Kids of all ages love digital media almost as much as their parents do. Little ones are operating tablets and iPads before they ever set foot in a classroom, and getting tweens to peel their eyes off their smartphones is more challenging than getting them to eat their vegetables. On the one hand, you want your child to enjoy their favorite YouTube series or song. On the other hand, more screen time for them translates to more background noise for you. One solution would be to buy a pair of the best earbuds for kids on the market; the only problem is, options are limited.
The reason why there really isn’t a wide selection of earbuds for kids on the market is that loud noises, especially concentrated loud noises funneling directly into the ear canal can be damaging to young people’s ears. Additionally, because of how earbuds are designed, they might feel uncomfortable, hurt, or cause physical irritation. That being said, according to James F. Battey, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., former director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, earphones are safe for children as long as they produce sound at “low, nontoxic level.”
“My rule of thumb is, if an individual is standing at arm’s length from you and they can hear your earbuds … that noise is probably too loud,” Battey told The Healthcare Policy Podcast in January 2017. “[Under these circumstances,] if delivered for a long enough time, [using earbuds could] cause noise-induced hearing loss.”
So, Should Kids Use Headphones or Earbuds?
There are pros and cons to kids using both the traditional headphones you grew up plugging into your Walkman, and the high-tech earbuds you now use for Zoom meetings or at the gym. For example, the enlarged, cushioned ear cups on headphones might be more comfortable for your child to wear and by cupping the entire ear, they create an immersive listening experience that isn’t as harsh on their ears. They might also find the adjustable headbands of traditional headphones feel more secure than wireless earbuds. It’s also worth mentioning headphones are said to have a longer battery life than alternative options.
Conversely, compact earbuds offer a kind of heightened listening experience, too. Some are noise-canceling, counteracting any distracting external sounds, and wireless options eliminate the age-old hassle of detangling cords. And while traditional headphones limit your electronic usage to devices with headphone jacks; wireless earbuds can connect to any device, anywhere, at any given time. However, earbuds are so small that, for very young children, they could be a choking hazard. If you choose to let your kid use a wireless earbud, look for devices that have a volume limiter. According to the World Health Organization, decibels should max at 85 to protect their hearing.
Taking all of this into consideration, we did some digging and scoured the internet to find the best earbuds for kids that are currently available for purchase. Check out your options below.
1. Kurdene Wireless Earbuds
These wireless earbuds from Kurdene have racked up over 24k rave reviews on Amazon, and not solely for their sound quality. The Bluetooth 5.0 device works just as well for children as it does for adults, starting with sizing. Each purchase includes six sizes of ear tips, so you can swap between uses, making sure the buds sit comfortably in your child’s ear. As far as special features go, the device boasts a 50ft no-obstacle range (so kids can roam the house without missing a literal beat), Hi-Fi sound quality, and 3D surround stereo. One full charge yields a whopping 30 hours of sound, making Kurdene wireless earbuds the perfect travel companion for your backseat passengers.
Kurdene earbuds also operate on touch controls, so once they connect to a device (the earbuds are compatible with tablets, laptops, iOS and Android smartphones) users can play and pause music, lower or raise the volume, fast forward and rewind songs and videos, etc. with a single (or double) tap of a button. And don’t panic if your child gets caught in the rain or the earbuds get sweaty as they play; the earbuds are IP68 waterproof, protected from perspiration and droplets of any kind.
2. LilGadgets BestBuds Volume Limited In-Ear Headphones with Mic for Children
BEST VOLUME LIMITATION
Not all earbuds cleared for child use have a volume limitation feature; for LilGadgets, it was a priority. LilGadgets BestBuds headphones were designed for kids six years and older, and come with three sizes of SoftTouch earbud covers so you can customize the pair to comfortably fit your child. The in-ear headphones are connected to a tangle-free audio cable with an inline microphone with play/pause/answer call/end call functionalities, and a SharePort adapter that lets them share media with family and friends.
3. Romatiteens True Wireless Earbuds
BEST KID-FRIENDLY AESTHETIC
Whether you’re shopping for the best earbuds for little kids or tweens, both demographics are drawn to products (electronics included) that are aesthetically pleasing (and often cutesy). So while technically speaking, Romatiteens True Wireless Earbuds can be used by both children and adults, their animal designs definitely speak to a younger age group. What’s more, the device is made from Safe SDS-certified materials, making it a safe option for children. And as far as special features go, the kid-friendly earbuds boast stereo surround sound, noise cancellation, six hours of playtime off one full charge, and an impressive 52ft connection range.
4. Factorymall Kids Earbud Headphones
We don’t blame you if you’re not willing to pay top dollar for a pair of child-friendly earbuds. After all, kids will be kids, meaning there’s a definite chance said earbuds will get lost or be destroyed. Luckily this bulk package of earbuds from Factorymall includes 10 in-ear headphones for less than a 10-spot, meaning each individual headphone costs less than a dollar. Great for at-home or in-school use, Factorymall’s earbuds for kids are made with environment-friendly wire with a thick wire that’s surprisingly good quality for the price, offer users clear stereo sound, and come in a variety of colors your little one can choose from.
5. Apple AirPods
BEST FOR THE FAMILY
While Apple AirPods aren’t marketed specifically for kids, there is no age recommendation regarding how old you have to be to use this kind of device. Kids can technically use them, but it’s ultimately up to you as the parent to decide whether or not you want (or feel comfortable with) your child borrowing this pricey pair of earbuds. But aside from the issue of whether or not you feel your child or teen is responsible enough to handle expensive electronics, you also want to make sure the device’s sound levels won’t be harmful to their ears. To do so, add “hearing” to your iPhone’s Control Center so you can adjust the audio levels accordingly.