I am grateful to live in a time where so much is possible and so many things are much easier. In putting together this article, I look back at a time where hardly any of today’s development seemed plausible or even heard of.
We will be discussing one of the first introductions to technology that you could give your baby. Baby headphones and noise cancelling headphones are the new trendy. Yes, they mean two different things and yes they exist to make your life easier.
Baby headphones are a sweet new technology that is used to give your baby the best experience of some alone time.
Have you ever watched an episode of Mickey Mouse or Dora the Explorer with your toddler? Then, you will agree with me how annoying those sounds can be when you are having a busy day, or you need some peace.
Baby headphones allow your infant to stay occupied with their favorite game or show without creating a fuss. In fact, it keeps them so focused on the show that they are hardly distracted by anything else.
Noise cancelling headphones or earmuffs do just what they sound like, they cancel noise. The function of these particular headphones is to protect your baby’s hearing and keep them calm.
Some parents do not pay much attention to the level of noise surrounding their infants, but I can assure you it is necessary.
Soundproofing is essential to us as adults mainly because we all desire a little tranquility in our homes and workplace to efficiently function. Truth is we should also want to soundproof because it is healthy.
Research shows that Noise-Induced Hearing Loss can happen when people listen to loud sounds. Any noise level above 91 decibels is classified as extremely loud and dangerous to hearing.
Unfortunately, most fun places, marketplaces and workplaces have noise levels well above 91 decibels (dB).
Experts say that loss or impairment of hearing can happen after a short burst of loud sound or consistent exposure to it.
Now, as adults we are at risk in such situations and probably because our ears are fully developed we have acquired a level of tolerance to certain loud sounds but what about your kids or toddlers?
Causes of Hearing Loss in Babies or Toddlers
Research has shown that a leading cause of hearing loss in babies and toddlers are ambient sounds and toys. Yes, toys!
Typically, there is a lot of noise in the streets, at your workplace and so on, but there are also sounds in your home that could be dangerous for young children; For example, the radio, television, kitchen equipment, vacuum cleaner and so on.
Children toys also constitute noise that is dangerous to your child’s health. Hence, you should always check the volume of toys you give to your child.
Festivities that we all love to take our babies to are also quite noisy, and children are exposed to this for the most prolonged periods of time.
How about school? An enclosed space filled with crying, screaming and shrieking kids is equally dangerous to infants.
Children, especially babies have a delicate hearing because for a better part of their childhood their bones will get stronger and more developed. Therefore, it is necessary to be concerned about the level of sound your child is exposed to at all times.
Headphones and earmuffs provide a lucky solution to this generation parents to protect their infants.
Aside from being dangerous to your child’s hearing, noise also irritates most infants. They get restless and upset when an environment seems so rowdy.
It is easy to see that there is a lot that baby headphones and earmuffs can do to make things easier for every parent. Hence, we will be discussing all you need to know about the full benefits, features and qualities to look out for when deciding what headphone is best for your child.
Why do you need baby headphones and noise cancelling headphones? (Full Benefits)
1. To Reduce Noise from The Outside World
Earmuffs and noise cancelling headphones protect your child from loud outside noise. These unique gadgets come with a marked noise reduction rating (NRR) that tell you exactly how much noise they cancel out in decibels.
With this protection in place, you can take your infant with you to games, concerts, hair salons, and also feel safer when your infant is at school
- Prevent loss of hearing- Baby noise cancelling headphones benefit your child’s sound health in a lot of ways. They prevent loss of hearing or impairment now and in the future.
Many adults today suffer from one kind of hearing disorder or the other. Sometimes it begins in old-age. Such disorders are a result of prolonged exposure to loud noise or background noise.
Using noise cancelling headphones or earmuffs protect infants from such noise so that their delicate auditory bones and tissue get the chance to develop fully.
- Solution to ADHD- ADHD is Attention Deficit Human Disorder, a learning disorder that causes overstimulation of sensory nerves. It causes children to lose focus quickly because of distractions from their surroundings.
