best headphones for youth 2022 by AI Consumer Report is updated by A perfect galaxy A perfect galaxy is a type of technology collecting all necessary data to analyze and select Headphones products...
By our thirties, if not sooner, the vast majority of us have some form of hearing loss compared with the pristine abilities of a young person's ears. Kids can hear frequencies older people can't, mainly because they haven't been exposed to the loud elements of the world for as much time as we have. Aside from quick, intense bursts of loud sound, the main reason for hearing loss is prolonged, continuous exposure to audio at high levels. It should come as no surprise that headphones and earphones are, therefore, the culprits behind much of the gradual hearing loss in adults. In the smartphone and tablet era, kids are listening to headphones from an early age, and the need to keep overall volume levels to a reasonable maximum is real.
Also, kids break things, lose things, or simply tire of things and stop using them. All of these issues factor into the decisions manufacturers make when designing headphones for kids. Excellent sound quality with volume limitation might be all your child needs, but perhaps a waterproof build or a budget-friendly price are more important to you. Here we'll tackle the basics of kids' headphones and what to pay attention to when shopping for a pair. We've also listed the best models we've tested to date.
What Is Volume Limiting?
First off, beware of headphones that are marketed for kids—with colorful patterns or popular characters emblazoned on the headband, for instance—but have no volume limiting at all. Not all kids' headphones are concerned with keeping volume to a reasonable level. That said, we only review pairs that claim to keep volume low.
The Best Kids' Headphone Deals This Week*
*Deals are selected by our partner, TechBargains
- Noot K22 Foldable On-Ear Headphones — $18.99 (List Price $19.99)
- Koss KPH7V Portable On-Ear Headphone — $6.99
- Sony ZX Series Wired On-Ear Headphones — $8.97 (List Price $19.99)
- iClever HS19 Kids Headphones — $14.99 (List Price $18.99)
- JLab Studio On-Ear Headpohones — $12.99 (List Price $20)
Though most kids' headphones aim for volume levels below 85dB, not every model limits volume in the same way. Perhaps the most straightforward is to go with a wireless pair that connects via Bluetooth, as Bluetooth shouldn't exceed the advertised volume limit. But be advised that some Bluetooth models ship with audio cables for wired listening, and might only offer true volume limitation in wireless mode. Sometimes, as with the LilGadgets Untangled Pro, the wired listening experience can be notably louder.
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LilGadgets co-founder Jason Hembrey acknowledges this, stating that there's simply more control with Bluetooth, whereas wired headphones rely on the internal amplifier of the connected computer, phone, or tablet. According to Hembrey, "A device with a weaker internal amplifier will sound quieter than one with a stronger internal amplifier." We tested some wired options that manage to stay below 85dB—but some have recessed defeat switches that allow the volume to get just as loud as normal adult headphones. Simply put, with wired models, the volume limits advertised are more likely to be a goal rather than a completely accurate specification.
Most of the kids-focused models out there are on-ear or over-ear headphones; in-ear models aren't terribly popular in this realm. Thus, the main variant in models we've tested is whether they use a cable or are wireless—or both.
For all of these reasons, you may wish to limit volume output on your child's mobile device itself within the settings menu. In most cases, these settings can be password-protected so your child can't go in and adjust them. Particularly with wired options that are more likely to exceed 85dB, this measure is highly recommended.
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The 85dB Debate
Another facet of the volume debate is just what level is necessary to set as a limit. The norm across the kids' headphone realm seems to be 85dB.
LilGadgets says that this level is based upon safe listening for eight continuous hours, and that headphones can be somewhat louder if your child is listening for shorter continuous time spans—thus, the Untangled Pro headphones intentionally reach a volume level of 93dB, which allows them to better compete with airplane rumble or car noises on road trips. As long as the listening session doesn't exceed two hours before there's at least a 10-minute break, LilGadgets contests that volume levels up to 93dB are safe, and are more likely to create a better listening experience for your child.
See How We Test Headphones
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So if you're going to monitor your child's headphone usage, perhaps the LilGadgets methodology makes sense for you. But if you're worried that it will be difficult to do, a hard stop at 85dB could make more sense for you and your child.
Do Kids Need Microphones?
These days, if a pair of headphones intended for adults comes with a cable that has no inline remote or microphone, it had better be a professional model intended for the recording studio or designed for use with home theaters and stereos. Simply put, most people connect their headphones to their smartphone, and often use them to take calls while on the go.
With kids' headphones, however, it's less clear whether the lack of a mic is a disadvantage. Not every parent necessarily wants a mic built into headphones for their child. For instance, you might not want to encourage your child to use their headphones like a gaming headset. It's worth checking out our reviews to see if your pair of choice includes a mic or not.
How Much Should You Spend on Kids' Headphones?
Finally, price is likely to play a major factor in your buying decision. Most parents I know are hesitant to drop $100 on a pair headphones for themselves, much less their kids, often in fear that those headphones will break easily in the hands of a child. The good news is there are plenty of options for under $50. And when a pair seems overpriced for what it offers, we point it out in the review.
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Once you've chosen the right headphones for your kids, check out our tips on taking care of them and using them the right way. And for more buying advice for little ones, head over to our lists of The Best Phones for Kids, The Best Tablets for Kids, and The Best Laptops for Kids.
best headphones for youth is updated by A perfect galaxy A perfect galaxy is a type of technology collecting all necessary data to analyze and select Headphones products.