Best Noise Canceling Headphones for Kids in 2022

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Updated June 27, 2022

What are the features that make the best noise-canceling headphones for kids? For starters, they should include both noise-canceling and volume-limiting technology. These top kid headphones also feature a ton of comfort with ergonomic designs, padded headphones, and padded earpads.

All these features together make them the best headphones to keep your children’s ears protected while also allowing them to enjoy amazing sound quality and stay focused. If you’re planning on bringing your kids to an activity like an outdoor concert or plane ride, a pair of noise-canceling headphones is an excellent idea. Plus, some options are even explicitly branded for children and include fun designs and vivid colors.

Continue reading to learn all about these incredibly powerful kid’s headphones and what features you should consider when buying for your children.

Top Noise Canceling Headphones for Kids

 #1   Vanderfields Kids Ear Protection Earmuffs/Headphones

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: They are available in various color options and have a soft memory foam padding on their ear cups for comfortable wearing. They also have a good folding design for easy carrying.

Pros
  • Soft memory foam for comfortable wearing
  • Available in a wide variety of colors
  • Convenient folding design for easy carrying
Cons
  • Clamping force may be a bit much for some

These ear protection earmuffs from Vanderfields are specially designed for kids who are overly sensitive to sound, and this is generally because of conditions such as autism. These earmuffs have a unique double-shell design that is ideal for sound dampening and have super soft memory foam padding for enhanced comfort when worn for long durations. The earmuffs also feature an adjustable headband for that snug fit and are foldable for convenient carrying. Still, some may feel that they have a bit of a high clamping force.

These noise-canceling earmuffs have a Noise Reduction Rating of 26dB and can protect kids from ear damage. They are also available in a wide variety of color options and different sizes.

 #2   Snug Kids Ear Protection Noise Cancelling Earmuffs/Headphones

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: There is a wide range of color choices and designs to choose from, and its foldable design makes it pretty easy to carry or store. Build quality is also pretty impressive, so it should withstand any rough handling by kids.

Pros
  • Wide range of color choices to choose from
  • Impressive build quality
  • Foldable design for easy carrying and storage
Cons
  • Not available in different sizes

These noise-canceling soundproof ear muffs from Snug are ideal for parents looking for child-oriented ear muffs that are available in a wide range of colors. They have a compact design and can also be quickly folded for portability. They are also great for small ears and have a soft cushioned headband that makes them comfortable to wear for extended durations. The ear cups can also swivel to different angles, and since they’re lightweight and low profile, kids are likely to forget that they’re wearing them. However, they are not available in different sizes. Despite the limited size options, you can get them as the best noise-canceling headphones for sleeping, too.

The earmuffs are great for kids that might have sensory processing issues and have a decent Noise Reduction Rate of 25dB. Along the underside of the headband, its padding is about 5mm thick, and this reduces the clamping force applied on the top of the skull.

 #3   Heartek Noise Cancelling Headphones

Award: BEST FOR PORTABILITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: Its quick folding design and compact size make it great for portability, and since it also ships with a travel bag, it is pretty easy to store. It has a self-adjusting headband and twin point mounted cups for even pressure distribution.

Pros
  • Quick folding design for portability
  • Ships with a travel bag
  • Self adjusting head band
Cons
  • Large ear cup size may not be ideal for kids

These noise-canceling headphones from Heartek are great for both kids and adults and are also pretty easily adjustable. They have a good Noise Reduction Rating of about 27 dB, and ts ear cups can be rotated in either direction for more comfortable placing. The earmuffs are also pretty easy to fold and are also shipped with a carrying bag for even easier portability. Buyers have five color options to choose from, and since its ear cups are twin point mounted, the clamping force gets evenly distributed. Unfortunately, its large ear cup size may not be ideal for small kids.

The ear cups on these Heartek ear muffs are self-adjusting and large enough to completely cover the ears for effective sound dampening, and with a well-padded headband, wearers will also not have to withstand as much pressure on the top of their skull.

 #4   Mumba Baby Ear Protection Noise Cancelling Headphones

Award: BEST FOR BABIES

WHY WE LIKE IT: They are designed and optimized to be worn by babies and are made of a highly flexible material that makes them able to withstand rough handling. They have a low clamping force but still fit well enough to filter out surrounding noise.