ADHD is more popular than you could imagine as it affects millions of children all over the world.
Noise cancelling headphones or earmuffs can be a subtle solution to help parents deal with this situation. The headphones will help such children focus by blocking out outside sounds that could cause distractions.
- Ensure developing ears- Infants are more vulnerable to hearing impairment because they have narrower delicate ear canals that are very much in their developing stages. Therefore, children can perceive a sound of as low as 20 decibels to be noise.
Such level of noise is dangerous to your child’s hearing and ear development.
Headphones prevent all that by reducing sound to appropriate levels for children.
3. To Prevent Irritation and Restlessness
Toddlers can also be irritated or upset by noise the same way adults are. The only difference is their way of showing their disapproval.
Some children are uneasy or uncomfortable in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar sounds so, they get restless and cry or throw a fit which is equally stressful for the parent.
The simple solution is not a rejected bribe of ice creams or games, but some peace only baby headphones can provide.
Equipped with these headphones, you can take your child anywhere and give them a chance to get patiently acquainted with new surroundings.
4. It Promotes Fun Alone Time
Ever heard the saying that the best company is your own company? Yeah, well why we do not want to teach our children to live lonely, boring lives, we also should show them to enjoy their own company.
Baby headphones allow toddlers enjoy their favorite game or show alone and undisturbed at regulated sound levels. The great thing about this is that it creates a win-win situation for both you and your infant.
While your baby gets to enjoy SpongeBob on a flight, during a long drive, or over and over again, you get to have some peace and no reason to endure hearing all the sea creatures talking again and again.
5. Easy to pack up and lightweight to leave on
These fantastic headbands are designed in such a way that they add no weight to your carry-on-bag or on your child’s head if you choose to leave it on. They won’t slip off or cause any pain.
There are regular headphones for adults and older children, but the design is never the same as baby headphones.
When it comes to headphones or earmuffs for children a lot of consideration come into play; from preserving or promoting infant health to reducing noise. I have put together the general features of these different headphones.
So, before you go to the store, you have a good idea of what these headphones should look like or contain.
1. Volume Limiting
The primary reason for the headphone ruckus is to reduce or control the level of noise around your infant.
Medical professionals have agreed that children’s headphones should not be set above 85 decibels (dB). However, most baby headphones are placed above this level to compensate for environments that are really rowdy.
Such headphones also have a volume control feature to adjust the level of sounds.
2. Size Of Headband
It is easier to find the right adjustments for an adult headphone than a toddler’s. A baby headphone will come with little headbands, but it is always necessary to find the right fit that assures safety and comfort.
3. Compatible Audio Jack
The baby headphones come with a standard 3.5mm audio jack that is compatible with most devices such as iPads, iPhones, iPods, tablets and cell phones. However, it is not compatible with the Bluetooth iPhone 7.
4. Noise Cancelling Headphones
Earmuffs and noise cancelling headphones are specific on their noise blocking function.
However, some headphones (known as over the ear kid’s headphones) can do the little they can to block out sounds such as airplane engines. But this is not their primary function.
Little earbuds that come with small devices are sometimes offered on planes to keep you occupied during the flight.
However, these are not suitable for infants or young children as they do not fit. Instead, they become a reason for children to get upset and extend their frustration to their parents.
Baby headphones are uniquely designed with smaller ear cups to fit a toddler’s ear. The design comes in two types;
- Over the Ear Kids Headphones
These are larger headphones that cup the whole ear. They stand a chance at blocking out background sounds and allow a lower volume setting.
They are also much more fun as they provide better sound experience. We experience this with our adult headphones.
The only disadvantage is the lack of air circulation using this headphone. So, children’s ears could get warm since the air is also blocked out.
- On The Ear Kids Headphones
These headphones go on the outside of your infant’s ears and are less useful in blocking out outside sounds.
You may also need to increase the volume to get a full experience with these cups. Nevertheless, they are quite comfortable and letting in air.
