Student headphones: an overview and some recommendations – 2019-2020 edition

At the start of the 2018-2019 school I wrote the first blog post regarding student headphones. This edition is essentially the same, has the same rational and overview with updated links. Headphones for children don’t change as frequently as high-end adult models, so this post is almost identical to last year’s post, with updated links.


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:


  • 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.


  • 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:

So, there are 4 options to choose from. $20 isn’t a small investment, however I do believe that an investment in one of those 4 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.

For my own children, a 2nd and 4th grader, I 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 hope that assists in your search for a pair of headphones for your child.

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