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Dear Parents, have you taken measures to safeguard your children’s hearing? Discover the best headphones for kids and essential factors to consider when purchasing.
Selecting the best headphones for your children holds significant importance, as using inappropriate ones may lead to enduring hearing impairments.
Selecting the best headphones for your children holds significant importance, as using false ones may lead to enduring hearing impairments.
Headphones designed for children are an indispensable addition to a parent’s technological arsenal, as none of us desire to endure prolonged exposure to Spongebob, intense gunfire sound effects from video games, or the shrill tones of Alvin the Chipmunk. Moreover, they allow us to enjoy alternative audio content while our children stay entertained with their computers, tablets, phones, or TVs.
In today’s remote learning and homeschooling era, the significance of having a reliable pair of children’s headphones has become even more pronounced. It is crucial to consider options that include a microphone for seamless virtual classroom engagement.
Child-specific headphones serve another valuable purpose, particularly during extended flights or train journeys—essentially, any travel duration, for that matter. Allowing your child to watch a few movies during a tedious flight provides a significant advantage for parents. However, the predicament arises when airline-provided headphones are ill-suited for small heads and tend to slip off. This is where kids’ headphones come into play, ensuring a secure and comfortable fit throughout the journey.
However, placing adult headphones on your child’s head could pose a risk to their hearing. You can find further information regarding the use of headphones for children below our compilation of top recommendations. It is crucial to consider factors such as fit, comfort, and design, while also restricting the duration of headphone usage for children, regardless of the volume. We meticulously tested each model for sound quality, volume control, comfort, and safety.
According to numerous auditory health organizations, the recommended maximum noise level is 85 decibels (dB), and we firmly believe that children’s headphones should not exceed this limit to receive our endorsement.
Typically, adult headphones reach a peak of 115 decibels, which is equivalent to the sound of a loud train. Experts caution that listening at this level for just 15 minutes daily could lead to significant hearing loss.
Considering your child’s audio health is of utmost importance, mainly if they are avid gamers. This becomes crucial as gamers can be exposed to loud explosions and other detrimental sounds for prolonged periods.
When seeking an excellent pair of kids’ headphones, our criteria include an efficient volume limiter to safeguard their sensitive ears, a comfortable and secure fit for smaller heads, minimal noise leakage (ensuring the sound remains confined within the headphones), and a design that incorporates elements of kid-friendly fun.
It is advisable not to purchase earbuds or any in-ear models for children. The proximity of the sound source to the delicate inner workings of the ear increases the potential harm that loud sounds can cause.
Furthermore, even if the headphones you select have volume limitations, it is important to refrain from allowing children to wear them for prolonged periods. Even at the recommended limit of 85dB, extended headphone usage is not advised.
It is crucial to keep in mind that corded headphones present a strangulation hazard for young children. Consequently, it is generally advised against allowing children under the age of three to wear them unsupervised. One possible solution is opting for wireless headphones, although these come at a higher cost and necessitate regular battery charging. If feasible within your budget, Bluetooth kid’s headphones are highly recommended and deserve thoughtful consideration. Within our tests and evaluations, we have examined a few headphones that utilize bone-conduction technology, which eliminates any sound entering the ear. Instead, these headphones rely on transmitting sound through vibrations on the bones of the head and jaw. Consequently, the sound bypasses the eardrum and directly reaches the inner ear.
Best Headphones For Kids 2023
1 – iClever TransNova BTH16 – Best Headphone For Kids
The iClever TransNova (BTH16) Kids Wireless Headphones provide remarkable value for their price, boasting an impressive battery life compared to other Bluetooth headphones. They are lightweight, comfortable to wear with an adjustable headband, and additionally feature multicolored LEDs and interchangeable plates for the earcups, adding a touch of versatility.
The sound quality of these headphones is excellent, particularly within this price range, with a slight inclination towards bass. The volume is limited to 85dB, although it is worth noting that it still sounded relatively loud during our tests.
During our testing, we encountered quieter options; however, these often received complaints from our helpful child testers. Therefore, if you have confidence in your child’s ability to refrain from wearing them at maximum volume for prolonged periods, you should be fine.
The process of pairing via Bluetooth 5.0 was effortless once the headphones were fully charged. Additionally, these headphones include a detachable cable for those instances when you forget to charge them in advance.
