Your children have sensitive ears that need protection if you’re planning to take them to a loud event such as a music festival, fireworks display or Formula 1 race.
Prevention is better than cure, so you should take action to protect your kids’ hearing now rather than letting them damage their hearing at an early age.
Both adults and kids are recommended to wear ear protection in environments where the noise is 90 decibels or above.
Children are more vulnerable to damage from exposure to loud sounds than adults. Since kids’ ear canals are smaller, they have higher sound pressure. This means that a sound that isn’t damaging for an adult could be damaging for a child.
Environmental noise exposure can increase adrenaline and noradrenaline (stress hormone) levels and also raise blood pressure in children (source).
Hearing loss in children can go undetected for years, so exposure to loud sounds now could cause hearing loss that only manifests itself years later.
Here are just a few environments where you might want to think about protecting your child’s hearing with ear defenders:
- Music festivals, concerts and gigs
- Large cinemas
- Football matches, Formula 1 races and other sporting events
- Fireworks displays
- Air shows
As well as protecting your kids’ hearing from loud noises, ear defenders can also help children with sensory processing issues, which is common among autistic kids. Ear defenders block out distressing sounds and help noise-sensitive kids to relax.
If you’re looking for ear defenders for an autistic child, we’ve covered this topic in more detail here.
Best Ear Defenders for Kids (UK) – 6+ months
|Image||Name||Age Range||SNR Rating||Weight||Price|
|Edz Kidz Ear Defenders||6 months+||26 dB||190 g||£10.95|
|3M Peltor Kids Ear Muffs||5 years+||27 dB||259 g||£17.82|
|Banz Mini Earmuffs||3 months+||26 dB||142 g||£14.86|
|Mpow 068 Kids Ear Defenders||6 months - 14 years||29 dB||195 g||£10.99|
|Snug Safe n Sound Kids Ear Defenders||6 months+||25 dB||180 g||£9.95|
Below you can read our reviews of what we consider to be the top 5 ear defenders for children available in the UK.
1. Edz Kidz Ear Defenders
|£10.95||26 dB||190 grams||Children aged 6 months and over|
These ear defenders come in a huge choice of colours and designs, meaning there’s bound to be a pair your child will love.
They’re very light at just 190 grams, and have an SNR of 26 dB, which provides a good level of protection.
These ear defenders are suitable for children from 6 months and above.
They are adjustable and should fit most children comfortably.
2. Vanderfields Ear Defenders for Kids
|£10.99||26 dB||180 g||Children aged 6 months and older|
These ear defenders from Vanderfields are another highly-adjustable pair. They should comfortably fit all the way into adulthood.
They also come in a range of colours, much like the other ear defenders on this list.
Portability is a major selling point of these ear defenders. They can be folded up and slipped into a handbag or rucksack with no problems.
This is especially useful for when your child doesn’t want to wear them.
If comfort is an issue, these ear defenders have reasonably thick padding on both the cups and the headband.
They should give a reasonable seal without compromising on comfort, which is excellent for long concerts or a lengthy day in town.
3. 3M Peltor Kids Ear Muffs
|£17.82||27 dB||175 grams||Children aged 5 and over|
3M have brought their expertise in manufacturing professional hearing protection to these sturdy and well-made ear defenders for kids.
The 3M Peltor Kids Ear Muffs are designed for children aged 5 and over.
They have an SNR rating of 27 dB, which is higher than most ear defenders for children.
Despite offering serious protection, the 3M Peltor Kids Ear Muffs have a fun design and are available in a choice of colours (neon green or pink).
These ear defenders have soft plastic cushions and an adjustable headphone to help your child get the right fit. They should fit most kids well, though some find them too tight.
4. Mpow 068 Kids Ear Defenders
|£10.99||29 dB||195 grams||6 months - 14 years|
These ear defenders come with their own carrying bad and have a high SNR rating of 29 dB.
They’re available in a good range of colours (Neon Green, Pink, Pure Black, Royal Blue and Sky Blue), so there should be a pair your child will like.
The Mpow 068 ear defenders have been tested to both the ANSI S3.19 and CE EN352 standards, so they can be relied on to provide real protection in loud environments.
These ear defenders are designed for kids aged from 6 months to 14 years. You can adjust the headband to get the best fit.
One nice thing about these ear defenders is that you can fold them up and put them in the carrying bag provided when you’re travelling.
Most children find these ear defenders comfy to wear, though they can be quite tight.
5. Snug Safe n Sound Kids Ear Defenders
|£9.95||25 dB||180 grams||Children aged 6 months and over|
These ear defenders come in a choice of four fun colours: green, pink, red and yellow.
They are adjustable and can fit both kids and adults, meaning you can wear them yourself when your child doesn’t need them.
They only weigh 180 grams and can be easily folded for carrying them around.
Snug Safe n Sound Kids Ear Defenders meet the European Safety Standard EN 352-1 and have an SNR of 25 dB.
These ear defenders are recommended for children and babies from the age of 6 months and upwards.
Best Baby Ear Defenders (UK) – 0-6 months
There aren’t many ear defenders on the market designed for newborns and babies under the age of three months.
Paediatricians often recommend keeping newborn babies away from loud noises, but if you need some ear defenders for a young baby, check out the pair below.
