Ear damage in kids caused by headphone volume is a large concern for parents and educators alike. Headphones are now being made with this in mind, and there is a clear front runner: Puro Sound Labs BT 2200 headphones have been named the safest and best headphones out of 50 different types for kids.
The test was carried out by The Wirecutter, a product recommendation site owned by the New York Times.
The BT 2200 model has built in volume-limiting that prevents volume from exceeding 85 decibels. This level is the maximum safe listening level according to the Hearing Health Foundation, OSHA, World Health Organisation and American Speech Pathology Association.
Two other audio products by Puro Sound Labs round out their lineup of safety-first headphones. The IEM200, an in-ear studio grade headphone and the OEH200, an over the ear headphone, were specifically developed for schools and other education institutions to allow for the a safe listening experience at a lower cost.
"The Puro Sound headphones not only met our volume-limiting test standards but also were the only pair liked by both the toddlers and the big kids who helped us test,” says The Wirecutter in an article.
“They support Bluetooth (which can provide more effective volume limiting than traditional headphone tech), but they also work corded (so you can use them with lots of devices), and they sound good enough for adults to use, too."
The article sites a recent study that denotes that noise-induced hearing loss is a significant health problem that has flown under the radar amongst U.S. teens and adults. It also states that hearing damage is accumulative, so damage that occurs earlier in life can become worse as the person gets older.
"For America's youth, hearing loss is a growing epidemic, with one in five teens suffering from some form of hearing loss," says Brett Lacey, CEO of Puro Sound Labs.
"The reason is exposure to unsafe levels of sound from their personal music players. This CDC study and others prove that we need to protect our kids' ears from an early age."
The founder of Puro Sound Labs, Dave Russell, learned that his youngest daughter had developed noise-induced hearing loss due to excessively loud volume from her headphones. He wanted to create a solution that prioritised hearing safety for other children.
"These are superior, noise-isolating headphones that look, feel and sound great – and pass the safety test with flying colors,” says Russell.
“We will continue to raise awareness of NIHL and develop safe technologies to provide a solution to this growing epidemic.”
Puro Sound Labs products are available in the US, New Zealand and Australia amongst other countries. They have models for children and adults ranging in price from $29.99 to $149.99 USD.