The earpiece features essential controls such as play, pause, next/previous track, answer/end phone calls, and the ability to activate Siri.
For those seeking a slightly faster battery drain or aiming to be the trendiest kid at the party, there is an option to activate the multicolored LEDs on each earpiece. Pressing a button allows you to easily turn them off again when desired.
Conveniently, these headphones can be folded into a compact and sturdy form, making them easy to fit inside the durable yet vibrant travel/storage case. However, the level of robustness may vary depending on your child’s handling, of course!
Best Kids Headphone With Boom Mic
2 – ONANOFF BuddyPhones School
These top-notch kid’s headphones are designed specifically for home-schooling and remote learning. They feature the best boom microphone integrated into the BuddyJackCable, enabling the addition of another headset to the same audio source.
Additionally, it includes a microphone-free cable for situations where the microphone is not required.
The audio quality is exceptional, ensuring a fantastic experience for both the wearer and the listener. The kid-safe volume-limiting feature (set at 85dB) works perfectly, striking a balance between being neither too loud nor too quiet. Moreover, it includes effective passive noise cancellation to enhance the overall listening experience.
These over-ear headphones provide a comfortable and adjustable fit, allowing for personalized comfort. They come with a variety of stickers for customization, enabling users to add their personal touch. With color options ranging from Blue, Pink, and Green to Yellow, there is a choice to suit everyone’s preferences. Additionally, a convenient carry bag is included for easy storage and portability. As the headphones are not wireless, you may require an adapter for modern phones or tablets that lack a headphone jack.
Best Kids Wireless Headphones With Boom Microphone
3 – ONANOFF BuddyPhones Cosmos+
The Cosmos+ wireless headphones deliver outstanding audio quality, matching the highest standards we have got in kid’s headphones. They encompass all the essential features, including a detachable boom microphone for seamless video calls.
The enhanced audio quality can be attributed to the exceptional performance of the active noise cancellation feature, which operates flawlessly.
The headphones offer three secure audio modes: Toddler Mode, set at a safe 75dB to protect young ears; Kids Mode, reaching up to 85dB; and Travel Mode, which boosts the volume to 94dB for effective background noise isolation. It is advisable, whenever feasible, to adhere to the lower volume levels for optimal hearing protection.
The Study Mode feature isolates voices from surrounding sounds, resulting in clearer vocals. This feature proves beneficial during online learning sessions, providing enhanced focus and clarity for studying purposes.
The Cosmos+ headphones offer a comfortable fit suitable for most head sizes, except for the very young. The audio controls are user-friendly, allowing for effortless adjustment, and the pairing process is quick and straightforward to set up.
The headphones come with a durable travel case for convenient portability. They utilize USB-C charging, eliminating the hassle of dealing with finicky micro USB connections. In case the 24-hour battery life is depleted, a separate audio cable is provided for wired use, ensuring continuous audio playback.
One aspect that didn’t resonate with us was the use of childlike and gender-specific outer earpiece graphics, which might not appeal to older children. However, the headphones offer a wide range of color options, including Cool Blue (featuring DJ graphics), Rose Pink (with a Princess theme), Sun Yellow (depicting a Lion), Grey Matter (suitable for Scientists), Deep Blue (with a Pirate theme), and Snow White (showcasing Unicorns).
Best Non-Kiddy Kid Headphones
4 – Puro Sound BT2200 Plus
This headphone is also known as the best non-kiddy kid headphone. Unlike many kids’ headphones that often have a plastic appearance, the Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones boast a sophisticated design resembling high-end adult audio products. Correspondingly, their price also reflects this premium quality. These headphones represent a significant upgrade from most of the more affordable options mentioned in this list.
Among our preferred choices for kids’ headphones, the BT2200 model has been recently updated to the BT2200 Plus, further enhancing its features and performance.
The improvements in the BT2200 Plus extend beyond its sleek and less child-oriented appearance. Notably, the audio quality of these headphones is significantly superior, even when utilizing Bluetooth connectivity.
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Wireless headphones are an excellent choice if you’ve experienced the frustration of cables being damaged by a child’s accidental tugging or if you have concerns about the cable getting tangled around a small neck. They provide a cable-free solution that offers convenience and peace of mind.
