Noise Sensitivity: Ear Defenders and Noise Cancelling Headphones for Kids 1

Noise Sensitivity: Ear Defenders and Noise Cancelling Headphones for Kids

The Best Noise Cancelling Headphones for Autistic Children.

Table of Contents

    Kids ear protection is vital. This post is a follow-up to our main post on Noise Sensitivity. I work with many children with noise sensitivity who use some sort of ear defenders to reduce the noise in the school environment. There are two types of noise-cancelling earplugs: passive and active. Passive ear defenders, headphones or plugs block out sound by creating a physical barrier between your ear and the noise source. Active ear plugs, on the other hand, use electronic circuitry to cancel out noise. They work by picking up external sounds with a microphone and producing an opposite sound wave to cancel out the noise.

    When looking to purchase noise-cancelling headphones for children with sensory processing disorder or autism, it’s important to pay attention to the level of noise reduction they offer. Some earplugs are designed to block out all sound, while others are designed to reduce noise to a safe level without completely blocking it out. It’s also important to consider the fit and comfort of the ear plugs, as well as their durability and ease of use.

    How Do Ear Defenders Work?

    Ear defenders work by providing physical soundproofing to block out loud noises from reaching the ear canal. Here’s a brief overview of how they work:

    • Construction: Ear defenders are made of a sound-absorbing material such as foam or plastic with an airtight seal around the outside of the ear. Commercial defenders often use closed-cell foams.
    • Soundproofing: When placed over the ears, they create an extra air cavity between the outside noise and the ear drum. Sound waves cannot easily travel through air, foam, plastic and into the ear canal.
    • Noise reduction: The additional distance and barrier material reduces sound pressure levels reaching the ear drum. Foam ear defenders may block out around 25-30dB of noise. Heavy duty defenders provide 30-35dB noise reduction.
    • Seals: A tight seal around the ear with little gaps is important. Air pressure differences from incoming sound waves cannot build up if there are leak points, reducing soundproofing effectiveness.
    • Comfort: Most have soft padded materials contacting skin for comfort during long wear. Some have headbands or elastic for a secure yet comfortable fit.

    Here are some of the best noise cancelling headphones for kids. They have been identified to provide the best combination of noise reduction, comfort, and usability. The young person has to see the value in wearing them especially if they are autistic.

    Best Noise Cancelling Ear Plugs

    Noise can be a major distraction and cause of distress for a lot of young people.

    ZHLAREVI Ear Plugs

    ZHLAREVI Ear Plugs The Best Noise Cancelling Headphones for Autistic Children.

    We highly recommend purchasing the ZHLAREVI Ear Plugs for anyone looking for comfortable and effective noise cancelling ear plugs. Pros

    • Provides effective noise reduction for all kinds of situations
    • Suitable for children with smaller ears
    • Made from super soft and comfortable food grade silicone material.
    • Comes with a compact ear plugs storage case.


    • May not be suitable for people with larger ear canals.
    • May not fit securely in all ear shapes and sizes.
    • Some users may experience discomfort with extended wear.

    These are made with triple oval design active noise cancelling technology, added nano noise cancelling coated silicone, and precision filters to provide optimal noise reduction, reducing ambient noise for you at all times without stress. The ear plugs are soft, comfortable, reusable, washable and suitable for extended wear. They come with two pairs of different sized noise-cancelling earplugs, providing the comfort of different sizes.

    Overall, we highly recommend the ZHLAREVI Ear Plugs for anyone looking for comfortable and effective noise cancelling ear plugs. They are versatile and effective.

    ProCase Kids Ear Defenders

    ProCase Kid-friendly Noise Cancelling Ear Muffs. The Best Noise Cancelling Headphones for Autistic Children.

    If you’re looking for noise reduction for your children, we highly recommend the ProCase Kids Ear Defenders. These ear muffs offer effective hearing protection and decent comfort for your little ones.


    • These ear muffs are certified by ANSI S3.19 (US) CE EN352-1(EU) and offer a NRR 21dB rating, which efficiently filters out sounds to a minimum for hearing protection.
    • The padded headband reduces the pressure on your child’s head for superior comfort while soft ear cushions ensure a snug fit; ergonomic design.
    • Retractable stainless steel and 360 rotatable ear cups with comfortable foam can be adjusted to fit any child’s head of various ages; effortlessly keep the earmuffs for your child’s lifetime.


