With technology advancing every day, the expansion of digital multimedia amongst the general crowd is increasing. From up-to-date devices to a mammoth sea of audiovisual programs, the prospect of exploration is limitless now.
This is also taking a toll on the younger ones as well. Now you will see toddlers sway and mimic on different interactive programs. To make them enjoy audiobook music or keep them away from environmental hazards, you can opt to put a headphone on your child’s head.
Now the big question is, can babies wear headphones? Well, before you get the direct answer, it’s wise to perceive answers to many other queries related to your child’s well-being. Don’t worry; we are here to tell you about the basic things you must know when it comes to toddler headphones.
1. Are Headphones Safe for Babies?
The most important question while planning to put headphones on your infant or toddler is whether it is free from danger regarding your child’s health. You have to keep in mind that the ear size of adults and children are not the same, nor do they receive similar hearing frequencies.
It all comes down to the sound volume, the time frame of listening, and the ear canal size of your kid. For example, a 2-month infant will have a smaller ear canal than a 2-year toddler. So, the younger knees are more sensitive to receiving sounds.
Generally speaking, it’s not advisable to use earphones on babies who are 0 to 12 months old, but in case of extreme emergencies, infants can be given sound limiting headphones to counter the ambient noise like in airplanes.
You shouldn’t go over a sound frequency of 75dB. It is lower than the actual safe limit tagged by WHO and can work mildly and safely in various situations. The common norm of safety is 85dB for toddlers as labeled by WHO. Anything over this frequency can impair your kids’ ears.
If you have a toddler, then 85 decibels is the safe limit. Make sure your child doesn’t use the headphone for more than eight hours a day (Safe limit determined by WHO).
It doesn’t matter if the limiter is adjusted to 75db; we prefer a limited time exposure to the infant or toddlers, for example, 40 hours a week, with breaks in between continuous listening.
2. Do Children Hear Differently to Adults?
Yes, the hearing ability varies a lot in terms of an infant to adult comparison. Until or unless your baby turns 10, their hearing level will not match with adults. So, from day 1 to 10 years, your child is bombarded with varying frequencies compared to an adult.
Their ears are smaller, and the passage is narrower for a baby, so justifiably babies are more reactive and sensitive to sound vibrations and frequencies. According to research carried out by The University of Washington, infants from 0 to 12 months are more sensitive to noise than an adult.
Children are sharp in hearing, so they can hear frequencies up to 150000hz, which can be tough for a 30-year-old. The bottom line is sound pressure is generated more on smaller ear canals; thus, infants to young children can listen to noises better than grown-ups.
3. Should Babies Wear Noise Canceling Headphones?
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, it is wise for a child to use noise-canceling headphones. A noise-canceling headphone is made to eliminate outer ambient noise, which can be extremely helpful in louder environments such as concerts, airplanes, crowded gatherings, and others.
Noise-canceling headphones work best with baby earmuffs or toddler ear muffs. What it does is, shield your precious ones from unwanted noise (Passive noise-canceling). Keep in mind that when inside a home or any silent environment, it is not necessary to use noise-canceling headphones.
4. Can You Allow Infants to Wear Headphones?
Yes, infants can be allowed to wear noise-canceling headphones and no other variations. Don’t put on an orthodox headphone or just a headphone with a limiter option. Imagine taking your 4-month-old on a drive, and an ambulance drives past your car.
Do you know that ambulance noise and rock concerts can overpower 110dB of sound? This can surely induce damage to an infant’s hearing ability. Therefore, it is necessary to carry noise-canceling headphones when taking your child to a possible loud scenario.
Even toys and other house machinery can surpass 85 dB, which can impair the listening capability of a child. So, if you are anywhere near such possibilities, purchase a noise-canceling unit to keep your child safe.
Keep in mind headphones for infants are only to be used in a chaotic environment. Otherwise, if you are just sitting in the backyard with no one mowing the lawn, there is no need to overwhelm the baby’s ears by covering them.
5. At What Age Can Babies Wear Headphones?
We have mentioned that infants can be given headphones only when it is super necessary. For example, in a plane journey, crowded gatherings, or any nearby external devices or machines thundering above 110dB.
Toddlers are more accustomed to the environment as they develop senses and their likings with time. They can be picky at the age of 1-4; thus, headphones with a limiter can be a lifesaver.
Nowadays, kids are very advanced as they are exposed to many kinds of digital media, and they start to get accustomed to it. For example, you can provide your child with audiobooks visual learning guides; therefore, they must have a peaceful hearing experience. So, headphones with a volume limiter are a good option.