The volume is restricted to a safe level of 85dBA, and our findings indicate that this is more than adequate. Utilizing DSP-based volume-limiting technology, the headphones actively monitor the volume levels, with the limiter engaging only when the sound reaches 85 dBA. This ensures optimal protection without compromising the listening experience.
These headphones go beyond mere volume limitation by effectively blocking background noise. They can attenuate up to 83 percent of sound at 1kHz, significantly reducing the necessity to increase the volume to potentially harmful levels, even in noisy environments like airplanes.
In addition to their comfort, the ear cushions effectively aid in blocking external noise. Depending on personal preference, you have the option to switch between on-ear and over-ear cushions. The ear cups and headband are constructed from durable aluminum, providing long-lasting durability, while the ear cushion and headband cover are crafted from protein leather, ensuring a soft and comfortable feel.
These headphones are available in a range of attractive colors including black, blue, green, purple, teal, and pink.
As these headphones utilize Bluetooth technology, they require charging. However, the battery life of “up to 20 hours” should be sufficient for most journeys. The convenience of a USB-C charging cable is provided, eliminating the hassle of dealing with the often cumbersome micro USB commonly found in kids’ headphones.
In the event of the battery running out, a detachable cable is included as a backup option. Conveniently located on the left earpiece, the volume controls allow for easy adjustment.
While the Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Plus headphones may come with a higher price tag compared to most kids’ headphones, their superior audio quality, durable construction, and wireless functionality elevate them as strong contenders for our top favorites.
Best Noise-Canceling Kids’ Headphones
5 – Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet
Another noteworthy offering from Puro is the PuroQuiet kid’s headphones, which stand out from the majority of the more affordable headphones reviewed here. They are in a league of their own.
These headphones go beyond standard volume limitation (set at 85dB) by providing active noise cancellation capabilities (up to 22dB). With a simple flick of the ANC switch located on the right ear cup, background noise is effectively filtered out, resulting in a significant enhancement in audio quality.
The left ear cup houses volume buttons and a power on/off switch for convenient control. It is worth noting that the volume levels did seem slightly higher compared to some other headphones—not overly loud, but still noticeable. As long as you can rely on your child to responsibly manage the volume and avoid continuously increasing it, there should be no issues.
By utilizing Bluetooth connectivity, the PuroQuiet headphones eliminate the need for a cable, reducing the risk of entanglement and potential injuries. The wireless pairing process is straightforward and hassle-free. In the event that you forget to charge the headphones (which can be done using the included micro USB cable), there is a detachable cable provided as a backup option. Additionally, a convenient carry case is included to protect the headphones when they are not in use.
The PuroQuiet headphones are offered in distinct Blue and Pink options, which may be associated with certain genders. Positioned at the higher end of the price range, these headphones justify their cost through their excellent build quality. Unlike some of the cheaper plastic alternatives, the PuroQuiet headphones appear to be designed for durability, built to withstand the test of time. If you can accommodate the additional investment, you will undoubtedly receive your money’s worth in terms of long-lasting value.
Best Wired Kids’ Headphones
6 – PuroBasics
Puro Labs continues its winning streak with another impressive offering, the PuroBasic headphones. As part of their lineup of kids’ headphones, the PuroBasic can be considered the entry-level model of this renowned brand, maintaining the quality and excellence they are known for.
The sound quality of these affordable headphones is surprisingly good. The volume is adequately limited, striking a balance where you can hear sound clear without it being excessively loud (a common concern). I would consider these headphones to offer a satisfying level of volume.
These headphones provide a comfortable and customizable fit. They feature soft ear cups crafted from vegan leather, combined with a lightweight and flexible plastic frame, ensuring a pleasant wearing experience.
The PuroBasic headphones are wired, and equipped with a 3.5mm jack. If you intend to use them with a phone or tablet that lacks a headphone jack, an adapter will be necessary.
You can choose from a range of vibrant color options for the PuroBasic headphones, including Red, Blue, Pink, and Green.
Best Off-Ear Headset
7 – imoo Ear-care Headset
For those concerned about inserting earbuds into a child’s ears or obstructing external sounds with foam, the imoo Ear-care Kids wireless headphones provide a clever solution. These Bluetooth headphones are designed to keep the speaker positioned away from the eardrum, addressing such concerns effectively.
