The 7 Best Noise-Canceling Headphones For Kids

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on October 4th, 2021

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We live in a noisy world! Unfortunately, it only takes a moment of exposure for children to incur a permanent hearing loss. Fortunately, there are now plenty of protective devices designed to preserve the pristine ears of babies and children.

We’ve talked with fellow moms, dads, and hearing experts in hopes of finding the top noise-canceling headphones.

We’re happy to present you with a list of earmuffs with high Noise Reduction Ratings (NRR) and designs. With the right tool, you can safely bring your kiddo down to the festival green.

These amazing headphones serve as a protective barrier, keeping out the damaging volume of roaring motors, booming pyrotechnics, Robert Plant-like vocals, and more.

Editor’s Choice

Provides top-notch hearing protection that will help your little one make it through live sporting events, concerts, and more.

Noise reduction ratings

According to the Center for Disease Control, continuous exposure to just 85 decibels of sound can lead to hearing loss.

Despite this, medical professionals cannot detect acquired, progressive, or delayed-onset hearing loss until a child is between 2 and 4 years old.

Undiagnosed hearing problems can infringe upon a child’s development. Nevertheless, many parents unknowingly expose their young children to damaging volumes.

This exposure may be short-lived, coming in the form of a noisy parade or fireworks. Still, it poses plenty of risks to an unprotected child.

For this reason, we recommend purchasing noise-canceling headphones with a high Noise Protection Rating (NRR). An NRR is a unit of measurement that distinguishes how much a hearing protection device can reduce a volume. NRRs are measured in decibels.

An NRR must be approved by the American National Standards (ANSI).
It is important to choose a hearing protection device that brings the noise down to a safe listenable level. As mentioned before, hearing damage can occur at a volume as low as 85 decibels.

Avoiding overstimulation

According to the Star Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder, up to 16% of children experience sensory problems. Many children with SPD are sensitive to sounds.

They may become overwhelmed by common noises or increased volumes. Parents and educators can now use noise-canceling headphones to modify a noisy environment for a child with hypersensitivity to sound.

Noise-canceling headphones reduce the number of intrusions into a child’s space. This typically improves a child’s ability to function.

Comfort and security

Small children usually do not enjoy stuffing foreign materials into their ears. This leaves us to conclude that earmuffs are the most suitable form of juvenile hearing protection.

Noise-canceling headphones sit snuggly on top of a child’s head. They should have a padded headband that embraces the natural contours of a small skull.

The earcups should contain sound dampening materials, such as rubber and foam. Usually, earcups are made from a durable, lightweight material, such as ABS.

These will ideally be filled with layers of sound-reducing foam. A ring of soft fabric or leather is the only thing that should come in contact with a child’s head.

Most manufacturers manage to keep their pint-sized hearing protection devices under 12 ounces. Light earmuffs make it easier for your child to move around. Not to mention, light earmuffs are easier to carry. With a featherweight, foldable piece, your child is less likely to complain about their hearing protection.

How do noise-canceling earmuffs work?

Noise-canceling earmuffs feature hard molded earcups. These elements deflect sound waves, sending them in the opposite direction of your child’s eardrums.

Earmuffs also contain sound sponges that dilute the energy of any remaining waves. Quality earmuffs should boast soft liners and bendy headbands.

These elements ensure that the earcups fit snuggly over a child’s ears without putting too much tension on the skull.

When does my child need hearing protection?

Many activities demand precautionary hearing protection. Concerts, fireworks, parades, sporting events, airplane journeys, and car races are just a few activities that come to mind.

You should be prepared to protect your child’s hearing at any event that gets voluminous. In case you were wondering, a normal conversation takes place at around 60 decibels.

Meanwhile, a lawnmower produces about 90 decibels of sound. Hearing damage can occur anytime volumes go above 80 decibels, especially when it comes to little kids.

Loud sounds also have the potential to wake, startle, or disrupt a child. As such, many parents pack noise-canceling headphones when they are making their way through a city, airport, crowded restaurant, or other noisy hubs.

Active vs. passive noise-canceling

Passive noise cancelation is determined by the shape and design of a hearing protection device. Meanwhile, active noise cancelation relies on electric circuitry to get the job done.

We recommend using passive noise-canceling earmuffs to protect your little one from harmful sounds. Active noise-canceling earmuffs are expensive and require batteries.

