Anyone with young children knows that a long plane ride (or road trip, etc.) can be made exponentially more stressful when little ones are wide awake with nothing to do.
Much as we might feel ashamed of giving our kids a tablet and some headphones to keep them entertained — and to block out stressful ambient noise — the fact is that, when it comes to long trips, technology is our friend.
But not all headphones are made with kids in mind. And not all are designed to protect their eardrums or to shut out noises that can trigger meltdowns.
That’s where this list of noise-canceling headphones for kids comes in.
Take a look at the options, and you’re likely to find something perfect for each of your kids — from infants to teens.
How to Choose Noise-Canceling Headphones for Kids
When you’re shopping for kids noise-canceling headphones, you might be looking for the following features:
- Volume control (at a safe decibel level)
- Adjustable headband to fit smaller to larger heads
- Good sound quality
- Audio sharing capability
- Optional Bluetooth or wired usage
- Comfortable earpads
- Durable cords (or no cords)
- Attractive design and color choices
Whether you want a set of headphones with all these features or something that does the job at a budget-friendly price, you’ll love the list below.
Focus on the features most important to you (and price can be one of them) to help you narrow down your options.
Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Kids
Not all of the children’s noise-canceling headphones listed below will have the features you’re looking for, but these have earned a high overall satisfaction rating.
We’ll highlight the most attractive qualities of each one as we go along.
These are among the most aesthetically-pleasing and are sized for kids aged four and older.
If you’re looking for a wireless set of kids headphones, these come with a 3.5 mm cable in case 12 hours of battery life isn’t enough.
The price is higher than the wired sets on this list but lower than some of the other Bluetooth options.
The volume on these is limited to 85 dB to help protect your kids’ eardrums.
And this set has active noise cancellation (rather than passive) to block out up to 22 dB of background noise. It also provides crisp, clear audio with up to 22 hours of playtime on a single charge.
The one thing that hurts about this set is the price; at just under $120, it’s the most expensive pair on the list.
Puro Sound Labs also has a less expensive option (about $80) with a slightly lower satisfaction rating.
This wired set also comes with volume control, setting the bar at 94dB while still providing an immersive sound experience.
The pillow-soft earpads and adjustable headband make it comfy to wear for hours, and the durable, tangle-free cord with nylon covering can take a bit of (accidental) yanking without putting an end to your kids’ playtime.
Lightweight at 6.1 ounces, this is a good option for kids aged three and up.
While this pair isn’t specifically marketed toward kids, the bright colors, 30 hours of wireless playtime, and active noise-canceling make it attractive to anyone old enough to appreciate headphones.
However, the adjustable headband is better suited to older kids and teens.
At about $95, it’s not one of the cheaper options, but you might want to keep it in your “Save for Later” list.
COWIN also has a lower-priced option ($60-70) without the “PRO” but with a comparable satisfaction rating.
This wired set comes with a durable, nylon-coated, tangle-free 4.9-foot cord.
The headband is foldable, with an adjustable length of 1.57 inches on both sides.
The sound quality is also excellent for the price — which, at just under $10, is one of the most attractive features of this set.
It comes with a one-year hassle-free limited warranty, but at this price, at least it won’t hurt as much to replace them if they break or end up missing.
Another affordable option, this wired set comes with excellent sound quality and passive noise cancellation.
The snug fit helps block out ambient noise, while the leatherette earpads make listening as comfortable as it is immersive.
The tangle-free cord is removable for easy storage in the cloth bag that comes with this set.
This set also has in-line control to allow you to answer phone calls when it’s plugged into your phone.
This fun, tiger-themed set — made for babies and kids aged two and up — is made with safe, impact-resistant, and BPA-free materials.
It also caps the volume at 85 dB to protect their eardrums, while the soft earpads provide a custom and snug fit.
The tangle-free cord means fewer headaches, and at just under $13, it’s also one of the least expensive options.
These wired headphones will appeal to bigger kids and teenagers, but adults can use them too, thanks to the adjustable headband.
The durable and tangle-free cloth-covered cord is 4.9 feet long and not easily damaged.
This set also provides excellent sound quality for the $10 to $14 price tag, and the folding design makes it easy to pack and carry.
