needed sensory break.
Instead of headphones, you can opt for noise-canceling ear muffs with very young children. We like the Baby Earmuffs from Ems for Kids. They have a double-layer foam core, adjustable straps, and a wide range of colors. They are even suitable for newborns.
Vic Firth Kidphones are passive noise canceling headphones that can reduce ambient sounds by 22dB. It is the highest noise reduction out of all the products in this list.
They weigh 9.6 ounces and are made out of synthetic materials.
Parents whose children have autism or ADHD have specifically recommended the product. Here’s a sample Amazon comment:
“I would recommend this product to every parent of an autistic child with sensitive hearing and sensory issues. This was wonderful on our trip to Disneyland. They fit great, and he wore them for 12 hours straight. Not only do they block out a great deal of noise, but they seemed to give him comfort as well.”
We leave you with the Califone 2810-BE headphones for kids. Thanks to the animal-themed design, they’re only suitable for younger children.
The passive noise canceling feature uses foam-filled leatherette ear cushions. There are also other kid-friendly features such as a 90-degree audio-in port to prevent accidental removal, a large volume knob for easy adjustment, a 5.5-foot audio cable, and an adjustable head strap.
From a technical standpoint, the Califone 2810-BE headphones have a 30mm driver and 98dB of output.
The Califone 2810-BE product is also exceptionally durable. It’s made out of ABS plastic, so will withstand heavy-handed usage from even the most boisterous children.
Other Ways to Protect Your Child
Noise canceling headphones for kids are just one way technology can help you protect your children.