Parents who think that volume-restricting headphones could replace their supervision over children's listening habits should think again. The Wirecutter (http://thewirecutter.com/), a gadgets reviewing site, found that nearly half of 30 sets of children's headphones claiming to keep volume at or under 85 dB did not live up to that promise.
With the help of experts from the WHO, CDC, and NIDCD, Wirecutter conducted two tests, first with a sample of thumping music and then with pink noise, on 30 sets of headphones with an iPod Touch. The first test found that half of the headphones exceeded 85 dB, with the loudest ones going up to 114 dB; while the second test found one-third went over the safety standard, with the loudest pair delivering sounds over 108 dB. Wirecutter also asked a group of children ranging from 3 to 11 years old to try on each model and compile a "hate list" of ones they would never use.
Staff at the website chose the Puro BT2200 from Puro Sound Labs as their favorite. The Bluetooth headphones remain within the safe listening levels when used properly, and they were the top pick among all kid panelists. Audiologist Brian Fligor, ScD, cautions that parents shouldn't let their guards down even with safe headphones when speaking to The New York Times: "Eight-five decibels isn't some magic threshold below which you're perfectly safe and above which your ears bleed."