Are Ear Defenders a Good Idea for Babies?

Enjoying a rare childfree moment at a wedding I attended recently, I sat having a drink with one of my baby wielding friends (who was dutifully sipping on an orange juice). The amazing thing was, as we chatted over the band who were swinging into their final set, her baby was sleeping soundly right beside us in his stroller. How was this possible? I could only assume it was because he was wearing ear defenders - and this was confirmed by my friend.

“It’s amazing!” she enthused “once she’s got the ear defenders on she sleeps, no problem. She gets disturbed by loud noises, so these have been perfect”. I remembered the times that either my husband or I have had to leave a wedding or evening early because there was no way our little one was going to get to sleep with all that noise distraction. Why hadn’t I thought of trying this?

How do ear defenders work?

Ear defenders are cushioned pads that you can put over your ears (usually attached by a headband) that muffle or block out ambient and loud noises. Ear defenders for babies are specially made for small, delicate heads but there are all kinds of ear defenders for various ages and situations.

As well as being popular for babies, ear defenders are routinely worn by anyone working or spending a lot of time in a loud environment like at clubs, music concerts, building or road works sites.

When would you need ear defenders for babies?

Ear defenders can be used in pretty much any situation where loud noises might disturb your little ones, or damage their hearing. From cinema trips to weddings, concerts, festivals, home works and renovations and fireworks!

Can babies use earplugs?

Earplugs are not recommended for babies or toddlers for several reasons. Firstly, they can present a choking hazard. If they fall out (which can easily happen) the child can easily put one in their mouth and attempt to eat it. Earplugs probably look a lot like sweets to children, and since kids put the most disgusting things in their mouth - something spongey and looking like a sweet would be particularly attractive.

Babies also have small, delicate ears and it’s not a good idea to put anything into them unless it’s been prescribed by a doctor.

Are headphones safe for babies?

Any type of headphone that sits inside the ear may not be comfortable for babies or toddlers, however, they’re not deemed as unsafe.

I’ve sometimes popped headphones onto my toddlers' ears to soothe them or play them some music, however, I’m always conscious about keeping the volume low. It might be a good idea to check that your toddler or baby can’t accidentally turn the music up loud, as repeated exposure to loud noises can cause problems with hearing, especially in young ears.

Can babies go deaf from loud noises?

Anyone can go deaf from loud noises but babies, due to their thinner skulls, are more perceptible.

This could be one, single loud noise that could do irreversible damage to the inner ear or burst an eardrum - it could also be caused by prolonged exposure to loud music.

Baby wearing headphones

Is it bad for a baby to be around loud music?

Anyone can suffer hearing damage from loud music but babies, due to their thinner skulls, are more perceptible. If you’re going somewhere like a wedding, concert or festival where you know there will be a lot of loud music, it’s definitely worth considering not bringing your baby or investing in a pair of ear defenders to protect their ears.

Are fireworks too loud for babies?

Yes. Noises less than 80 decibels are deemed safe for babies, fireworks are generally much louder than that at 150-175 decibels.

What are the best ear defenders for babies?

There is a huge choice of different ear defenders on the market for babies, with price points from £10 to over £60. Some ear defenders are made specifically for newborn babies like the ems4kids baby ear defenders. Others like the popular Edz Kidz ear defenders can be used for babies over 6 months old.

Have you had experience using ear defenders for your children? What did you think? Let us know on Twitter or Instagram @matchstick_monkey.