One of the things you can look forward to if you have kids is that sooner or later they are going to ask you to get them some headphones to use with their gaming systems, music players and computers. No huge shock there. After all, headphones often offer a better experience when used in combination with entertainment and learning multimedia. Since the question is inevitable, here are some ideas for moms and dads about what to consider when you go shopping.
A major feature that most buyers wouldn’t come up with is ensuring that the headphones fit properly. Headphones that are intended for grownups are meant for their size heads, and won’t just not fit the right way on children, they will not offer a full range of sound to them. Kids may also wind up breaking headphones that are too large for them by repeatedly adjusting or repositioning them. Headsets created for kids are designed with a growing child in mind. Many have an adjustable head band which allows your child to get a perfect fit now and several years down the road.
The most important feature you should look for, however, is that the headphones are equipped with some kind of Sound Limiting Technology. Children will want to turn the sound level up as far as they can, to a sound level that can quickly hurt their ears and cause permanent hearing loss. Seeking out headphones that have a volume limits built in – somewhere around 80 to 85 decibels – is the best approach for counteracting this propensity. This recommendation is equally true for “ear buds” or similar devices which are inserted into the ears as it is for over-the-ear headphones.
Another factor to consider is durability, because children are hard on delicate products, and certain headphones can be quite fragile . Refer to consumer guides or parents’ magazines to learn which makers of headphones have a good reputation for ruggedness and for lasting a long time. Make sure you balance this desire for durability with a bias toward light weight, however because you don’t want your children to be running around wearing headphones that are overweight for their body and head.
No matter which style of headphones you ultimately pick, try to limit your kids’ use of them to just a couple hours per day. Remember that noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is triggered by both the volume and duration of the contact. Despite having the Sound Limiting Technology, too many hours using headphones can cause hearing damage.