Best Baby Ear Defenders & Protection Muffs Reviewed in 2018

Protecting your baby’s hearing is very important as your baby’s hearing is quite delicate and can absorb louder noises easier and more deeply than children of other ages. Ear defenders can help protect your baby’s hearing during loud noise activities such as concerts, sports games, large gatherings or even thunderstorms and playtime. While there are various types of ear defenders, the most common ones for babies and children are earmuffs.

Earmuffs help to provide maximum coverage for your baby’s hearing protection by using acoustic foam to help cancel, reduce or muffle loud noises while allowing soft, lower noises to penetrate the baby’s ears. This can help a baby’s hearing development by preventing damaging noises while also slowly introducing them to different noise levels as they grow. You do not want to block one hundred percent of noises because your baby needs to learn how to recognize various noises.

Even if you do not allow your baby to participate in concerts, sports games or be surrounded by loud people, places and things, in general, it’s still a good choice for your baby to wear ear defenders during playtime as today’s highly interactive, electronic toys can have very high noise levels. If you want to make sure your baby will have great hearing and learn how to listen well before they become crazy toddlers, check out our list of ear defenders in the form of earmuffs to discover great hearing protection and development for your baby.

Last Updated: July 10, 2018
Hristina
By Hristina:

Our team of researchers, along with our parenting team, updated this page to best reflect the current and available options on the market today. We replaced a few items that were out of stock and also updated most of the information to best reflect important aspects of the current products. With all updates, we also strive to improve any grammatical errors.

Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Baby Ear Defenders & Protection Muffs

Protecting your baby’s hearing is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure a strong and healthy baby. Hearing loss is quite common for today’s children and cause of hearing loss varies. Loud music, exposure to machinery, and even toys that are sound equipped can negatively affect a child’s hearing. For the hearing loss to be imminent, the child has to be exposed to the loud sounds on a continuous and consistent basis. If they are listening to loud music non-stop at a rate of four hours or more a day, it can affect the child’s hearing and the same applies to other loud noises the child is surrounded by on a continuous and consistent basis.

For babies, however, it doesn’t have to take four hours for their hearing to be negatively impacted. Babies can hear noises at much higher decibels than school-aged children and high pitch noise can rattle their little delicate ears and destroy the sensory cells in their ears. Toys can be the biggest culprit of this as sound equipped toys can exceed 100 decibels (dB) and since little ones have the tendency to place toys close to their ears, the damage can be imminent and irreversible.

When choosing ear defenders for your baby there are quite a few factors to consider such as the strength of the hearing protection, the comfortability, and fit of the ear defenders, and the safety of the material. Some ear defenders such as earplugs can’t be used for babies as the baby’s ear canal is too small to insert an earplug and the earplug itself is a potential choking hazard to the baby. Therefore, the best choice for babies hearing protection are earmuffs that fit over the head and ears.

Unfortunately, not every earmuff is created equally as some earmuffs are made for school-aged children but are repackaged for babies and could possibly cause damage to the baby’s head and neck as the school-aged earmuffs are too heavy and bulky for the baby. Another issue is the material because some earmuffs are metal based which can cause discomfort and pain for the baby and some are crafted from unsafe and toxic materials which could possibly poison the baby through their delicate skin. Lastly, some earmuffs have very poor acoustic foam in the ear cups to help attenuate the sound and some ear cups do not provide proper coverage, cushioning or proper fitting on the ear.

In our criteria, we judged ear defenders by their ability to provide hearing protection, comfortability, and safety with a few key other factors.

The strength of Hearing Protection

The sound is measured in decibels (dB) and ear defenders come in various levels of sound protection from low-level protection (outside activities, school activities) to high-level protection (concerts, power tools). Most ear defenders are made to be used for up to eight hours but some are made for four hours too. Ear defenders provide protection from sound by using acoustic foam and acoustic foam helps to absorb the sound waves which reduce any sound discomfort for a baby’s sensitive hearing. The best ear defenders have the greatest noise reduction rating.

