8 Best Noise Cancelling Headphones for Kids [2023]

Kids wearing noise cancelling headphones
Kids wearing noise cancelling headphones

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Here’s why noise-canceling headphones are essential for children, plus the eight best noise-canceling headphones for kids of all ages.

NameNoise ReductionAvailable for music listening?Age SuitabilityPrice
PuroQuiets Best OverallActiveYes2 yrs old and upBUY
3M Kids Hearing Protection Plus Strong Runner-UpPassiveNo3-12 years oldBUY
PROHEAR 032 Best BudgetPassiveNo3 years old and upBUY
Dr.meter EM-100 Kids Ear Protection Best Ear Muffs for KidsPassiveNo5-11 years oldBUY
Snug Kids Ear Protection Best for Children with ASDPassiveNo2-7 years oldBUY
Alpine Muffy Baby Best for Infants & ToddlersPassiveNo3 months-3 years oldBUY
SuperEQ S2 Best for Online ClassesActiveYes3 years old and upBUY
JBL JR 460NC Best for Young AudiophilesActiveYes5-11 years oldBUY

How to Pick the Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Kids

Kids are more sensitive to loud sounds because of their smaller ear canals and eardrums. If left unchecked, prolonged noise exposure can cause long-term damage, like noise-induced hearing loss.

Thankfully, products like noise-canceling headphones offer a way to protect your children from hearing damage.

The only problem is that finding a suitable pair for your little ones can be challenging. First, they must fit correctly, or the noise cancellation won’t be effective. They also need to be comfortable but durable and look appealing to kids.

No worries, we’re here to help. We’ve compiled all the essential buying factors to consider when choosing noise-canceling headphones for kids. Also included are our top eight headphone picks to help get you started. So let’s dive in!

Noise-canceling headphones vs. ear muffs: which should you go for?

Noise exposure causes stress responses that can hinder cognitive development and concentration. In some cases, it can even cause hyperacusis, a condition identified by increased sensitivity to sound.

So, protecting your child’s hearing with noise-canceling headphones or ear muffs is vital. Here’s what each does:

  • Noise-canceling headphones: These are also called active noise-canceling (ANC) headphones and use advanced technology to block noise. They sample background noise around you and create an opposing frequency. Both frequencies cancel each other out, thus reducing noise when played back.
  • Ear muffs: These are hearing protectors that use thick padding (foam) to seal the ears. This is called passive noise isolation, similar to sticking your fingers in your ears to block out noise.
For more information about the differences between the two, check out our guide on passive vs. active noise cancelation.

So, which is better?

It depends on how your child uses them.

Ear muffs are best for mid to high-frequency sounds, like loud cheering or fireworks shows. They have specific noise reduction ratings and safety certifications from organizations like The American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

NRR and SNR ratings aren’t accurate because tests on hearing protection devices are conducted in controlled environments. As such, ratings must undergo a derating process to give you a more realistic number.

Conversely, ANC headphones are better at reducing consistent low-frequency sounds, like background chatter or thrumming appliances. They also don’t have safety certifications from ANSI. Typically, any noise reduction or volume-limiting estimates come from the manufacturers themselves.

But, ANC headphones come with extra features. Some have better drivers, microphones, and wireless connectivity, making them ideal for online classes or music listening.

If your child doesn’t like wearing headphones, you can check out our article for a selection of recommended earbuds for children.

Will they match your child’s age?

Kids’ noise-canceling headphones have suggested ages on their packaging to help parents choose a pair that’ll fit properly. It’s advisable to consider these, so you end up with a pair with appropriate features for your child.

For example, infants and toddlers have no use for regular audio headphones. As such, you’ll want to prioritize comfort and hearing protection instead.

Children from 3 to 12 years old have more need for audio headphones for leisure or study. However, you’ll also want to prioritize those with volume limiters to ensure they’re not turning up their sound to dangerous levels.

As for teenagers, you can go for headphones more focused on audio reproduction.

Comfort & fit

Kids won’t tolerate an uncomfortable pair of headphones, regardless of their brand or cost. So, comfort and fit are paramount. Well-fitting headphones prevent discomfort and ensure the ANC works efficiently by creating a tight seal over the ears.