Elecder’s i39 model ($14-15) comes with a different foldable style that might be more appealing to you or your kids, and it comes with the same quality sound and durable construction.
This wired set stands out with its fun print in several color options.
It’s foldable and easily adjustable, providing a comfortable fit for older kids (10+), teens, and adults.
The ultra-plush ear cushions made with Eco-leather and Cloud foam give you a snug, comfy fit while the in-line microphone lets you answer calls when you’re hooked up to your phone.
If you like camo print, these are a bargain at just under $13.
If you prefer solid colors, Yomuse has comparable headphones in black, dark pink/red, blue/red, and pink/purple.
Made by the same folks who made the first headset on the list, this wired set costs quite a bit less and is made to fit snugly for kids aged 6 and up.
While this set caps the volume at 85 dB, the passive noise cancellation allows your kids to better hear the audio without outside interference.
SharePort allows you to connect multiple headphones to one device so your kids can enjoy movies, games, and music together without disturbing anyone else.
This wired set is ideal for babies and toddlers.
They’re made with a kid-friendly, food grade material, and the adjustable headband and soft, cushioned earpads provide a snug fit.
They also have a sharing interface on the right-hand side, so your kids can listen to the same game, movie, or music together with siblings or friends.
The 85 dB volume limiting combined with the passive noise cancellation provides a safe and frustration-free listening experience.
Another ideal set for young kids aged two and older, this is the most affordable wireless option on the list.
With passive noise cancellation and 85 dB volume limiting, this set protects your kids’ eardrums while still allowing them to hear what they’re listening to.
The headband is foldable, soft, flexible, and made with non-toxic, kid-friendly materials.
And the battery provides 15 hours of running time with each charge. It also comes with a cord for wired use.
This affordable wireless headset gives you three options for limiting volume – 75, 85, or 94 dB – the highest of which is ideal for airplane travel or Study Mode.
Made for toddlers and kids aged three and older, it comes with a BuddyCable that allows up to 4 children to listen together to one device.
It’s also useful for wired listening if the 14-hour battery charge runs out.
Each pair is foldable and comes with a travel bag and stickers.
Hearing Protection for Infants and Toddlers
Sometimes you just want to give your kids a break from the noise around them — so they can relax or even get some sleep.
Here are two of the most popular options for infants and toddlers. At the time of this writing, both had over 3,000 reviews with an average satisfaction rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
14. Baby Banz Earmuffs Infant Hearing Protection — Ages 0-2 years
With an industry-leading noise-reduction rating, this set leads the others for infants and toddlers.
If your aim is to block out loud or stressful noises so your little one can play calmly or take a nap, this set comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns.
The super-soft padding makes them easy to wear for as long as they’re needed.
Lightweight as well as durable, these can go anywhere you go, protecting your child’s hearing and making long, noisy rides and events more tolerable for both of you.
These have an adjustable headband to fit everyone from a six-month-old infant to an adult, providing a snug, comfortable fit while blocking out ambient noise.
This set is perfect for kids and adults on the autism spectrum, and the high-quality construction comes with a five-year guarantee.
Foldable for portability and easy storage, these come in 14 different colors and patterns — from bright blue to unicorns.
Did you find the best noise-canceling headphones for your child?
The best headphones for kids provide decent sound quality, volume control, active or passive noise cancellation, and durable construction (including the cord).
Even adults, though, can benefit from headphones that block out enough ambient noise that you don’t have to crank up the volume to dangerous levels to hear the words of a song or to understand what the actors in a movie are saying.
With that in mind, our favorites are the following:
- Best value for kids aged 2 to 10+: Picun Kids Bluetooth Headphones
- Favorite splurge pair for kids aged 2 to 10: Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Volume Limiting Wireless Headphones
- Best value for older kids and adults: Elecder i39 Headphones in Red/Black
- Favorite splurge pair for older kids and adults: COWIN E7 Active Noise Canceling Bluetooth Headphones
The sets for younger children have volume limiting at 85 or 94 dB, while the pairs for older kids and adults focus on noise cancellation and sound quality.
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Don’t be afraid to try other options, though, to find the set that best suits your kids. And may your good sense and thoughtfulness influence everything you do today.