Instead of being positioned directly inside the ear, the speakers of these headphones are placed just in front of the ear, directing the sound towards the ear. As a result, they enable the child to hear external sounds, such as the parent’s voice or traffic noise. Surprisingly, the amount of sound leakage from the headphones is minimal.
The audio quality is quite satisfactory, delivering clear and well-defined sound. While it may slightly lack bass, overall, the audio reproduction is pleasing and maintains a nice level of clarity.
Weighing a mere 30g, the Imoo headset is remarkably lightweight. It is specifically designed to cater to the needs of children aged 4-15 years old.
While the volume is limited to 85dB, we observed that these headphones sounded slightly louder compared to some others. However, we were not as concerned about this aspect since the sound is not directly projected into the child’s ear as in traditional earbuds.
8 – myfirst Headphones BC Wireless Lite – The best off-ear headset
myFirst’s BC Wireless Lite is another remarkable pair of Bluetooth open-ear headphones that utilize bone-conduction technology to transmit sound through the cheekbones.
This innovative technology ensures that sound is not directly transmitted into your child’s eardrums. With the myFirst BC Wireless Lite headphones, kids can enjoy listening to music while maintaining a heightened level of awareness of their surroundings compared to traditional headphones that cover their ears.
Despite relying on bone-conduction technology where vibrations are transmitted through the bones instead of directly into the ears, the sound quality of these headphones is surprisingly impressive. While they may not excel in delivering deep bass, they perform adequately and sound satisfactorily for children’s use.
Additionally, these headphones come equipped with a microphone.
The headphones offer a comfortable fit, although children accustomed to over-ear headphones may require some adjustment period. Remarkably lightweight at only 26g, they provide a hassle-free wearing experience. Included in the package are a USB-C charging cable (a welcome departure from microUSB) as well as earplugs and stickers for added customization options.
These headphones can be purchased directly from the manufacturer’s website and are also available on Amazon in the US. However, it’s worth noting that shipping to the UK may incur additional costs, potentially raising the overall price.
Best Alternative Kids Headphones
9 – Snuggly Rascals
Snuggly Rascals over-ear children’s headphones stand out for their unique design and approach. These headphones wrap around the child’s head and can be adjusted using Velcro, ensuring a secure and comfortable fit. Not only do they provide audio entertainment, but they also keep the little ones’ ears warm. Moreover, their design offers enhanced durability, making them less prone to falling off or breaking compared to standard headphones.
These headphones are exceptionally comfortable to wear, and the flat speakers integrated within the material are virtually undetectable, providing a seamless and enjoyable listening experience.
The sound quality of these headphones was impressive, even when used through the fleece fabric and a child’s long hair. Despite being specified with a maximum volume of 85 decibels, the actual audio output tends to be on the quieter side of the spectrum. This feature will undoubtedly please many parents who prioritize the protection of their children’s hearing.
The speakers of these headphones are detachable, allowing for easy removal, while the headband can be conveniently placed in the washing machine for hassle-free cleaning.
A delightful assortment of designs awaits you, including Monster, Unicorn, Plane, Giraffe, Penguin, Piggy, Chicken, and Cat. These charming options provide a range of fantastic choices for personalization and style.
Best Kids Headphones Controls
10 – ONANOFF BuddyPhones Play+
ONANOFF offers an extensive selection of kids’ headphones, but it’s the Play+ model that truly shines with its exceptional manual controls.
These wireless headphones effortlessly connect via Bluetooth and ensure a volume limit of 85dB to safeguard young ears. However, they go the extra mile by offering a lower limit of 75dB in Toddler Mode, specifically designed for the delicate ears of younger children. Additionally, the Travel Mode allows for a slightly louder volume at 94dB to counteract background noise during travel.
In addition, there is a Study Mode feature that significantly enhances spoken voice clarity, catering to online learning needs and providing an optimal experience for audiobooks as well.
These headphones offer a comfortable and lightweight design that can be easily adjusted to fit individual preferences. Furthermore, they are foldable for convenient storage and come with a lightweight bag for easy transportation and protection.
The audio quality of these headphones is impressive for a kids’ product, delivering a satisfying listening experience. Conveniently located on the side, the headphones feature intuitive controls for volume adjustment, playback control, and track navigation. Additionally, they come equipped with a built-in microphone for seamless communication.