Here are a few other comfort-related factors to consider when buying headphones for kids:

  • Weight: Ideally, kids’ headphones should weigh no more than 0.5 lbs. You don’t want a bulky pair of headphones weighing down heavily on their neck, especially if they have to wear them for long periods.
  • Adjustability: Comfortable headphones should have some hardware adjustability to accommodate kids’ proportions. As such, you’ll want to choose headphones with an extendable headband and rotating ear cups.
  • Clamping force: This determines how snugly the headphones fit around the head and ears. Ideally, the clamping force should deliver equal pressure on all contact points. It should be tight enough to stabilize the headphones and seal the ears. If they are too loose, they risk falling off if your child moves around a lot.
  • Padding and materials: Ear cup padding protects the ears from the headphone hardware. For kids, you’ll want to go for foam or velour pads, which are breathable and soft, making them easy to wear for long periods. On the other hand, leather and pleather tend to feel firmer on the ears and can get quite warm.
  • Ear cup size: Since children have smaller ears, it’s important to pay attention to how small, large, or shallow the ear cups are. Ear cups that are too small or shallow may make the ears feel cramped. And if they’re too big, they may not create a good seal for the ears, defeating the purpose of noise cancellation.
  • Fit type: Common headphone fit types are over-ear and on-ear. Over-ears have bulky circular, oval, or D-shaped ear cups that cover the entire ear. And on-ears are more lightweight and allow better air circulation around the ears. Younger kids will benefit more from over-ears because they’re suitable for noise isolation. Older kids, however, can choose based on their preferences.


Kids gravitate more toward bright colors and fun designs. So if the headphones look cool, they’re more likely to keep wearing them. In addition to being a form of self-expression, colors also have positive psychological effects on children. Some colors boost their mood and emotions, while others stimulate creativity.

Build quality

Kids will be kids. They can be excitable, careless, and rough. So, the chance of them breaking a new device in a short amount of time is high. With this in mind, choose durable headphones to save money, time, and stress.

Here are some factors to consider:

  • Material durability: Most headphones for kids are plastic because of the material’s lighter weight. However, moving parts (i.e., the sliding hinges in the headband) should be steel or aluminum.
  • Product reviews: Take advantage of Amazon or YouTube reviews to get realistic and experienced user opinions on the headphones. Unboxing videos can give you a good idea of packaging quality, while long-term user reviews will give you a better idea of how the headphones perform over time.
  • Warranty: Headphones typically come with the standard 1-year warranty. However, an extended warranty gives you better coverage and shows the manufacturer’s confidence in the sturdiness of their product.

8 Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Kids in 2023


Best Overall
Close look at PuroQuiets (From: Amazon)
Close look at PuroQuiets (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • Form Factor: On-ear
  • Noise Reduction: 22 dB via ANC
  • Can play music: Yes
  • Volume Limit: 85dB
  • Weight: 0.5 lbs
  • Battery Life: 23 hours (ANC on) and 35 hours (ANC off)
  • Best for: 2 years old and up
  • Other features: Bluetooth 5.0 Connectivity, CVC 8.0 Microphone

Puro Sound Labs founder Dave Russell created the PuroQuiets headphones after discovering his daughter had noise-induced hearing loss. They specifically lessen noise exposure with a volume limiter and ANC technology, making them our best overall pick.

The ANC on these headphones reduces unwanted background noise by 78% to protect your child’s sensitive ears. They perform pretty well and are most effective on continuous noises, like vacuums or similar appliances. Sudden sounds like dog barks or clapping, however, don’t do so well.

Younger kids can use these headphones safely thanks to a volume-limiting function that keeps the audio levels at a safe 85 dB. This prevents your child from pushing the volume higher than necessary.

Build-wise, these headphones have an aluminum casing and comfy protein leather padding ideal for prolonged use.

One thing to note is that the clamping force is quite strong right out of the box. So, it’s a good idea to break them in yourself first before letting your child wear them.

Furthermore, the PuroQuiets are equipped with a built-in mic and Bluetooth 5.0, freeing up your child from annoying cables that can get in the way. The battery is also pretty decent, offering 23 hours of listening with ANC. We tested them on a full charge and found they could last several days uncharged with minimal use.