Aesthetics

Children are often drawn to objects with bright colors and fun designs. Choose a design that will make your child want to wear their hearing protection.

Let your child choose earmuffs with a fun design. So long as the headphones have a reliable NRR, you’re in good hands.

And don’t forget to set a good example by wearing adult hearing protectors! Children watch their parents and often take note of everything they do…

As such, make sure you’re wearing noise-canceling earmuffs the next time you mow the lawn or fire up the chainsaw!

Age

Although most children might initially object to wearing hearing protection, you can reduce the risk of their protests by introducing it at a young age.

Many manufacturers produce earmuffs designed especially for newborns and toddlers.
A surprising number of parents don’t realize that they’re damaging their child’s hearing by exposing them to noise over an extensive period.

Anything from police sirens to train engines can leave a child with permanent damage.

Our top picks for the best noise-canceling headphones for kids

Editor's choice

Our opinion

Age range: Infant — 24 months
Noise reduction rating: 31 decibels

Our editor isn’t going out on a limb when he says that the Banz Earmuffs (check price on Amazon) provide top-notch hearing protection for babies. These impressive noise-canceling headphones will help your little one make it through live sporting events, concerts, and more.

You may even be able to skip the sitter with the help of Banz’s remote volume control. Banz Earmuffs feature a durable frame that folds up into a compact bundle.

These hearing protectors are ultra-light and super cushiony. Your child won’t pull these off in a fit of discomfort. The headphones feature a flexible, yet snug design that can accommodate the skulls of both newborns and toddlers.

With a noise reduction rating of 31 decibels, the Banz earmuffs provide unmatched hearing protection when your little ones need it most. These impressive ear protectors are even certified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Tell grandma to toss those cotton balls to the side. These hearing protectors steer clear of airways and are 100% reusable.

What they’ll love

  • Buttery soft leather lining
  • Come in a variety of patterns and colors
  • Cancel noises up to 31 decibels
At a glance
  • Not suitable for children over 24 months

Upgrade choice

Our opinion

Age: 2 — 12 years
Noise reduction rating: 27 decibels

The stylish Muted Designer Hearing Protection Earmuffs (check price on Amazon) aren’t your run-of-the-mill hardware store hearing protection. Your little one can choose between pink flamingos, origami dinosaurs, geometric leaves, and other fun designs.

Muted’s sassy skins cover the 27 decibels of noise-reducing materials that are housed under hardshell earcups. These luxurious hearing protectors boast the highest noise-canceling standards.

They are suitable for OSHA, ANSI, and (in our humble opinion) baby Vogue standards. Though you’ll pay a little extra for these unique protectors, you’re much more likely to get your little one’s seal of approval.

The earcups are reinforced with soft, muting materials and the headband is clothed in a plush fabric sleeve. The extenders are positioned on the outside of the earcups. As such, they won’t interfere with glasses or hair.

What they’ll love

  • Colorful, funky patterns
  • Meets ANSI hearing protection requirements
  • Padded earcups and headband
At a glance
  • Expensive

Best budget buy

Our opinion

Age: 2 — 12 years
Noise reduction rating: 27 decibels

At just under $15, the HearTek Kids Sound-Canceling Headphones (check price on Amazon) offer adequate and affordable protection from rock music, monster trucks, noisy sports fans, and the like.

These impressive hearing defenders boast a padded headband with rotating earcups. The earmuffs fold up easily for children and babies on the go. They even come with a handy storage bag that will keep them from collecting dust and crumbs from the bottom of a backpack.

HearTek offers eight unique colors. Children are more likely to gravitate toward these headphones because they offer a personalized experience. Still, mom and dad can rest assured knowing their kiddos are getting at least 27-decibels of hearing protection.

What they’ll love

  • Backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a 5-year warranty
  • Come in eight fun colors for personalized hearing protection
  • Perfect for those with sensory sensitivities and loud activities

Best for kids with autism

Our opinion

Age: Children 3 — 12
Noise reduction rating: 25 decibels

If you have a child with sensory issues, the Mpow Noise-Reducing Earmuffs (check price on Amazon) are a wonderful way for them to tune out overstimulation.

These cushiony headphones are flexible and padded. The earcups and headband even feature faux leather lining. These hearing protectors also boast retractable stainless steel extenders.

