In Search of Remote Learning Headphones that Won’t Hurt my Son’s Hearing

by Barrett

Headphones that are volume limiting can be helpful to protect students who are spending more time online doing virtual learning. The trick is to find a pair that’s big enough for older kids.

I never imagined that my young Padawan would be spending so many hours with headphones wrapped around his little head, but remote learning during the pandemic suddenly warped the need for this tech forward.

And there’s a little question I haven’t fully addressed. Is the volume of the daily audio streams that flow into my son’s ears really safe for his hearing?

Here’s our backstory.

Our fifth grader has been using a pair of POWMEE P10 Kids Headphones with a built-in microphone on the cord, but they’re a little tight for him. He’s loved his headphones, but he complains every so often that his ears hurt after he’s worn them for a while.

I’ve also liked these POWMEE headphones, because they’re designed with a volume-limiting feature to protect his hearing. (So, I’ve been thinking that he’s covered in this regard.)

Now, it’s simply time to find a larger pair of wired headphones and microphone with the same sound protection. (I’ve been resistant to upgrading to Bluetooth headsets. An old-school corded pair that doesn’t need to be recharged should be just fine for him.)

Mpow CH6 Pro
I feel that any headphones designed for kids will be too small for my son. So, the product category I began Googling is ‘volume-limiting headphones for teenagers’ (even though my son is barely a tween).

Unfortunately, I don’t think that category exists. It would appear that headphone manufacturers only market audio-level protection to the toddler/small kid population. If you’re any older, I suppose you’re supposed to know enough not to pipe dangerously loud sounds into your ears?

There’s really not much out there for an older student with a growing skull.

On Amazon, I did find one pair of volume-limiting headphones that are being marketed to teenagers:

The cable has a 3.5mm audio jack, and the earpads are larger than those on other headphones for kids. Unfortunately, the volume limit is only 94dB, which is beyond what is generally considered ‘volume-limited.’

After another trip down my research rabbit hole, one company kept popping up. It’s Puro Sound Labs.

Puro Sound Labs offers a couple good choices for younger kids, but there’s also the PuroGamer Volume Limited Gaming Headset, which is targeted for teens and gamers of all ages.

Even though the PuroGamer gets mixed reviews for reliability on Amazon, these headphones still inched ahead of the Mpow for what I needed. They’re big enough, will work well for online learning, and the Amazon price is right.

Now, I don’t expect too much at this price point. I just want these headphones to function properly and help protect my son’s hearing.

The Price for Better Audio Protection
With such a limited selection, I eventually did extend my search to include more expensive Bluetooth headphones. But I came up short in that category too.

The one seemingly solid Bluetooth option is made by Puro Sound Labs.
(Sense a trend?)

But they appear to be too small for my son’s head. So, I sadly needed to pass on this choice.

Pinna Labs offers the LOMA Bluetooth Headphones for adults. But in my online research, I found nobody talking about this company. Plus, the headphones are not ‘currently available’ on Amazon.

While the LOMA headphones seem built for exactly my son’s needs, something was telling me they aren’t ready yet for prime time. Again… pass.

The PuroGamer Wins in a Shallow Field of Competition
I’m left with the realization that this market segment is
woefully underrepresented.

I ended up ordering the PuroGamer for my boy, and I’m hoping for the best. But I know that thirty bucks really can’t buy that. For now it will have to do.

So many of our kids are using headphones for so many more hours these days. I would assume that there’s a growing army of parents out there who have come to the same realization and also want to protect their older children’s ears?

If anyone else has other ideas, please let me know!