Pros
  • Designed for infants and toddlers
  • Highly flexible materal
  • Low clamping force
Cons
  • Only available in three colors

Designed with babies in mind, these Mumba ear muffs have an impressive Noise Reduction Rating of 31dB, so you can bet that they will do a great job of preventing noise irritation. They are great headphones for sleep, especially for babies, even in the noisiest environment, and they are designed so as not to press on the baby’s ears when worn, and since it is made of high-quality ABS material, they are designed to withstand heavy use. Its soft-touch ear pads are made of skin-friendly material, making them comfortable enough for a baby to sleep when wearing them. However, they are only available in three colors.

The headband on these ear muffs can be easily adjusted to fit the head of an infant or toddler. The headband also has a good amount of soft padding to ensure maximum comfort, and since they’re also made of a soft yet durable material, they’ll still look good even with a little bit of mishandling.

 #5   MedCa Ear Muffs Noise Protection Headphones

Award: BEST FOR COMMERCIAL USE

WHY WE LIKE IT: They are ideal for use in a commercial setting and have a decent Noise Reduction Rating of 20dB. Its headband is made of stainless steel for durability, and they fold very quickly for easy storage.

Pros
  • Ideal for use in commercial settings
  • Easily fold for storage
  • Stainless steel headband makes them quite durable
Cons
  • Pink color might dissuade some

These Medca ear muffs have been designed to enhance noise protection, especially for users engaging or converging in high noise areas such as a shooting range, woodworking, or even construction. The earmuffs fold very easy to fit in compact storage spaces and are made using a reinforced POM stainless steel wire headband which has a padded underside for comfortable wearing. They can be used by both adults and kids and are also great for anyone who wants to muffle any surrounding noise. However, their pink color might not be for everyone.

The ear cups on these ear muffs can also be adjusted for the perfect fit, and their stainless steel material makes them pretty durable for long-term use. They also have a stylish design and have a decent Noise Reduction Rate of about 20dB.

 #6   Solar-Power Baby Noise Cancelling Headphones

Award: BEST FOR ADJUSTABILITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: They are very easy to adjust and have a portable folding design that makes them easy to store or move around. They are pretty light, and since they’re made out of ABS material, they’re also pretty durable.

Pros
  • Very easily adjustable
  • Light and durable
  • Soft, skin friendly and breathable padding
Cons
  • Only available in a blue color

These Solar-Power ear muffs are very easy to adjust, so buyers will have a smooth time adjusting them so that they can fit their kids’ heads. The ear cups also have padding that is up to 0.7 inches thick, which is enough to prevent any kind of excess pressure on a baby’s ears. The padding is also soft, skin-friendly, and breathable, so parents shouldn’t have to think twice about having the baby wear them for extended durations. Still, some may not appreciate that they are only available in one color.

These earmuffs have also been praised for their lightweight and durability, which helps ensure that they do not exert any unwanted pressure on the baby’s head. The headband is also well-padded, and with a decent Noise Reduction Rating of about 31dB, these earmuffs are guaranteed to keep babies asleep even in pretty loud surroundings.

Beginner’s Guide to Noise-Canceling Headphones for Kids

What Are Noise-Canceling Headphones for Kids?

Noise-canceling headphones for kids are handy audio devices that allow your children to listen to music without damaging their delicate eardrums. These headphones are essentially the same as adult headphones in form and function but with the addition of a few extra features. Add-ons, such as a volume-limiting function and passive or active noise cancelation, are included purely to protect your child’s ears from loud noises.

Noise-Canceling Headphones for Kids vs Traditional Headphones

If you compare the functionality of kids’ noise-canceling headphones and traditional adult headphones, you won’t find much difference. They even look incredibly similar to one another. So, where exactly do these two distinct types of earphones differ from each other?

For starters, the overall look and design of the two types of headphones are typically different. Since these headphones are marketed for kids, they’ll often feature a wide variety of colors and designs aimed specifically at children. Many brands license popular cartoon and video game properties to use in their design.

The best noise-canceling earphones for kids also include key features not included in other alternatives. The inclusion of parental controls is worth noting. Most headphones include volume-limiting functions that allow you to control the sound level the device is allowed to output. Plus, they include a way of silencing or eliminating background noise, whether through passive or active noise cancelation.

It’s also worth noting that kids’ noise-canceling headphones emphasize comfort in their designs. With features like an adjustable headband, soft padding on the ear cups, and lightweight, your kids can wear these headphones for hours at a time without getting uncomfortable.

How Noise-Canceling Headphones for Kids Work

When it comes to pure audio functionality, kid’s headphones with noise cancelation don’t really differ all that much from traditional alternatives. They connect directly to an audio source to receive an electrical audio signal and translate it into sound waves that your eyes can interpret as music. In this sense, all headphones are essentially just speakers on a smaller scale.