Every product (gadgets especially) comes in varieties that are designed for its target market. One can imagine the variations in which children headphones come.
Luckily for us parents, these headphones are available in various colors, designs, shapes, size, themes and so on.
All that’s left is to choose what works best for you and your child. Of course, it will look stylish and attractive.
How to Choose Headphones for Your Baby
Going shopping for yourself is sometimes overwhelming, but it gets easier and more straightforward when you know what to look for.
It gets even more confusing when trying to decide what’s best for your baby or kid. The key lies in knowing what to look for when you step into the store.
It helps if you have a little experience with gadgets, but still, there is no cause for alarm if you as blank as a plain paper.
Now, while all headphones are excellent and useful, they may not all be suitable for your child. In selecting that perfect headphone, some factors need to be considered first.
Here are some guidelines to help you check off your list and get what suits best.
1. Decide what you need
Before you can make a choice, your objectives must be clear. As we discussed earlier, there is a thin line between noise cancelling headphones and actual headphones.
Earmuffs do not only provide warmth in the winter but also protect your child’s hearing. They do not have any connectivity settings that aid in playing songs or watching shows. The function of a noise cancelling headphones is to cancel sound and nothing more.
However, if this is not your primary aim and you need something that can keep your child occupied or focused, then the headphones are the way to go. If you choose the right fit, you can get headphones that reduces background noise and still gives a full experience.
In all, we do as parents the safety of our children comes first. Hence, every decision we make for them must be foolproof.
If a headphone is not safe for your child, then you do not need it. A safe headphone should be designed in such a way that little parts, wires or anything that could count as dangerous to your child are properly tucked away.
Based on this, earbuds or earplugs could be unsafe for a younger child.
It always boils down to what you can afford. While we may all want that sleek and beautiful object, it might cost more than we have.
Ideally, children’s headphones should cost so much but if you have a budget work with that. There is always a variety to choose from in particular range of costs.
Most gadgets are heavy or at least possess considerable weight. What you want for your child is something light.
A light headphone is comfortable for your child to carry or hang around the neck without causing backache or neck ache. It will also not interfere with the bone structure of your baby.
5. Soft and Comfortable
Children are particular about comfort. If you buy them cloth or shoes that are hard and uncomfortable, they won’t wear them. When purchasing a headphone or earmuff ensure that they are soft and comfortable so your child can benefit from using them.
6. Noise Reduction rate
The noise reduction rate is calculated in laboratories and is usually indicated on the headphone or earmuff. With these numbers, it is the higher, the better. The numbers tell you how active the earmuffs will be at reducing sound.
An ideal earmuff or noise-cancelling headphone will allow your child know what is happening without being exposed to loud or disturbing noise from the surroundings.
Durability is a major factor when purchasing anything especially gadgets and toys for babies. If the item is not strong or sturdy, then its days are counted.
Children pull, smash and tug at items such as headphones especially when they keep hanging on their necks or seem stuck to their ears.
Hence, manufacturers put this into consideration to develop headphones with sturdy and durable quality materials. When purchasing the headphones take a few minutes to view the reviews of other customers, feel the product in your hands or ask someone’s opinion.
8. Volume Control
First, all headphones should have a volume control feature so either you or your child can reduce or increase sound.
It is also best that the headphone has a sound limiting feature that does not allow the volume go above a certain level. For instance, 85 decibels is an adequate limiting volume, but 70 decibels is much better.
Note that some headphones allow sound levels exceed 85 decibels, but an ideal, quality headphone should have the sound limiting feature.
It is also vital you monitor the volume levels your child sets the headphones to. At a safe decibel, you should be unable to hear the sound coming from the headphone when you are around your child.
Size is a safety factor. It is unsafe for babies and younger children to wear earbuds. It is dangerous to their health as they could suck or swallow it without your knowledge.
Purchase larger headphones that cover their ears with a fitting or adjustable headband.
The headphones should be on or over as discussed earlier, depending on your preference.
