Being a parent is tough, especially since technology is so readily available for your kids nowadays. The little ones watch cartoons on the iPad, older ones play loud music from their phones in their room. The best alternative to listening to the same thing over and over again seems to be giving them your old headphones.

The problem with regular headphones is that they’re not built for sensitive eardrums. Exposing your child to the wrong kinds of headphones early can be very detrimental to their hearing, which can result in temporary or even permanent hearing damage. Hence, the best headphones for kids of any age must be keeping volume under control to make sure that no permanent damage or hearing loss can occur.

What Causes Hearing Damage?

You don’t need a loud bang to get hearing loss. It depends on a range of factors like length of exposure, the sound’s vicinity to your eardrums, and how loud the sound is.

Loud sounds cause hearing damage faster, so you might lose your hearing when you hear a gun or an explosion. However, it doesn’t take an explosion for you to lose your hearing – quiet to moderate sounds do that to you, too, over an extended period of time.

The CDC studied how long it takes to damage your ears based on the loudness of the sound measured by dB. At 85dB, it takes 8 hours of continuous exposure to start causing damage to your ears.

Conversely, it only takes 25 seconds of exposure to 115dB to start hurting your ears. That’s barely 1/10 of a song! 115dB is not overly loud, either. It’s normally the loudest a modern smartphone can go, so if you’ve ever listened to music at max volume, you’ve done your ears wrong.

You can try to teach your kids to use normal headphones properly – not turning the volume all the way up, nor stuffing the earbuds all the way in their ears etc. But you know that all that goes out the window when your kids can’t hear the video. Baby wailing in the background? The volume button’s getting maxed out.

However, with volume-limited headphones, you can sit back and enjoy some Fortnite-free time while your children enjoy entertainment of their own without compromising their ear health!

What Are Volume-Limiting Headphones?

To spare your children (and you) from dealing with early-onset hearing damage, it’s best to invest in a good pair of volume-limiting headphones when they start using headphones. Volume-limiting headphones are headphones that are capped at 85 dB. It’s the loudest sound your kids’ ears are able to ensure without giving them ear damage or hearing loss – perfect if your kid can’t get their hands off the volume button.

How Does It Work?

These volume-limiting headphones work through resistors. These electrical components create resistance in an electric circuit in the headphones. They lower the current flow from the jack of your headphones to the actual headphones to keep the sound within safe limits.

What Kinds Of Volume-Limited Headphones Are There?

There are many options for volume-limited headphones on the market nowadays, so which should you pick?

Over-Ear Volume-Limiting Headphones

One of the key features of over-ear headphones is the noise isolation function. The big earcups isolate a lot of background noise, which in itself might eliminate the need to turn up the volume for most kids.

Not only that, but over-ear headphones also provide great comfort since most of them have adjustable headbands with poofy earcups. The catch is that they might be too warm for your mini-me. Look for soft and breathable material on the earcups to ensure your child doesn’t yank it off when they get sweaty.

On-Ear Volume-Limiting Headphones

On-ear volume-limiting headphones are a smaller version of over-ear headphones. Most on-ear headphones are foldable and compact, so you can bring them around everywhere you go.

Comfort is huge on on-ear, volume-limiting headphones. Unlike over-ear headphones, the earcups rest on your ears instead of completely covering them. Although it might not isolate outside noise as well as over-ear headphones, it makes it up by not making your kids’ ears sweat. The headband is also more comfortable most of the time since it tends to weigh less.

In-Ear Volume-Limiting Headphones

In-ear volume-limiting headphones are better suited for teenagers or older children since they either goes into their ear canals or sits right outside. Even with the volume limit, it might still be too loud for your younger children since it goes closer to the ear canals than other types of headphones.

The best thing about in-ear volume-limiting headphones is that it takes up very little storage space. Your teen can listen to their music or watch videos wherever they want without compromising their ear health.

Some pricier models of in-ear volume-limiting headphones can also dampen the sound. Just like over-ear headphones, your children don’t have to crack up the volume to hear better if the headphones isolate outside sounds.

Can Your Toddler Wear Volume-Limiting Headphones?

Although kids of all ages can use volume-limiting headphones, there are a few extra steps you should take when it comes to your toddler.

Earcup Size

It’s important to avoid earbuds or any device that you insert into your toddler’s ear canals, as these earcups can damage their hearing. Instead, opt for over-ear or on-ear headphones. You should also make sure that the earcups fit your toddler’s ears. It sucks for both your child and you when the earcups fall or slide every time you use them.


You don’t want your toddler to yank the headphones off and hulk-smash it, so buy something comfortable. Adjustable headbands are a must when you’re buying headphones for toddlers. Not only is it more comfortable, but your kids can also keep using it as they grow. Besides that, you should also get headphones with soft earcups that provide enough cushion and comfort.


Toddlers love to grab things, so go wireless! Wireless headphones are great since your toddler can’t put the wires in their mouth and chew on them.

If you do want to get wired volume-limiting headphones, pick one that has durable cables. Replacing broken headphones can quickly become expensive, so you’d want a pair to last as long as possible. We’d definitely recommend a pair that has nylon coating as they can survive even the beginnings of a toddler’s teeth.


Volume-limiting headphones are a godsend for busy parents with children who love listening to music or watching video games. Your kids can listen to what they want on their phones without compromising their ears and your sanity. It’s a win-win situation.

A good place to start is over-ear volume-limiting headphones. These isolate sound, so your children don’t have to turn up the volume very high to listen to their favorite videos. On-ear headphones are also a good alternative if you value comfort over sound isolation.