Wait, there is one catch. Having a limiting option won’t work if you don’t know how to utilize it. Volume limiters can be of different kinds. Some are fixed options, and some can be tweaked to go above a certain limit. We will discuss this in the later part.
6. What Do You Need to Consider Before Buying Toddler Headphones?
Now that you already know that babies can indeed wear headphones, there are some things you will have to look into as parents to ensure the complete safety of your child’s health and healing ability.
Before you go on to put a headphone on your baby, there are some important aspects, call it limitations, you need to consider, such as:
6.1 Headphones with Volume Limiter
No matter the age of your baby. If they are not an adult, we highly advise you to go for headphones with a volume-limiting function. Why do you need a limiter? Simply because this function allows the parents to control the sound frequency being generated.
Your kid won’t be able to scroll up or push a button to overpower their ears unknowingly. A limiter is the most useful option if you plan to protect your child’s ear and give them a joyful listening experience.
As mentioned, the safe volume is 85dB, so headphones with a limiter are the key to keeping things in check. It won’t allow the sound to topple over the mentioned frequency.
Although, some headphones can be pushed to a further enhancement of 94dB to counter excessive noise from the surrounding.
6.2 Size of the Ear Cup
As we are talking about your little ones, their ears are smaller, as we discussed already, so giving them something that goes overboard in terms of the size of the ear cups can be damaging to their ears.
Keep in mind that the ear muffs must be made of high-quality plush leather and cushioned surface to give your child a protected snug fitting. Always observe if the ear cups are sliding too much or not; ones that fall off frequently will not help the cause.
Get something that attaches perfectly to your kid’s ears without hurting them. Over-ear headphones are a wise option if you look for a secure headset.
6.3 Adjustable Headbands
Another crucial thing to consider is the headband of your child’s earphones. Instead of wired ones with just earbuds, go for items that come with headbands and earmuffs.
Please make sure the headbands are flexible and adjustable to ensure it fits the head size and covers the ear without tipping off and being uncomfortable. It will also allow you to use the headphone for many years because you can always adjust the sizing as your child grows.
6.4 Wired Or Wireless Headphones
If you are dealing with a child, it’s best to give them wireless headphones. Simply because kids are messy and will pull on things, touch, chew on whatever they feel like. So, having wires can be dangerous as they may start to chew on them. The wiring can entangle them, and things can go haywire in no time.
That doesn’t mean wired headphones are bad. You can get excellent quality wired headphones with limiting function and protective muffs. Make sure the materials used to make the gadgets are durable and long-lasting.
7. How to Make Sure the Headphone Is Producing Safe Sounds?
A simple practice is to try to talk to your baby or make a noise when they are using headphones. Do it from a foot away. If the headphone generates a safe level of sound, your kids should hear you in a silent environment like home.
Observe whether they respond to your call or not. If they do not hear you, the sound limit might be too overpowering for them. The basic rule for baby headphones is that your precious one should be able to hear you from a close distance even if the headphone is working at 85dB.
8. How Do You Determine Hearing Problems in Children?
Our hearing range varies with age. Kids have a very inconsistent receiving limit; they can hear higher frequency; it’s true, but not every kid in the block is the same. Many young babies start having hearing problems due to inconsistent headphone accuracy.
So it’s up to the parents to take care of this issue before it’s too late. Early signs can be monitored by keeping a few things in check. So, how to figure out if their baby’s hearing is impaired?
8.1 No Response to Loud Noises
For instance, when the volume is increased, a baby should respond. More like being astonished, their body movement will tell you if they are receptive to sounds.
Even when they are without earphones, they should be able to pick up sound signals from the environment, for example, a clapping noise. If they don’t respond to such things, there could be something wrong.
8.2 Always Asking You to Be Louder or Have Directional Issues
If you notice your child is trying to pop up the TV volume beyond normal, you should be concerned. Try giving them cues and directions; if they don’t respond and move, then you better take your kid to an audiologist for inspection.
8.3 Speech Delays and Unresponsiveness
There are a few easy ways to ensure that your child is suffering from hearing impairments. Try to observe their speech pronunciation and look for any excessive delays as they speak. If they throw out unclear words and take time to react to gestures and sounds, parents should be concerned and contact an ENT specialist.
Babies can certainly wear headphones, but not like an adult. As long as the limitations are kept in check, you are allowed to give your baby a headphone to listen to their preferred entertainment.
To whoever it may concern, can babies wear headphones? Yes, they can, but parents have to make sure the kids are exposed to the safe output limit depending on their age, sensitivity, and surroundings.
If you don’t have the necessary gear, we recommend you go for the best products with baby-friendly features to make the hearing experience a pleasant one.