    • These ear muffs may not be suitable for very young children as they can be quite bulky and heavy.
    • Some users have reported that the ear muffs are not very effective at blocking out very loud noises.
    • The ear muffs may not fit very small or very large heads comfortably.

    The ProCase Kids Ear Defenders are made with noise-dampening sponge material and adopt eco-friendly and non-toxic materials to ensure safety during daily use. With pressure diffuser technology, the padded headband reduces the pressure and provides maximum comfort for your kids without adding much weight or bulk. The adjustable headband and soft ear cups ensure a snug fit for various head sizes. The ear muffs also feature a compact folding design, making them easy to tuck away for compact storage and convenient portability.

    Anforee Ear Plugs

    Kids ear protection Anforee Ear Plugs

    If you’re looking for noise cancelling ear plugs that are comfortable to wear and effective at reducing noise, Anforee Ear Plugs are a great choice.


    • Reduces up to 32dB of noise, making it easier to sleep or concentrate.
    • Super soft silicone material is flexible, safe, and easy to clean.
    • Ergonomic design ensures all-day comfort, even for side sleepers.


    • The ear plugs may not fit all ear canal sizes perfectly.
    • Some people may find the silicone material too soft or not effective enough at blocking noise.
    • The ear plugs may not be suitable for all types of noise, such as very loud or high-pitched sounds.

    Our experience with Anforee Ear Plugs has been positive overall. The ear plugs are easy to insert and remove, and they stay in place throughout the night. We appreciate the two different sizes included, which ensure a better fit for different ear canal sizes. The noise cancelling effect is noticeable and helpful, especially for light sleepers or those who work in noisy environments.

    dBel Noise Cancelling Ear Plugs

    dBel Ear Plugs The Best Noise Cancelling Headphones for Autistic Children.

    If you’re looking for noise-cancelling ear plugs, dBel Ear Plugs are a great option to consider. We found them to be comfortable, effective, and versatile for use with children with noise sensitivity


    • The ear plugs for sensory overload are made from super soft silicone, making them comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
    • With a noise reduction rating of 30 decibels, these ear plugs are effective at blocking out loud noises, making them great for sleeping, studying, or working in noisy environments.
    • The ear plugs come in four different sizes, so you can find the perfect fit for your ears.
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    • The ear plugs may not be suitable for those with very small ear canals
    • The ear plugs may not be as effective at blocking out very high-pitched noises.

    We found that dBel Ear Plugs are a great choice for anyone looking for noise cancelling ear plugs. They are comfortable to wear, effective at blocking out loud noises, and versatile enough to use in a variety of different situations.

    One of the things we really like about these ear plugs is that they come in four different sizes. This means that you can find the perfect fit for your ears, which is important for both comfort and effectiveness. We also appreciate that the ear plugs are made from super soft silicone, which makes them very comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

    ProCase Ear Defenders Adults [Ultra Comfort Series], Black

    ProCase Ear Defenders Adults [Ultra Comfort Series] noise cancelling

    If you want a comfortable and effective way to reduce noise in medium-intensity environments, such as the library or classroom or even home environment, the ProCase Ear Defenders Adults [Ultra Comfort Series] are a good option.


    • Effective noise reduction with SNR 34 dB rating
    • Polygonal curve-shaped headband reduces pressure on the head
    • Thickened cushion foam provides a tight sound-proof seal around the ears


    • Padding could be more comfortable for some users
    • May not fit all head sizes comfortably

    The ProCase Ear Defenders Adults are a great choice for reducing noise in medium-intensity environments. The polygonal curve-shaped headband effectively reduces pressure on the head, allowing for long-term wear. The thickened cushion foam provides a tight sound-proof seal around the ears, effectively reducing noise. Some users may find the padding less comfortable than other ear defenders. Finally, the retractable stainless steel at the end of the headband plus 360-degree rotatable ear cups can be adjusted to fit all head sizes from kids to adults, but may not fit all head sizes comfortably. Overall, the ProCase Ear Defenders Adults [Ultra Comfort Series] are a great option for reducing noise in medium-intensity environments.