This outstretched design will prevent interference with glasses, hair, and other headgear. Most of all, these headphones provide children and preteens with unmatched hearing protection.

They boast a noise reduction rating of 25 decibels. They do an amazing job of blocking out loud sounds without muffling conversations. If your child has sensory sensitivities, they may be easily overcome by loud environments.

With the Mpow earmuffs, your child can tune out overstimulating noises without infringing on their safety.  These earmuffs may be a bit too chunky for older, more self-conscious children. However, the plush frame is bound to please kiddos with sensory issues.

What they’ll love

  • Noise dampening cushions and ABS ear cups
  • Extremely lightweight and soft
  • Comes with a drawstring bag for storage
At a glance
  • Headband does not expand

Our fifth choice

Our opinion

Age: Newborn — 2 years
Noise reduction rating: Makes sound four to six times quieter

Friday Baby’s (check price on Amazon) adjustable baby earmuffs provide adequate hearing protection for the youngest babies. These headphones are engineered to embrace the skulls of newborns and toddlers.

The tiny hearing defenders are not backed by an official NRR. However, they are certified and proven to make environmental sound four to six times quieter. The Friday earmuffs present wearers with ABS earcups.

Thanks to this material, a single pair weighs just 7 ounces. Each set of earmuffs boasts a faux leather headband as well as fabric and foam-lined earcups. You can adjust the size of the earmuffs as your little one grows and even choose between bright turquoise or neon blue.

These protective headphones look good while getting the job done. Since they’re backed by a 1-year warranty and 100% satisfaction guarantee, they provide consumers with a risk-free purchase.

What they’ll love

  • Weighs less than 7 ounces
  • Padded non-toxic headband
  • 5-year product warranty
At a glance
  • Not suitable for older children

Best for airplanes

Our opinion

Age: 3 months — 2 years
Noise reduction rating: 25 decibels

Snug Baby Earmuffs (check price on eBay) make hearing protection adorable. These pastel earmuffs will carry your little one through noisy environments, including concerts, airplane journeys, and more.

You can even use them to help your baby tune out disruptive noises in the middle of the night. They provide approximately 25 decibels of volume reduction. These Snug Baby earmuffs are filled with volume-dampening foam padding.

While eliminating loud noises, they don’t muffle sounds below a reasonable volume. As such, you can calmly soothe and speak with your baby without having to remove these earmuffs.

What they’ll love

  • Meets all U.S. and European safety test requirements
  • Perfect for noisy environments, including airplanes
  • Baby-friendly design that comes in fun colors
At a glance
  • Chemical smell

Best for fireworks & sporting events

Our opinion

Age: 2 — 12 years
Noise reduction rating: 34 decibels

The Fnova Noise-Cancelling Earmuffs (check price on eBay) provide children with unmatched hearing protection. The earcups feature layers of noise-canceling materials surrounded by ABS shells, foam, and imitation leather.

It’s hard to believe that these stylish earpieces provide up to 34 decibels of volume reduction while providing a hardy combination of noise-swallowing material.

If you’re going to expose your child to booming fireworks or unruly sporting event crowds, opt for these industrial-grade hearing defenders. You also get a choice of five rad color combinations.

What’s more, these muffs fold up into a small ball for easy storage and transportation. If you’re unsatisfied with the product, the company offers to take it back. To that we say, bring on the noise!

What they’ll love

  • Comes in five beautiful colors
  • Design folds up small for easy transportation and storage
  • Highest NRR for loud activities
At a glance
  • Slight chemical smell

And our winner is…

Our Editor’s Choice, the Banz Baby and Toddler Earmuffs, (check price on Amazon), provide pint-sized hearing protection and unmatched comfort.

This soft, flexible device is essential for little ones attending concerts, sporting events, parades, and other noisy events. The earmuffs even fold up into a compact bundle.

Loud sounds can alarm and even harm children. It’s best to protect your little one’s ears from day one. A comfortable, fitted pair of earmuffs may serve as your little one’s source of security in a busy, boisterous world.

Choose a product with a high NRR rating and a colorful design. Remember, Osha orange is your only option! We hope you enjoyed taking a look at our favorite children’s noise-canceling headphones.

Do you have a favorite set of sound-canceling headphones? Let us know in the comment section below!

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Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on October 4th, 2021

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