3M Kids Hearing Protection Plus

Strong Runner-Up
Close look at the 3M Kids Hearing Protection Plus (From: Amazon)
Close look at the 3M Kids Hearing Protection Plus (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • Form Factor: Over-ear
  • Noise Reduction: NRR 23dB (SNR 26dB) via passive noise isolation
  • Can play music: No
  • Weight: 0.93 lbs
  • Best for: 3 to 12 years old
  • Other features: ANSI S3.19-1974 Certified

If you want something purely for ear protection, the 3M Kids Hearing Protection Plus are an excellent option from a trustworthy brand specializing in professional safety. They’re super durable, comfortable for kids of all ages, and very well-made, making them our strong runner-up pick for noise protection.

These ANSI-certified ear muffs have an NRR of 23dB, enough to protect your child’s ears in loud environments like amusement parks, live shows, etc. They also do exceptionally well at reducing noises like airplane engines, so they’re also a good travel accessory.

In terms of build quality, these ear muffs feature enhanced comfort and durability. They have a reinforced cushion headband that feels flexible yet sturdy. And the soft ear cushions are dense enough to provide an effective seal around the ears.

The overall adjustability works well, too. Although the headband itself doesn’t have an expansion mechanism, you can extend the ear cups via the metal pins to get a better fit.

While testing this out, we found that they could even fit adult proportions. So, even if your kids lose interest in the ear muffs, you may still get some use out of them.

The weight is one thing we noted as a possible drawback. At 0.93 lbs, these ear muffs are the heaviest on this list. This likely won’t be an issue for older kids, but younger ones may find them uncomfortable if worn for more than a couple of hours.



Best Budget
Close look at PROHEAR 032 (From: Amazon)
Close look at PROHEAR 032 (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • Form Factor: Over-ear
  • Noise Reduction: NRR 25dB (SNR 28dB) via passive noise isolation
  • Can play music: No
  • Weight: 0.43 lbs
  • Best for: 3 years old and up
  • Other features: ANSI S3.19 and CE EN 352.1 Certified, High Visibility Designs

Are you looking for a cheaper alternative? The PROHEAR 032 ear protectors provide affordable hearing protection for any environment. They’re made for toddlers and older children and come in colorful designs that appeal to all ages.

These passive noise-canceling headphones reduce noise by 25dB and meet ANSI S3.19 and CE EN 352.1 standards. They’re decent enough at muffling audible distractions when your child needs to concentrate on studying. And they perform well in loud outdoor settings or events like sports matches, carnivals, and the like.

Since they’re cheaper, the build isn’t anything particularly unique. These ear muffs are mostly ABS plastic, with a foam and leather-padded headband and ear cushions. They feel slightly flimsy when handled, so their durability may leave you wanting.

On the plus side, the 360-degree rotatable ear cups are deep, so they’ll feel comfortable for your child even after extended use. You can also easily replace the ear pads by simply pulling them out and snapping a new one in place.

Despite their price, PROHEAR 032s look good. They come in six high-visibility designs that even older teens (and some adults!) will like. The colors are fade-proof and make it easy to keep tabs on your kids in crowded settings.

A true space-saver, you can fold the ear muffs into a more compact size and stow them away in the included travel drawstring bag. And because they’re so light, younger children won’t have a problem carrying them around.


Dr.meter EM-100 Kids Ear Protection

Best Ear Muffs
Close look at Dr.meter EM-100 Kids Ear Protection (From: Amazon)
Close look at Dr.meter EM-100 Kids Ear Protection (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • Form Factor: Over-ear
  • Noise Reduction: NRR 27dB (SNR 30dB) via passive noise isolation
  • Can play music: No
  • Weight: 0.50 lbs
  • Best for: 8 months to 11 years old
  • Other features: ANSI S3.19 and CE EN 352.1 Certified

The Dr.meter EM-100 Kids Ear Protection provide professional noise reduction specifically for smaller ears. They also have the highest NRR rating amongst the ear muffs on this list and are recommended even for babies and older kids.

