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The Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones for Babies and Toddlers, According to an Ear Doctor

Because the world is noisy and kids' ears are delicate.

Baby headphones look like colorful oversized ear bagels, but they serve a very vital purpose. The best baby noise-cancelling headphones provide baby ear protection, which is something you probably don’t really think about until you find yourself in a very loud place. As an added bonus, noise-cancelling headphones for kids give you a break from having to listen to Frozen 2 on repeat, while they can revel in all things Elsa at a safe volume.

Infants and young children have particularly delicate eardrums that can easily be damaged by repeated exposure to loud sounds (anything louder than 70 decibels, which is about as loud as a standard vacuum cleaner), which can lead to hearing problems.

“Wearing hearing protection makes all of the sounds softer and can offer vital protection to ears that are still developing,” says Dr. Hanna Page, a doctor of audiology.

The best ear protective devices for toddlers and infants are large contractor-style over-the-ear headphones or earmuffs. These are easy to put on, and simple for parents to use. The most important thing to look for when shopping for a pair is that they have a noise reduction rating (NRR) of 20 or better. The higher the rating, the more protection children get. With kids’ headphones, you ideally want a pair that allows you to limit the volume to 85 decibels, a level that’s considered “safer” by the World Health Organization.

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The Best Baby Noise Cancelling Headphones

Perfect for babies from birth until 24 months, these headphones have a noise reduction rating of 31dB, which is significantly higher than the recommended 20 NRR. They have foam cushioning, so they're comfortable. And they weigh less than a softball.

Think of this as a headband with earmuffs attached; you can remove them and attach them as needed. The earmuffs weigh just under 5 ounces, and the headband is adjustable. They have a noise reduction rating of 18dB, so they're better-suited for situations requiring less hearing protection.

 

The Best Toddler Noise Cancelling Headphones

These noise-cancelling earmuffs provide passive noise reduction and are ideal for sporting events; they have a 22 noise reduction rating.The earmuffs have a GrowBand that easily fits kids from birth to age four, so they're particularly suitable for growing toddlers.

This is what you want for your toddler or preschooler to put on to watch a movie during dinner, at a safe volume. These wired earmuffs have a decibel limit of 75; they pair with a device, and you control the volume remotely. They have a noise reduction rating of 31, so again, well above the suggested number.

The Best Noise Cancelling Headphones for Kids

These noise-cancelling headphones have a volume limit of 85 decibels. They're lightweight, with comfortable ear cups and a cushioned headband. And they provide 82 percent ambient noise isolation and they also work for 18 hours on a single charge. They have one-touch Bluetooth pairing with Apple and Android devices.

This wired kiddie model weighs about as much as a deck of cards, and caps the volume at 85 decibels. The cushions are ultra-padded and sized for little ears. Plus, picky kids can choose whatever color they like.

These wired kids' headphones have a share-port, so they can listen to music or movies together, eliminating the need for a splitter. The volume limit is 93 decibels, but the headphones have passive noise cancellation as well.

These wireless headphones have up to 22 hours of battery life. The volume is capped at 85 decibels. The headphones have easy one-touch Bluetooth pairing with iPhone, Android, and devices, and a 30-foot range of movement.

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