Best Safe-Listening EarBuds For Kids | 2018 Headphone Reviews

Safe-Listening Earphones for Kids
Volume Limited In-Ear Headphones by Etymotic Research

Updated on 05/08/2018 – Parents are spending more time with their smartphones or tablets, this habit has been adopted by their children as well (my teenager included). Because of the low price and availability, today it is very likely that average kids own an Mp3 player, an iPod, or even an iPhone or Android smartphone and/or a tablet or iPad.

Apart from that many of them are now connecting to their laptop to their earbuds while they do homework so the number of hours exposed to loud noises fed directly in their ears has a lot of us looking for a better and safer earbud for kids to use. With its safe volume limit and overall in-ear comfort, we chose these in-ear buds by Etymotic Research as our top choice for in-ear listening, but continue reading below to see some of our other top picks for 2018.

To enjoy audio content from those personal audio devices, kids often prefer the comfort of earbuds (earphones/in ear headphones), since over or on-ear headphones can get hot due to the bulky padding. Apart from that they are heavier and not as easy to carry around or fit in backpacks.

The more ways kids now use their devices, the more time they are being exposed to high volume levels. If you are looking for safe earbuds or in-ear earphones for your child, we’ve reviewed the top selling earbuds for kids and come up with the following short list of safer options. The main feature we were looking for was a quality volume limiting function. After that was comfort (especially for smaller ears) and durability – since we know that kids gear just gets more abused and exposed to more wear and tear. Apart from that sound quality was definitely a priority criteria for rating.

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 without causing potential harmful effects.

And according to KidHealth, earbuds at 70% of top volume level can emit the sound above 85 decibels. It’s rare for kids (or adults) to have the willpower to turn their volume down to 3/4 max (apart from that it’s not exactly easy for them to gauge what a safe volume level is. Fortunately, there are earbuds and in ear headphones on the market now 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 loud noises is a real potentially harm kids health and that long term can cause permanent hearing loss.

Best Earbuds For Kids in 2018

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 

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 make take some 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. Please note: there are two versions of these earbuds: one with mic and the other without. 

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

LilGadgets BestBuds Volume Limited In-Ear Headphones with Mic for Children/Kids (includes travel case and splitter)
“Best Buds” Kids earbuds by LilGadgets comes with extra 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

Symphonized Kids Volume Limited Premium Wood In-ear Noise-isolating Headphones|Earbuds|Earphones with Mic (LaLa Lavender)
Volume Limited Kids Earbuds

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 with real wood, and they include various sizes of eartips to fit kids’ ear.

The headphones work with all Android and iOS devices, and limit the volume from those sources to 85db. These kids earbuds with wood accents and 3 sizes of ear tips for good fit for small ears. However due to large size of housings, some users find the Symphonized Kids don’t provide quite a secure fit as Etymotic Research ETY-Kids5 (reviewed above). .

4. Ultimate Ears 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 performance. 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 ear tips 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 (non 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 considered 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 are in another price range,  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. If you’re kids are serious about music and you are serious about keeping their hearing safe, these are definitely worth taking a closer look at and considering them an investment.

Related posts: Potential risks with earbuds in ear headphones


Results from research related to kids using of media devices have shown that the majority of kids (and even teenagers and college students) regularly listen to their smartphone or other device at a unhealthy volume level.

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.

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