For situations when the battery runs out, you have the option to connect an audio cable to these headphones. The package also includes a matching USB-C cable for convenient charging purposes.
Indulge in a selection of captivating colors, including shades of gray, light and dark blue, yellow, and pink, when choosing these headphones. To add a personal touch, the package includes a delightful assortment of stickers to customize the ear cans to your liking.
11 – Puro JuniorJams – The Sound is Superb, Though it Tends to be Rather Loud
The JuniorJams headphones fall into the more affordable segment of the Puro Sound Labs wireless range. For an even more budget-friendly option from Puro, consider the PuroBasic wired headphones.
These wireless on-ear headphones are lightweight and foldable and come with volume-limiting functionality set at the standard 85 dB. Despite being more affordable than their higher-end counterparts, such as the BT2200 and PuroQuiet, they boast a stylish design that is on par with their pricier siblings.
The sound quality on these headphones is exceptional, surpassing our expectations for a kids’ product. In terms of design and build, they exude a sense of premium quality, both in appearance and tactile feel.
However, it’s worth noting that we observed the maximum volume on these headphones to be significantly higher compared to others tested in this category. While some individuals may appreciate this feature as certain volume limiters can be perceived as too quiet, it is important to exercise caution, especially when considering the well-being of children. The capability of these headphones to reach such high volumes surpasses what we would deem suitable, even for adult usage.
Therefore, it is crucial to have confidence in your child’s ability to use the headphones responsibly and refrain from excessively increasing the volume, particularly when you are not present to supervise. It is especially important to exercise caution with younger children who may not yet fully understand the potential risks associated with high volume levels.
Included in the package is a cable that allows you to connect two headsets together, enabling you to share audio from a single phone or another Bluetooth-enabled device. This feature allows for a shared listening experience between multiple users.
In case the wireless functionality runs out of battery power, the included cable can be used to connect the headphones directly to a phone (with a headphone jack or adapter) for continuous audio playback. Puro claims a battery life of up to 22 hours for wireless play, ensuring long-lasting usage.
The control buttons for playing music, answering/rejecting calls, and adjusting the volume are conveniently positioned at the bottom of the right ear cup.
The headphones come with a sturdy and soft carrying bag, along with all the necessary cables for connecting and charging.
Affordable Wireless Kids Headphones
12 – JLab Audio Jbuddies
The JLab Audio JBuddies are wireless kids’ headphones that are well-made and have a volume limit of 85 dB.
The JLab Audio JBuddies are designed for comfort, featuring foam cushions and a foldable design for easy storage and protection. They are suitable for ages 8 and up, making them a versatile choice that appeals to a wide range of users regardless of gender or age.
The audio quality of the JLab Audio JBuddies is satisfactory considering its price point.
The inclusion of Bluetooth technology in the JLab Audio JBuddies is a great feature, as it eliminates any safety concerns related to cords. However, it’s important to remember to keep them charged, as unlike some other models, these headphones do not come with a detachable cable for wired listening.
The battery life of the JLab Audio JBuddies is stated as 13 hours, which is sufficient for even a long-haul flight. However, we would recommend getting some sleep instead of continuous headphone usage during such extended journeys.
One frustration we encountered was with the instructions, as they did not provide sufficient explanation for the “automatic” Bluetooth connection. The key is to hold the power button for approximately 30 seconds until it starts flashing blue and red.
13 – BuddyPhones POP
These wireless headphones provide two distinct sound settings for safety: Safe Mode with a volume limit of 85dB and Pop Mode with a volume limit of 94 dB. While certain headphones with volume limits may not provide adequate sound, we firmly believe that a maximum volume of 94dB is excessively loud for sensitive ears, and even for older individuals, it should be considered too loud. Switching between modes can be done by holding the + and – volume buttons simultaneously, which may not provide the most robust safeguard.
The audio quality of these wireless headphones is surprisingly impressive considering their affordable price. They also come equipped with a built-in microphone for convenient communication. Additionally, a charging cable is included for easy recharging. In case the battery runs out, you can seamlessly switch to wired mode using the adapter cable.
The design of these headphones is primarily aimed at younger kids, offering a playful and vibrant aesthetic. Each of the four color options comes with a set of four high-quality stickers, allowing kids to personalize their headphones. Additionally, the headphones are foldable, making them compact and convenient for storage and travel purposes.