Banz Baby Earmuffs
Banz Baby Earmuffs are designed for babies and toddlers aged from birth to 2 years old. They have an adjustable headband and soft earcups.
The Banz website says that these ear defenders have been tested and deemed safe for newborns (0-3 months). However, they also say that “the published suggested minimum age is 3 months as most Pediatricians recommend keeping newborns sheltered from loud noise exposure until at least this age” (source).
You may find that these ear defenders are too large for a newborn baby, even on the smallest settings.
Most parents find that these ear defenders fit babies of about 3-12 months well. They’re a good choice for attending bonfire night, fireworks displays and weddings.
These ear defenders weigh 142 grams, making them the lightest product reviewed here.
The Banz Mini Earmuffs have an SNR of 26 dB, which means they offer a decent amount of volume reduction.
Kids’ Ear Defenders FAQs
Can baby ear defenders be worn from birth?
If you’re taking a baby under 6 months old to a noisy event such as a wedding or music festival, you will want to protect their delicate ears. This means using some hearing protection, such as ear plugs or ear defenders.
There are several pairs of baby and children’s ear defenders on the market, but manufacturers generally only recommend them for babies aged 3 months old or more.
While some people choose to use them on younger babies, you might be worried about them being too tight on your baby’s head.
So, can baby ear defenders be worn from birth? After researching this question, here’s what we’ve found:
- It’s generally not advised to use ear defenders on babies under the age of 3 months as their skulls are still quite soft.
- We couldn’t find any baby ear defenders with a recommended age of less than 3 months available in the UK.
- Babies can often sleep well through noise, so unless your exposing them to very loud noise ear defenders may not be necessary.
Do ear defenders help babies on planes?
Ear defenders can help some babies to sleep on planes, though not all babies find them comfortable and the noise inside a plane usually isn’t loud enough to require hearing protection.
The hum of a plane lulls lots of babies to sleep, but if you find yours has trouble sleeping on planes, you may want to try ear defenders.
Bear in mind that ear defenders won’t prevent discomfort from pressure changes in the plane.
Should babies/toddlers wear ear defenders for fireworks?
Yes, it’s a good idea to provide babies and toddlers with ear defenders if you are going to a fireworks display.
Fireworks displays can be as loud as 120 decibels (the legal limit in the UK), so they can cause hearing damage. However, a few bangs at this volume isn’t as bad as exposure to a constant sound at the same volume. Therefore, a 20-minute fireworks show isn’t as bad as a 1-hour rock concert.
Why ear defenders and not ear plugs?
There are two main choices of ear protection: in-ear ear plugs and over-ear ear defenders.
Young children usually don’t like ear plugs, so ear defenders are often a better option. They’re also safer as they go over the ear rather than in it.
In addition to safeguarding your child’s ears against hearing loss and tinnitus, ear defenders are also great for noise-sensitive children including children with autism.
How to Choose Ear Defenders for Kids
Kids’ ear defenders are essentially the same as adults’ ear defenders, only smaller and with more fun, colourful designs.
However, buying ear defenders for your children is a bit different to buying them for yourself.
Here are the three keys to choosing the best ear defenders for your kids:
- Look for a high SNR rating
Ear defenders usually have an SNR rating, which is an estimate of the reduction in sound offered by the ear defenders measured in decibels.
An SNR of 25 is equivalent to a 25 decibel reduction in the volume of the sound hitting your ear drums.
It’s important to note that the SNR rating applies to loud sounds only – quieter sounds won’t be reduced in volume by as much as the SNR rating.
The best ear defenders for children have SNR ratings of 25 dB or above.
2. Let your child choose the colour
Children can be very picky about colours and designs, so it’s a good idea to let them choose the colour of their ear defenders.
Getting ear defenders with a design your child likes will make it much easier to persuade them to wear them.
3. Make sure they’re made for the right age group
Some ear defenders for children are suitable for babies and toddlers, while others are only suitable for older children over the age of 5.
You should check that the ear defenders you’re looking at will fit children of your child’s age before buying them.
To summarise, look for age-appropriate ear defenders with a design your child will like and an SNR rating of 25 or above.
Tips for Protecting Your Child’s Hearing
Here are some tips for protecting your children’s hearing.
Avoid buying loud toys
Electronic toys that speak, make sound effects or play music can produce sounds exceeding 100 decibels when they’re put next to the ear. To put this into perspective, 100 decibels is about the same volume as a motorbike.
Limit headphone volume
If your child listens to music or watches videos using headphones, make sure the volume is no more than 50% of the maximum volume.
You can also choose a pair of specially designed headphones for kids with a safe decibel limit such as Mpow CH6 Kids Headphones, which limit the volume to 85 decibels.
Use double protection
You can combine ear defenders with ear plugs at especially noisy events such as fireworks displays and music festivals.
If we had to pick one pair of ear defenders to recommend for children of 6 months and older, it would be the Edz Kidz ear defenders as they are effective, comfy and come in a huge choice of designs.
If you’re looking for something for a newborn or baby under 6 months, we’d recommend the Banz Baby Earmuffs as they are one of the few pairs tested for this age group. Bear in mind though that they might still be too big for newborns and babies under 3 months.