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As parents, we’d never consider taking baby on the water without an infant life jacket. We spend hours babyproofing our homes and we research car seat guidelines until our eyes cross. But one safety measure that’s easy to overlook? Hearing protection in the form of baby noise-canceling headphones.
Anyone who’s ever put a baby down for a nap knows they hear everything. Creaky floorboards? Better memorize those fast! Want to microwave that coffee for the third time? Should have thought of that earlier, my friend. Because babies have smaller ear canals than adults, everything sounds louder to them than it does to us. And much of the world is pretty loud!
In general, babies should not be repeatedly exposed to noise that’s higher than 70 decibels. (For reference, 70 decibels is about the noise level of a hairdryer or vacuum.) So bringing babies along for all the fun stuff like ball games, concerts or even fireworks means finding a way to keep them safe.
The best noise-canceling headphones for babies should be comfortable and lightweight and offer an NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) of at least 20 decibels. If you’re planning to use them at super loud events like drag races or festivals look for something closer to 30. Remember the higher the rating, the more protection they offer.
We’ve scoured the internet for the best noise-canceling headphones for babies, toddlers and kids. Here are our top picks.
A version of this article was published June 24, 2021. It has been updated.