These ear muffs are ANSI S3.19 and CE EN 352.1 certified, making them ideal for kids attending loud outdoor events or helping with house chores. The high-density foam padding inside the ear cups reduces noise by 27dB. And the ridged headband design allows better heat dissipation, which makes them comfortable for active kids.

Adjustability is also no problem with the 360-degree rotatable ear cups. You can lengthen or shorten the ear cups to suit kids of all ages. During our testing, we found they could fit adults with smaller proportions, too. The ear muffs’ low clamping force also minimizes discomfort so that even babies can wear them for long periods.

Although the headband can be bent and twisted in various ways, durability isn’t the best. The pins connecting the ear cups and headband tend to be a weak spot. Fortunately, Dr.meter’s Return Policy should help if ever these weak spots break.


Snug Kids Ear Protection

Best for Children with ASD
Close look at Snug Kids Ear Protection (From: Amazon)
Close look at Snug Kids Ear Protection (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • Form Factor: Over-ear
  • Noise Reduction: NRR 25dB (SNR 28dB) via passive noise isolation
  • Can play music: No
  • Weight: 0.39 lbs
  • Best for: 2 to 10 years old
  • Other features: Overstimulation reduction for ASD children.

One in 44 children in the US has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), wherein overstimulation is a cause for concern. Fortunately, Snug created these ear muffs partly for this purpose. The Snug Kids Ear Protection muffs, in particular, are great for reducing overstimulation and come in many designs that kiddos will love.

General loud noises, indoors or outdoors, can cause sensory overload in some ASD spectrum children. This causes feelings of distress, anxiety, and irritation, thus getting in the way of a child’s ability to focus.

Using passive noise isolation, the Snug Kids Ear Muffs lessen surrounding noise by up to 25dB, which can significantly help kids with ASD. This lets them enjoy a quieter state of being and reduces stress by allowing them to pause and regroup when needed.

The comfort level of these ear muffs is also quite good. They’re secure but very light when worn, which also helps kids feel relaxed and unconstricted. They don’t feel like they’re squeezing your head after prolonged use, as other ear muffs sometimes do. And the foam padding also does an excellent job of blocking noise.

As for durability, you’ll get your money’s worth with these ear muffs. They feel decently sturdy in hand and have a bendable padded headband built to endure rough handling.

With special metal hinges, you can fold them into a super-compact form and toss them in your child’s backpack without worrying about breaking them. The Snug Kids line also has a 5-year warranty, so you’ll be covered if your child is accident-prone or loves to tinker.

The only downside with the hinges is that they continuously make the ear cups fold inwards, so it may be difficult for younger kids to wear them.


Alpine Muffy Baby

Best for Infants & Toddlers
Close look at Alpine Muffy Baby (From: Amazon)
Close look at Alpine Muffy Baby (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • Form Factor: Over-ear
  • Noise Reduction: NRR 26dB (SNR 23dB) via passive noise isolation
  • Can play music: No
  • Weight: 0.41 lbs
  • Best for: 3 months to 3 years old
  • Other features: ANSI S3.19 and CE EN 352.1 Certified, BPA-free build, Elastic Headband, Travel Bag

The Alpine Muffy Baby ear muffs are an excellent option if you’re looking for something specifically for babies. They have unique safety features designed with babies’ sensitivities in mind and come in six colors.

Hearing protection is vital for babies, as hearing damage before 18 months can have lifelong effects. These effects include garbled speech and delayed language acquisition.

The ear muffs feature multi-layered foam padding that lessens ambient noise by 26dB. This ensures optimum protection so your baby’s ears won’t suffer whenever you’re in loud areas for extended periods, such as when traveling. They also help keep noise-sensitive babies and kids calm in crowded, busy settings.

Our favorite feature on these ear muffs is the unique, diagonal headband. It looks almost like a seatbelt but is exceptionally soft and rests lightly across the baby’s forehead. This positioning keeps it away from the fontanelles, which are extremely fragile spots in the baby’s skull and take up to 18 months to form well.

Another noteworthy feature is the ear muffs’ BPA-free design. BPA is a chemical found in polycarbonate plastics that can cause developmental problems in children under two. Although this has more to do with baby bottles and food containers, it’s still good to know that these ear muffs are free from this harmful chemical.