When it comes to noise cancelation, you’ll need to consider the differences between passive noise reduction and active noise reduction. Headphones with passive noise cancelation tackle background noise by creating a seal around the ear with tight-fitting padding or silicone earbud tips. These options are perfect for taking care of quieter ambient sounds, although some options act more like soundproof earmuffs for eliminating powerful sounds.

Headphones with active noise cancelation utilize microphones and speakers to analyze the loud sound around you and create a reverse sound wave that cancels out the other. This is perfect for eliminating loud external noises, such as airplane engine noise, car engine noise, and environmental noise.

Do You Really Need Noise-Canceling Headphones for Kids?

If you want to give your kids protection from noise-induced hearing loss while still giving them a high-quality audio experience, you can’t go wrong with purchasing a pair of noise-canceling headphones for kids. These audio devices allow you to create a safe level of noise exposure for your children without limiting them when it comes to a good listening experience. Plus, with a wide range of designs, a padded headband, and different listening modes, your kids can use these headphones for hours without a problem.

Are Noise-Canceling Headphones for Kids Worth Buying?

  • Extensive Parental Controls: The best thing about these headphones is the amount of control you have over creating safe levels of audio exposure for your children’s ears. With volume-limiting features, different listening modes, and noise-canceling designs, these headphones can provide hearing protection without breaking the bank.
  • Great for Reducing Sensory Overload: If any of your children need extra help with sensory processing or become overwhelmed with loud activities, a pair of noise-canceling earphones can be a life-changer. The noise cancelation technology allows you to block out external noise, while the volume-limiting features limit how loud the audio coming through the headphones is.
  • Protection from Noise-Induced Hearing Loss: If you’re attending a loud activity with your kids, like a concert or sporting event, you may be worried about hearing loss. Since children’s ears are still developing, their noise tolerance is a bit lower than an adult’s. As such, these headphones can help you reduce the risk of hearing loss.
  • Durable and Fun Designs: Since these devices are meant for kids, they often come in a variety of colors and a wide range of different designs. This allows your child to let their personality shine while still enjoying an immersive sound, no matter where you are.

Why Noise-Canceling Headphones for Kids May Not Be For You

  • Not The First Choice for Older Children: Most of the options in this category may feel a bit childish to older children and teenagers. As such, you may get some pushback from your older kids if you try to purchase one of these options for them. However, there are plenty of options like the best headphones for teens to fit their preferences and style better.
  • Not the Best Sound Quality: Headphones explicitly made to limit noise exposure with kids aren’t typically known for their stellar audio quality. Instead, they focus more on noise cancelation technology. There are exceptions to this rule, of course. However, if you’re looking for the best sound quality, you’ll want to consider a different option like the best neckband headphones or the best noise-canceling true wireless earbuds.
  • Kid-Specific Options Are Somewhat Limited: If you’re looking for headphones branded and marketed specifically to kids, you may mind yourself with limited options. While broadly-marketed options still make excellent choices for older children, they don’t give you the features that are better for younger children, like volume limiters or a specific noise reduction rating.

How Long Will Noise-Canceling Headphones for Kids Last?

The total lifespan of a pair of headphones depends on a wide range of different factors. It’s impossible to tack down a set number since headphones vary significantly in design quality and overall durability. A good pair of mid-range headphones should last around five years. Premium alternatives, like the top earbuds for noise-canceling, can last upwards of 10 years with the right care.

Kids’ headphones tend not to last as long as other types of headphones simply because they are more affordable and built with fewer durable parts. Plus, younger kids aren’t exactly gentle with their belongings. In general, you should expect two to four years out of your kids’ headphones.

If you opt to purchase a pair of wireless headphones for your kids, you’ll also need to consider the overall battery lifespan. You can only recharge rechargeable batteries a certain number of times before their capacity becomes inefficient. In general, this happens between 300 and 500 charging cycles. After this point, the battery drops below 80% total capacity and needs to be replaced.

How to Choose Noise-Canceling Headphones for Kids

As you start to consider purchasing a new pair of noise-canceling headphones for your kids, keep these considerations in mind. For starters, you should only consider options with volume-limiting features so you can control exactly how much volume your kids receive. If you’re looking to buy for infants or toddlers, you’ll also need to consider soundproofing features. For older children, consider comfort, sound quality, and wired vs wireless technology.

Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Kids Factors to Consider

1. How old is the child for whom you are purchasing the noise-canceling headphones?

The term “kid” can mean pretty much any age between infant and teenager, but the differences between each age group are essential to consider.

  • Infant (0-12 months): At this stage, you should be looking for headphones that are meant purely for hearing protection and not audio reproduction. In that sense, headphones for babies typically resemble earmuffs with an adjustable headband, foldable design, and deep foam earpads for maximum comfort. Headphones for babies are the best choice for parents who are participating in loud activities with their kids.
  • Toddler (1-3 years): At this stage, you should still be looking more for hearing protection and maximum comfort over audio reproduction. However, there are instances where audio reproduction can be beneficial in headphones for toddlers, like in the case of trying to reduce sensory overload in autistic children. As such, the headphones for toddlers that you purchase should offer an adjustable headband, ergonomic design, and high noise reduction rating.
  • Preschooler (3-5 years): At this stage, you can start to introduce headphones that actually produce sound so your little one can enjoy their favorite learning shows or apps in peace. Consider kids’ headphones with a padded headband for more comfort and added hearing protection features if you’re participating in loud activities. You’ll also need to consider different listening modes and volume-limiting features.
  • Gradeschooler (5-12 years): A wide variety of headphone options is available at this stage. Depending on your child’s preferences, you can select wired headphones or wireless headphones. Younger children should have volume-limiting headphones, but the older kids may not need them, depending on how well you trust them to monitor their volume.
  • Teenager (13-18 years): At this stage, you won’t need to worry so much about purchasing volume-limiting headphones. Instead, you’ll want to consider purchasing an option with superior sound quality, an ergonomic design, and many hours of battery life. The model you select in this age group will likely last your child years to come.

2. What kind of design and comfort features should you consider?

No matter your child’s age, comfort should be a high priority for the headphones you purchase. It’s important to buy a pair of ear headphones with an ergonomic design so your child can get exceptional comfort no matter how long they use the headphones. As such, consider these features:

  • Pillow-soft padded headband, especially for younger ages
  • Adjustable headband to get the right fit
  • Deep foam earpads to aid in both comfort and passive noise cancelation
  • Foldable design for better portability

3. What type of noise cancelation technology should your headphones use?

There are two main types of noise cancelation to consider when shopping for headphones: passive and active. Let’s take a look at the two:

  • Passive: A pair of headphones with passive noise cancelation utilizes design features like deep foam earpads to block unwanted noise and create safer volume levels for younger kids. As such, these are often the best choice for parents of new babies who will be around a lot of environmental noise.
  • Active: A pair of headphones with active noise cancelation, also known as ANC, use microphones and speakers to cancel out unwanted noise around you. This advanced noise-cancellation function is best for older children who are simply looking for an immersive listening experience rather than active hearing protection.

4. Should you purchase headphones with a volume limiter function?

When it comes to safe levels of volume, adults should really only be listening to a maximum volume of around 82 decibels for extended periods. For children, this number is even lower. Most headphones can produce a maximum volume level of about 115 decibels. If your child listens to this volume level for extended periods, it will lead to hearing loss.

As such, you must purchase a pair of headphones with volume-limiting technology for your children, especially at younger ages. They often don’t realize that high volumes can hurt their ears, and you’ll need to do the limiting for them.

5. Should you purchase wired headphones or wireless headphones for your kids?

In general, wired headphones are better for younger children because it helps them keep track of the headphones, especially when they’re connected to another device. These headphones often have a detachable audio cable for easier portability, though.

Wireless headphones are fabulous for older and more responsible children, but they also tend to be more expensive. You’ll also need to consider battery life with these headphones. Older kids tend to listen for longer periods, so purchasing headphones with 15-20 hours of battery life on a single charge is a good idea. However, more affordable options typically provide around an 8-hour battery life on average.

6. Does audio quality matter for children’s headphones?

For younger ages, you typically don’t need to worry too much about audio quality in the headphones you purchase. Instead, focus more on hearing protection and noise-cancellation features to provide a comfortable and safe level of listening.

For older children, sound quality is an important factor to consider, especially in the teenage years. In general, you can follow the “You Get What You Pay For” rule for headphones, which states that more expensive options will always give you better audio quality when compared to budget options. Of course, the amount of amazing sound quality you deem necessary for your child is ultimately up to you and your budget.

7. What other features are important to consider?

Depending on your child’s needs, you may also want to consider the following features in the headphones you purchase:

  • Built-in microphone
  • Surround sound
  • Extended battery life
  • Hi-Fi listening
  • Water resistance
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