Seeking a Noise Reduction Headphone for 7 Year Old Boy

Updated on November 14, 2009
K.B. asks from Naperville, IL
6 answers

Seeking a recommendation for a set of noise reduction headphones for my 7 year old son. He is getting distracted by other students in classroom, highly sensitive ears, hears very acutely, etc. Anyone with a brand or other tips, please let me know. Thanks!

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answers from Chicago on

Hi K.,

If he is that sensitive or distracted by sound, he may have a sensory processing disorder (SPD) and would really benefit from occupational therapies. Check out the book 'Sensational Kids' by Lucy Jane Miller and see if your kid matches any of the profiles, then try some of the techniques suggested and see if they make his life easier.

The noise reducing earphones only eliminate static (steady, unchanging) background sounds, like the road noise in a car, the whirrr inside of an airplane, or the constant hum of a window air conditioner. They can not reduce the chatter of other kids or a TV or a radio playing.

If he needs quiet but doesn't have to do any critical listening, home depot has a slim and springy plastic neckband type that has the earplugs built into the ends so you can't lose them. If being with loud sounds stresses him out,( like vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, Harleys) these are great. They usually are bright swirly plastic safety colors but don't cover up your whole ear. Comfortable for short periods of time, they are very easy to put on or take off but everyone will know he's wearing them.

If he can't be that obvious about wearing ear protection, then get him some custom molded earplugs. A company called Sensaphonics in Chicago can mold his ears and make him a set for about $300. These are the same types that musicians use on loud stages and reduce sound evenly so that you hear all the detail just at lower sound level through the use of a replaceable filter that can reduce the sound by 9,15, or 25 decibels, and they are barely noticeable since they are molded to fit in his ears. They are not easy to put in as it requires a bit of practice to learn how to twist them just right when you are inserting them. Since they are molded to HIS ears, they are very comfortable to wear for a long time (unlike the squeeze and squish little foamie disposable earplugs that make your ears hurt after a while) and he will hear ALL the detail around him, so it's perfect for classroom use.

Good luck with your son, and congrats on looking to get him the help he needs.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Hi K.,
You might have to check with his doctor, because you might need a referral, or a medical supply store.

All the Best!



answers from Chicago on

It would probably be best that you have him evaluated by an Occupational Therapist. The school should have one that they work with (or a company). Just getting equipment, doing reading, and trying things on your own may be extremely beneficial to you for understanding some of the issues he is facing. However, this is part of your son's development, and an expert should catch more things going on than you see.
Your pediatrician can also do a referral that is likely needed for the school to take action. Sensory Integration is more than just noise-reduction!
All the best to you.



answers from Chicago on

Hi! In the same boat. My daughter did OT for a while and that was helpful, but what was really helpful were the headphones we bought from Home Depot, Menards, etc. There was only one brand, so if you just ask for "noise reduction headphones" the helpers will point you in the right direction. I can't recall the brand, but they were around $20. We have two pairs. One for school, one to travel. Best invention! They cut the ambient noise, but you can still hear enough in case a teacher wants your attention or the fire bells rings. She also wears them for fire drills (the teacher gets them out just before the ringing.)

ADDENDUM: Here you go. Found them on Home Depot Website, $17.97.

AO Safety Stowaway Ear Muff
Model # 90560-80000 Internet/Catalog # 100011566
Store SKU# 175427

AOSafety earmuffs are subject to rigid testing, meet only the highest government standards and boast some of the highest Noise Reduction Ratings. They can be used in virtually all noisy environments including those from target practice, shop machinery, power tools, snowmobiles, lawn mowers, tractors, farm machinery and motor sports.



answers from Chicago on

My son is also very sensitive to noises and sounds. Some years ago, we got noise cancelling headphones from and they worked great! (almost too great, actually...) My son was 3 or 4 then, however. We've also had to find a solution for him when he was more active, and the headphones were impractical (during gymnastics class, when the team was practicing to the VERY loud routine music over and over..) And we ended up using swim earplugs,(Hearos, I believe) which mute the noise, but don't totally cancel it out. I guess it depends on how much he cares/doesn't care about other kids and how this looks to them, as well.

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