For a headphone to function as a distraction, it must have a defined way of connecting to other devices. Headphones are usually wired or wireless with a range of devices they can connect to.
If you want something unique and long-lasting, then you have to consider the headphones’ adjustment feature or an earmuff that is adjustable.
These items are not so cheap to purchase now and then, so they are expected to last a bit longer.
Knowing that children (especially) babies grow every day, it is wise to purchase adjustable earmuffs that can grow with your child.
12. Beauty, Style and Color
Children are always associated with beautiful things. They are attracted to them and will be better inclined to wear them.
When purchasing the headphones or earmuffs select something pretty that gives your child their style. Some of these items have themes, like a Mickey Mouse ears or a bunny ear, whichever your child would think is cool and fun.
To make this easier, you can take your child with you to pick the colour he likes best.
Now that we know so much about headphones and earmuffs- what they do, how to pick them- we have to know when to use them.
This is important because using these gadgets without a level of control or discretion can yield problems we do not need. So, here goes;
When is Hearing Protection Needed for your Toddler?
- At an event with loud, uncontrolled noise. For example a game, carnival, festival, parade, wedding party and so on. Using a sound barrier such as earmuff at this time can also induce rest and sleep in your infant. Leaving you to enjoy your day.
- During noisy house chores. Such chores could include grinding, drilling or using the vacuum cleaner
- On the plane or during a long drive.
At what age can you purchase noise cancelling headphones or baby headphones for your child?
Technology says any age. There are earmuffs and noise cancelling headphones specially designed for newborn babies (three months and counting) to specific ages up. You do not have to be scared of introducing them to your young infant because these items are extra soft, extra light, extra pretty and extra soundproof.
Should Parents Limit The Use Of Headphones?
These headphones may be your baby’s introduction to technology and an introduction to a new obsession.
If you are purchasing the earmuffs to reduce noise, then you don’t have to worry about your child making it an obsession. However, if you are buying a headphone to keep your child more occupied than usual, then you will need to do some checks and balances to keep this plan foolproof.
Children can get carried away with their new “toy”, increasing it to high volumes or refusing to take it off. This can equally damage the ear and do more harm than good to your child’s hearing. Therefore, you have to take one of two solutions;
- Regulate the amount of time your child spends using the headphones
- Regulate the volume of the headphones using a volume setting feature or adapters.
A few hours a day at an appropriate volume is sufficient for your child to use the headphones. For younger infants, earmuffs should be suitable most of the time and headphones only when necessary.
If you have older children, educate them on the danger of prolonged or loud sounds to their hearing. Also, try to set a limit volume on their device if possible.
A volume limiting adapter acts as a very short extension to your existing headphone cable. It comes with an in-line resistor built into the adapter. Purchase one for your kids both younger and older. Place it as a middleman connection, in-between your device, and the headphones and the volume are immediately limited.
Soundproofing or noise-reduction is a relative term. Rapid developments and innovations make it easier to maintain our sanity in this busy world. It is now possible to keep loud sounds out of your home, office, bedrooms, bathrooms, and so on.
In parenting, things just got easier with the advent of earmuffs, noise cancelling headphones and baby headphones. It also solves so many problems at once for busy, outgoing, and worrisome parents.
If you have to work from home and you need your baby to stay quiet and occupied headphones are all you need.
If your child gets easily irritated by sounds or you are equally worried about his exposure to noise at school, at home or in a busy environment like a game, then earmuffs can solve your problem.
These items are a great way to safeguard your child’s developing ears, also orient them on the importance of avoiding loud sounds and hearing impairments in the future. If everyone were conscious on the level of noise around us, the world would be a much quieter place. But this is not the case, and we must do what we can for our infants.
For children with hearing disorders or focus problems earmuffs, noise cancelling headphones and baby headphones can help subtly.
They keep loud sounds from doing more damage to the situation and help to train your child to focus on relevant sounds, like his teachers.
Thanks for reading! Before you go, take a minute out and check out my top recommendation for noise canceling headphones.