JVC HA-KD5 Tiny Phones – Headphones Designed For Kids That Can Be Customized With Decorations.
The JVC Tiny Phones (HA-KD5) are impressively constructed, boasting a sturdy build quality. They are equipped with soft padding that not only enhances comfort but also effectively minimizes noise leakage. The wide headband adds to its durability and overall robustness.
They are offered in two vibrant models, one featuring pink and purple tones and the other showcasing yellow and blue colors. These options cater to gender preferences with an apparent distinction between girl and boy choices. Designed for ages 4 and up, they are adjustable to accommodate various head sizes, including adults.
The volume limiter on these headphones is set at 85dB, which we found to be quite good. It is slightly louder than the Griffin MyPhones but still much more acceptable compared to other headphones we tested.
The cord measures 0.8m in length, which is suitable for laptop, tablet, and phone use. However, for TV viewing, you may need to use an extender to accommodate the distance.
To ensure optimal comfort, it’s important to wear these headphones with the correct orientation. The right and left sides are clearly labeled with an “R” and “L,” respectively. However, if your child struggles with distinguishing left from right, you may encounter occasional complaints when the headphones are accidentally worn incorrectly. On the bright side, it could be a valuable opportunity for them to learn and reinforce their understanding of left and right!
One great feature of the JVC kid’s headphones is the ability to customize them. The headphones come with a set of stickers, which include both letters and various pictures, allowing children to personalize their headphones. During our test, we used the purple/pink set, which included stickers like hearts, wands, teddies, and bunnies. It’s worth noting that the blue/yellow pair may come with stickers that offer different design options, catering to a broader range of preferences beyond cutesy themes.
To be fair, you have the freedom to apply any stickers you like to these headphones, as well as to the other models tested here. However, the inclusion of stickers is a gimmick that can be appealing to both parents and, of course, most kids. It adds an extra element of fun and personalization to the headphones, making them more engaging for young users.
We were impressed by the JVC HA-KD5 Tiny Phones. Despite their name, they are not excessively small and should comfortably fit most kids’ heads. Therefore, parents should not be deterred by the name, as these headphones are suitable for a wide range of children.
Are There Any Headphones Specifically Designed to be Safe For Children to Use?
Experts also recommend limiting headphone usage to two hours per day for both children and adults, even if the volume is restricted to 85 dB. This precautionary measure helps protect hearing health and promotes responsible headphone use.
Applying volume limits to the headphones you provide for your children is undoubtedly a prudent choice to safeguard their hearing. However, it’s worth noting that some experts caution against children using headphones altogether, regardless of volume restrictions.
Although the World Health Organization (WHO) and the EU consider 85dB to be a sufficient safety limit, it’s important to note that the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a lower average daily noise exposure level of 70 dB. It’s worth mentioning that the 85dB limit is based on occupational studies focused on adults and their susceptibility to hearing loss, rather than specifically addressing the needs and vulnerabilities of children.
One challenge is that 70dB is a relatively low volume level and may not effectively block out ambient noise. As a result, 85dB has become the common standard, even though it has the potential to cause damage to a young person’s hearing.
Due to the growth and development of nerve fibers and other cells, children’s ears are more susceptible to noise damage. Additionally, their smaller external auditory canals result in the eardrum being closer to the source of the sound. As a result, it is important to be mindful of the potential impact of noise on children’s hearing.
According to Daniel Fink MD, a board member of the American Tinnitus Association, the occupational noise exposure level of 85dB, intended for professions like truck drivers, factory workers, and miners, is excessively loud for a child’s delicate ears. He emphasizes the importance of protecting children’s hearing, as their ears have to last them a lifetime.
Finding a sensible compromise involves investing in high-quality headphones that limit the volume while also imposing time restrictions on children’s usage. This approach ensures both the protection of their hearing and the promotion of responsible headphone usage.
Several smartphones and tablets offer features to monitor and control headphone volume. For instance, iPhones and iPads have the Health app, where you can find options for monitoring Hearing and Headphone Audio Levels. Similarly, certain Android phones allow you to set volume limits, and the Google Play store offers apps like Volume Limiter specifically designed to restrict volume levels. These tools provide additional control and help promote safe listening habits.