    Ear Defender for Autistic Children: Buying Guide

    When it comes to buying noise cancelling ear plugs, there are a few key features to consider to ensure you get the best product for your needs. Here are some things to keep in mind:


    The material of the ear defenders is an important factor to consider. Look for ear defenders made of hypoallergenic materials, such as silicone or foam, to avoid skin irritation or allergic reactions. Additionally, some materials may be more durable than others, so consider how often you’ll be using the ear defenders and in what environments. Very few over-the-head ones I have used can survive being stretched out or thrown without snapping. This is common behaviour in autistic children who are overwhelmed.

    Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)

    The NRR is a measure of how much sound the ear plugs can block out. Look for ear plugs with a high NRR if you need maximum noise reduction, such as when sleeping or working in loud environments. Keep in mind that the NRR may vary depending on the frequency of the sound, so it’s important to choose ear plugs that are specifically designed for the type of noise you’ll be exposed to.


    The fit of the ear plugs is crucial for their effectiveness. Look for ear plugs that come in different sizes or can be custom-molded to your ears for a comfortable, secure fit. Ear plugs that are too loose or too tight may not provide adequate noise reduction and can even cause discomfort or pain.

    Additional Features

    Some ear plugs come with additional features that can enhance their effectiveness or convenience. For example, some ear plugs have filters that allow you to adjust the amount of noise reduction, while others have cords or cases for easy storage and transport. Consider what features are important to you and your specific needs.

    By keeping these factors in mind, you can choose noise cancelling ear plugs that provide the best combination of comfort, effectiveness, and convenience for the child.

    Best Noise Cancelling Headphones for Kids

    The Benefits of Noise Cancelling Headphones for Autistic Children

    For children with autism, sensory experiences can often be overwhelming and dysregulated. Loud noises like school bells, cafeteria clatter, and hallway echoes can feel jarring and heighten stress levels. However, noise cancelling headphones offer a practical solution to help autistic children self-regulate and focus in noisy environments.

    How Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Work?

    Noise cancelling headphones use digital signal processing (DSP) technology to actively block external sounds. Microphones inside the headphones detect incoming noise signals, which are analyzed by internal circuitry. The circuitry then generates an inverse waveform that cancels out the ambient sounds before they reach the listener’s ears. This creates a calmer, distraction-reduced environment for the wearer.

    Benefits for Autistic Children

    Here are some of the key benefits noise cancelling headphones can provide children on the autism spectrum:

    • Reduced Auditory Distractions – Background noises like chairs shuffling or fluorescent lights buzzing can sidetrack and frustrate autistic children. Noise cancelling technology filters out these irritating stimuli to support concentration and learning.
    • Lower Anxiety – Noisy school environments trigger anxiety and sensory overload for many autistic students. By damping down sound distractions, noise cancelling headphones help autistic children feel more relaxed and self-composed in class.
    • Improved Focus – With fewer auditory disruptions competing for their attention, autistic children can better focus on the teacher during lessons and engage in learning activities without constant disruption.
    • Increased Participation – Noise cancelling headphones allow autistic children to comfortably participate in loud or crowded social settings like school assemblies and the cafeteria that might normally cause avoidance.
    • Outlet for Stimming – The tactile stimulation of wearing headphones gives autistic children an unobtrusive stimming outlet to channel nervous energy and self-soothe.
    • Calming of Meltdowns – If an autistic child experiences a meltdown from excessive noise overstimulation, headphones can provide instant relief by blunting the auditory input and restoring a sense of calm.
    • Sense of Control – The ability to manage their own sound environment empowers autistic children with a sense of control over their sensory experience, reducing feelings of helplessness.
    • Enhanced Communication – Since ambient noise interference is minimised, some autistic children may find communicating verbally easier and more effective while wearing noise cancelling headphones

    Overall, noise cancelling headphones are a relatively affordable accommodation that can drastically improve the school experience for autistic children. They provide constant access to an oasis of calm amid the everyday chaos. However, children should be taught when it is appropriate to wear the headphones versus when they need to remain engaged with their surroundings and peers. With mindful use, noise cancelling technology can meaningfully expand inclusion and learning opportunities for autistic students. The benefits make noise cancelling headphones a worthy investment in supporting autistic children’s sensory needs and academic growth.

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