Best Safe-Listening EarBuds For Kids in 2018

Updated on 02/14/2018 – Parents are spending more time with their smartphones or tablets, this habit has been transferring to their children as well. Because of the low price and availability, today it is very likely that your kids will own a Mp3 player, an iPod, or even an Iphone. To enjoy audio content from those personal audio devices, kids don’t have other choices except using earbuds (earphones/in ear headphones), since over or on ear headphones may be hot with paddings, bulky and not easy to carry around. The more they play around their devices, the more time they are exposed to high volume levels.

Portable devices as nature are engineered in the way that generates high power output to the headphones, therefore the regular headphones can sound louder than 85 decibels,  a noise level, which children’s ear drums can’t withstand for a long time use. And according to KidHealth, earbuds at 70% of top volume level can emit the sound above 85 decibels. Fortunately, there are earbuds in ear headphones that can limit the loudness to a safe level. Earbuds for kids have been on the market for years from many reputable audio makers such as Etymotic Research and Logitech, because they all realized the loudness of sound could potentially harm kid hearing.

Take a look at some results from research related to kids using of media devices and our recommendations.

Minority children spend an average of 13 hours per day using portable devices and other media–Children, Media, and Race—Media Use Among White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian American Children, research conducted by the Center on Media and Human Development, School of Communication, Northwestern University in 2011.

Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research (February 2011) revealed that nearly 60% of students at a major New York City college normally listen to their portable devices at volumes greater than 85 decibels, a level is dangerous to the ear drum.

Best Earbuds For Kids

Model/PictureSound qualityFeature/AccessoriesPrice
Etymotic Research ETY-Kids5 Safe-Listening
in ear headphones for kids
4/5Volume Litmiting, Bi-flange eartips$39
LilGadgets BestBuds Volume Limited Earbuds
3.5/5Eartips, Mic, Carrying Case, split adaptor for sharing, Volume Litmiting$16.95
Symphonized Kids Volume Limited Premium Wood Earbuds
4/5Eartips, Volume Litmiting (60%)$19.99
Ultimate Ears for Children
Not Available

1. Etymotic Research ETY-Kids5 Safe-Listening

earbuds in ear headphones with ergonomic design and lightweight housings for kids

Earbuds: perfect Chrismas gifts for your kids

Details: Etymotic Research ETY-Kids5 

Price $39.00 (Amazon)
Specifically designed for kids ages 4 and up.
Feature volume-limiting safe listening earphones
Type of driver Dynamic
High impedence 300Ω

The Etymotic Research ETY is a well balanced sounding in ear headphone. It is also light weight and comfortable to wear for kids’ ears. The Kevlar®-reinforced cable is less prone to tangle and durable enough under normal kid abuse. Aside from volume limiting feature, you get the stellar noise isolating performance, which is done by silicon based triple flange eartips. However since the triple flange earbuds tips are worn deeply into your ear canals, so it takes time for your kids to get used to it. We recommend trying small eartips first with shallow insertion and ease of use.

The ETY is commonly known for a product of choice for people who need hearing aid, but they also make affordable earbuds as well, aiming to kids for safe hearing. Adding volume-limiting feature to earbuds is not new, by simply equipping additional impedance to reduce the power received by earbuds to a safe level. For portable devices like Mp3 players, phones, tablet the ETY Kids5 does the job for limiting volume, however if you plug them in to a higher power source, they are still are able to live up volume as well.

In terms of sound quality, The ETY Kids5 has a neural mid-range, clear treble and tight, well-controlled bass, but I have to say, the bass impact doesn’t make sense a lot to me, though it is still there. Make up for bass deficiency, the ETY-Kids offers a nice and sweet mid-range with outstanding clarity. The treble of the ETY-Kids sound pleasant and smooth, but not quite soaring enough as I expected.

The ETY-Kids are not kidding, it has fine design and your kids may not know how well they sound clear, precise, and average low-ends, but truly you will how they actually excel. They would be the best value earbuds for kids, and you will surely appreciate the volume limiting feature and their great noise isolation.

Since the noise isolation is so good that wearers may not be aware of the world around like traffic or horn, so don’t allow your kids wear these item when they walk to school.


  • Great noise isolating performance, high build quality; Good volume-limiting feature
  • Small and lightweight


  • Though they comes with different colors, but lack of kid theme.

2. LilGadgets BestBuds Volume Limited Earbuds with Mic for Kids ($16.95)

The earbuds for children packed with a lot of accessories

Lilgadgets earbuds come with multiple silicon tip options for best fit to small ears, particularly kids’ ears. The volume limited earbuds are recommended for children with age more than 6. They are light and compact with rugged, tangle-free cable. There is an in-line remote with mic and volume control. The included hard travel pouch offer a cool way for your kids to manage the earbud accessories, like eartips and splitter-to share music with others.  

3. Symphonized Kids Volume Limited Premium Wood Earbuds ($19.99)

Wooden earbuds for kids

Available in five different colors, the Symphonized Kids looks cool and it is easy to pick a pair matched to your kids’ favorite color. Earbud housings are constructed by real wood, and they include various sizes of eartips to fit kids’ ear. The headphones work with all Android and iOS devices, and litmit the volume from those sources to 85db.

Due to large size of housings, the Symphonized Kids don’t provide secure fit as Etymotic Research ETY-Kids5.

4. Ultimate Ears for Children

Logitech in ear headphones for children

These budget earbuds for kids is not isolating ambient noise as good as Etymotic Research ETY-Kids5, but they still work for limiting the loudness. It is comfortable and lightweight. It comes with a nice transparent silicon carrying case and an array of eartips for kids’ ears. These kid-friendly earbuds are pretty durable and note that they have the colors your kids will surely like.

We were suppurised that earbuds are not labeled L or R, probably they are for kids.

Adding volume limiting feature to the Ultimate Ears doesn’t sacrifice its audio perfomance. It sounds clear and offers a good bass response. The treble is nice without distortion, which keeps the balanced tone over all ranges.

5. JVC HAFR36B Marshmallow

The Marshmallow earbuds are not for hearing protection, since they can’t limit the volume level as fours earbuds mentioned above. But they are very small and suitable for kids ears with comfortable and soft eartips so we would recommend if you set and lock the volume level from the device, if you kids have a tablet or phone, it can’t do the job with Mp3 players.

How To Keep Your Kids From Potential Hearing Damage?

  • Open design earbuds are not isolating noise well, so if you kids use this type of earphones, he may have to crank up volume to hear the sound clearly, which is very dangerous to the ear. This type of headphones are commonley supplied with smart phones.
Earbuds for kids

Avoid this kind of in ear headphones (none sealed design) that are never good for kids’ ears

  • Tell your kids they should keep the volume down below 60% of the maximum level. While your kids are wearing earbuds to listen to music or play game, if you can hear sound from their earbuds, the volume level could cause permanent hearing damage. Ask them to turn the volume down until you no longer hear it.
  • Limit the time kids are exposed to earbuds. Don’t let them wear earbuds for more than 2 hours.

Over The Ear Headphones

Over the ear headphones are somewhat less harmful for hearing than earbuds. Though they are not very portable, the Kidz Gear offers a variety of colors and kid-theme, and it offers the best volume limitation effect.

Another set I would recommend is the Puro BT2200, which is the most expensive option. They sell online for $99. But they are not only safe-listening but also Bluetooth – cable free. Puro claims the BT2200 is the only studio-grade headphones for kids on the market. For the sound quality  your will definitely like it. Due to their high quality build with a well-constructed aluminum frame, this pair should last long as long as your kids grow.

Related posts: Potential risks with earbuds in ear headphones

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