Student headphones: an overview and some recommendations

I often get asked about headphones for students. It’s a difficult question to answer on many fronts. Price is one concern, but so is durability. A microphone is an important consideration since students use apps like Seesaw to record their learning. And their age. A kindergartner has different needs than a 5th grader in terms of size, fit, and functionality.

 

Here is a breakdown of how I approach the K-5 headphone question…

Things to consider:

Price

  • don’t want to spend a lot, the headphones are most likely getting heavy, less than gentle, use and they’re living in the classroom, not a quiet spot at home
  • don’t want to spend too little, cheap headphones are exactly that, cheap. Liable to break more easily, requiring additional purchases, poor sound quality, bad fit, etc
  • Spending too much is a waste waiting to happen, and spending too little is throwing good money after bad
  • I think $20 is the maximum that should be spent on a pair of headphones that live at school. Int he $15-20 range there are quite a few high quality headphones that will be a much better investment that 5 pair of $5 ones.

Design

  • over-the-ear are the best, especially in K-3. And they’re not a bad idea in 4th and 5th
    • by 5th grade I feel a student can make their own headphone choice however, I would keep it to the same $20 limit or the traditional ear buds (the original Apple ones, not the Air Pods)
  • in-ear/ear bud style aren’t generally sized for children meaning they are a poor fit and don’t always stay in place
  • an in-line mic is an excellent option to have, it adds functionality and in school a mic is something we use quite frequently. Having it on the headphones makes everything more efficient and sound better
    • a boom mic is not recommended as they are more susceptible to breaking
  • headphones designed for kids can be simply small and colorful, or, more importantly, they can have a much more valuable feature; a decibel limiter
    • a set of headphones with a decibel limiter means no matter how high the volume on the device is set, the headphones peak at a safe level to limit potentially ear damaging volume

Here are a few options that are highly recommended by a variety of sites I trust

 

For my own children, a 1st and 3rd grader, I have bought the Ausdom headphones. Why those? Because I thought it was a good idea to show a 6 and 8 year old the choices and they chose based on look and color. However, the Ausdom were in my top 5 when the choice was made, so it wasn’t out or left field. And I do like them. I’m happy with the purchase and they are at school with my kids.

I think I’ll be also purchasing a pair of the JLab JBuddies Studio or LilGadgets Connect+ for home use as a way to test a variety of options.

 

So, there are 5 options to choose from. $20 isn’t a small investment, however I do believe that an investment in one of those 5 will prove to be a more reliable and durable purchase than a pair or $5 headphones. Jumping from $5 to $20 gives more functionality, reliability and durability. And the ones that are decibel limiting and have a microphone on them are the most bang for the buck.

 

I hope that assists in your search for a pair of headphones for your child.

 

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