The Alpine Muffy Baby’s headband is a non-slip type. However, we noticed that the ear muffs can still slide down if your baby is extra fidgety or if they have a smaller head.


SuperEQ S2

Best for Online Classes
Close look at SuperEQ S2 (From: Amazon)
Close look at SuperEQ S2 (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • Form Factor: On-ear
  • Noise Reduction: 20-25dB via ANC
  • Can play music: Yes
  • Weight: 0.46 lbs
  • Battery Life: 45 hours (wired, ANC on), 25 hours (Bluetooth, ANC off), 18 hours (Bluetooth, ANC on)
  • Best for: 3 years old and up
  • Other features: IPX4 build, Airplane Adapter Plug, Carrying Pouch, CVC 8.0 Noise Reduction Mic, Bluetooth 5.0 Connectivity

Is your child too easily distracted by background noise while studying? If so, the SuperEQ S2 headphones will take care of that for you. These headphones have the best ANC on this list. They also combine cool aesthetics and functionality, making them suited for online classes. Even older kids and teens will find them appealing.

These headphones use feedback ANC with two mics in each ear cup. They work to cancel noise by 75%, thus improving your kid’s concentration when studying.

We tried these out and were pleasantly surprised at how well the headphones blocked low to mid-frequency sounds. They’re effective against voices or background chatter, provided that the fit is adjusted to match the user well. However, they don’t do as well with higher-frequency noises.

The CVC 8.0 noise-canceling mic and integrated Qualcomm QCC 3003 chip retain 90% of voice volume. And with Bluetooth 5.0, your kids can enjoy a high-quality wireless connection while sounding clear on voice or video calls. They can even opt between going wired or wireless, thanks to the included 3.5mm audio cable.

The downside is that you’ll lose mic functionality, as it only works in wireless mode.

Build-wise, the SuperEQ S2 headphones have a light, premium feel. The protein leather cushions are made with memory foam and feel soft on the ears for the first hour or so.

Unfortunately, the ear cups can start to feel uncomfortable after several hours of use. The ear cups tend to squash the ears a bit, which may be an issue for those with bigger ears. On the other hand, younger kids with smaller ears shouldn’t have a problem with this.



Best for Young Audiophiles
Close look at JBL JR 460NC (From: Amazon)
Close look at JBL JR 460NC (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • Form Factor: Over-ear
  • Noise Reduction: 15-20dB via ANC
  • Can play music: Yes
  • Volume Limit: 85dB
  • Weight: 0.44 lbs
  • Battery Life: 20 hours (ANC on) and 30 hours (ANC off)
  • Best for: 5-11 years old
  • Other features: Built-in Mic, Quick Charge Function, Detachable Audio Cable, Bluetooth Multipoint Connectivity

Children are never too young to develop a love for music, and if you think your child is one of them, you can start them with the JBL JR 460NC headphones. They have decent sound quality suited for young audiophiles and come with many features to suit other needs like gaming and studying.

During testing, the 32mm drivers were found to deliver pretty good bass for headphones designed for kids. So if your child likes a bit of extra oomph in their music, they’ll enjoy these. They also come with a detachable 3.5mm audio cable, allowing them to play music from virtually any mobile device.

Coupled with the ANC feature, the JR 460NC headphones also block up to 20dB of ambient noise. This doesn’t just improve audio quality and eliminate the need to raise the headphones’ volume but also helps minimize distractions while studying.

Unfortunately, the ANC isn’t as effective as other noise-canceling headphones. But they’re just enough to block out a humming fan or dull the barking of a neighbor’s dog.

Additionally, if the volume is a big concern for you, there’s no need to worry. These headphones also have a volume limiter that keeps all audio below 85dB.

The JBL Jr 460NC’s features are a solid fit in a world where online classes are commonplace. They come with a built-in mic and a lengthy 20-hour battery life, which allows two full days of classes, and then some. Bluetooth connectivity also makes them a versatile gaming and learning accessory.

Finally, although the headphones aren’t water-resistant, they still feel durable. They have high-quality plush ear cushions and a solid plastic build – great for kids who enjoy jamming to the music.


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