Getting Ready for School: Safe Earbuds and Headphones for Kids

Little girl is getting ready for school, wearing headphones and using a computer.

This fall, kids of all ages will experience school in different ways. Many will learn from home, taking classes online or homeschooling. Others could have a mix of in-person and at-home learning experiences. Getting ready for school this year, kids will need notebooks, pencils and markers. But kids also will need safe earbuds and headphones, since they will spend hours on digital devices for school. Review four tips to help parents and caregivers find the right style.

  1. Volume control, noise-reduction

    When using headphones or earbuds, kids tend to turn up the volume. But listening at a high volume can cause hearing damage. When getting ready to choose earbuds or headphones for young children, look for a style with volume control. It helps parents and caregivers limit the sound level.

    Hearing experts recommend that kids of all ages should follow a 60/60 rule: Use headphones and earbuds at 60% volume. (If parents or caregivers can hear sounds from the headphones or earbuds, the volume is too high.) Then listen for only 60 minutes at a time. After an hour, maybe between school classes, kids need to take a break to allow their hearing to rest and recover.

    One way to help kids turn down the volume is getting earbuds or headphones that block out the noise around them. Look for a noise-canceling style that prevents at least 82% of background or ambient noise.

    In addition, kids spending hours with digital devices may complain of dry eyes, eye strain or headaches. These symptoms may be caused by too much screen time. So getting ready for school also includes setting limits, so kids’ audio and visual senses aren’t overloaded.

  1. Clear, quality sound

    When purchasing earbuds or headphones, check the sound quality. The sound should be clear and precise. Make sure bass levels are low so they don’t overwhelm other sounds.

  1. Comfy, proper fit

    The right headphone style should have cushioned ear cups that fit comfortably over, or on, kids’ ears. If using earbuds, they should come ready to use with silicon tips in several sizes. Choose a size that fits well inside kids’ ears, so the earbuds don’t fall out. You don’t want your child missing out on school room discussions.

    For young kids, consider getting a headband option that has small speakers tucked in the area over the ears. These headbands are made of stretchy material that fits comfortably around kids’ heads. This style works well for younger children, or kids with special needs or sensory issues.

  1. Cord, no cord

    Older kids probably will prefer cordless Bluetooth earbuds or headphones, so they have more freedom. So during school sessions, they can easily step away from their digital device to stretch or get a drink while still listening. But younger kids may not understand how to connect Bluetooth and prefer a cord. When getting ready to use headphones with a cord each school day, use a cord of rugged design so it won’t get tangled or break.

    Kids need good hearing to grow and develop. Research shows that 25% to 35% of kids with hearing loss in both ears are at risk of falling behind in school. Good hearing and vision will help your child be ready to succeed in school.

NY Times Wirecutter
The Best Earbuds
Teens Health

Leave a comment