Comfort

Since ear defenders fall under the category of personal protective equipment (PPE), the majority of ear defenders are usually made from metal or hard plastic (particularly the headband area) which could be quite uncomfortable for babies. Therefore, ear defenders for babies need to have cushioning to keep the baby’s head and ears free of discomfort. The best ear defenders for babies have a curved headband (usually padded) to help evenly distribute the ear defenders weight and pressure and prevent headaches.

Safety

Ear defenders are crafted from metal or plastic and can contain dyes for the various designs on the ear defenders body and acoustic foam; acoustic foam is usually treated with flame retardant as well. While no ear defenders for babies that are without these material ingredients have been discovered, the ear defenders on our list are specifically crafted for babies and are proven to be made with the highest standards of safety in mind. A few of the ear defenders are BPA free and eco-friendly.

Size and Fit

A baby’s head is small, delicate and continuously growing. The ear defender needs to be able to fit the baby’s head without being too large to create bulk or too small to create tightness. The fitting of the ear defenders has to be adjustable so it can grow with the baby’s developing skull. If the headband of the ear defender is non-adjustable or is a snug fabric, it has to fit evenly across the baby’s head and lightweight enough to prevent unnecessary molding.

Stability

The stability of the ear defender is very important. The ear defender has to be able to sit on the baby’s head without slipping off, sliding off or be easily pulled off by the baby. This also includes the construction of the ear defender as it has to be strong and sturdily built to withstand any activity so it will not break, crack or fall apart easily. It also has to help keep the baby’s head stable as the baby develops theirs neck strength and learn how to hold their own head up.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are ear defenders?

A: Ear defenders are an analog, manual object to help protect an individual’s hearing from loud and harsh sounds for up to eight hours or more. They can also be known as earmuffs and ear defender products marketed towards babies and children are usually listed as earmuffs.

Q: What are the different types of ear defenders?

A: There is quite a variety of ear defenders but the most common are the earmuffs and earplugs. Earmuffs are the products in our ear defenders list and earplugs are made to be inserted into the ear canals but are not a smart option for babies.

Q: Where can ear defenders be worn?

A: Ear defenders can be worn wherever there are loud noises that your baby will be exposed to for long periods of time. The best places to wear ear defenders are sports games, concerts and festivals.

Q: How can ear defenders help my baby’s hearing?

A: Acoustic foam that is placed within the ear cups is used to help with noise reduction. It doesn’t block the sound but it helps to reduce the strength of the sound waves by absorbing the waves. Therefore, your baby will still hear the noise but it will be soft and light against their delicate little ears while using ear defenders.

Q: What noises can ear defenders protect against?

A: Low-level noises such as normal conversations and high-level noises such as machinery. Ear defenders can also help defend against high decibel (dB) noises such as thunderclaps and toys that emit a lot of high pitch interactive sounds.

Q: Why should I purchase ear defenders?

A: You should purchase ear defenders to protect your baby’s very sensitive hearing. One in eight children is diagnosed with hearing loss from typical, common things such as loud crowd gatherings, loud music, and loud tools. If your baby will be exposed to such loud sounds at continuous hours then it is best to invest in ear defenders.

Q: Is there a difference between ear defenders and earmuffs?

A: Yes and no. When people hear the word earmuffs, they think of the soft fabric material that is used during the winter to protect ears from cold, damp weather. In discussions of hearing protection (workplace safety for example) the word earmuffs is used in exchange with ear defenders and ear defenders are sometimes marketed as earmuffs. Since ear defenders sit on the head and cover the ears, they can be considered earmuffs based on their design.

Q: Can ear defenders protect against the weather?

A: Ear defenders can protect against the loud sounds produced by thunderclaps and lightning. Hopefully, your little one never has to be in the middle of a thunderstorm but it so, ear defenders can help reduce the noise level of the storms or even high winds.

Sources

  1. Lisette de Roode, Hearing protection for babies and toddlers, Blog Article,
  2. Gary Klee, Guide to Selecting the Right Ear Muff, Online Article,
  3. Roz Sanderson, Ear Defenders: A buyer’s guide to hearing protection, Informative Article,
  4. Admin, Protect Your Child’s Hearing, Informative Article,
  5. Rachelle Vander Schaaf, How to Protect Baby's Hearing, Health Article,