Protect those ears, kids!
As someone who spent most of their childhood ears destroying his hearing with loud music, I can definitely see the advantage of a product that seeks to protect a child’s auditory senses.
It seems that Griffin share my views, having come up with a set of charecter themed earphones which simply can’t get loud enough to damage a child’s hearing.
The Kazoo MyPhones are over-ear headphones and come in either Penguin or Frog themes designs.
I didn’t get asked which set I wanted to take a look at, but I secretly wanted the Penguins. Sadly, I got the Frogs, but I’m still quite happy with the product, and here’s why…
As a product designed at children, it’s hard to fault these headphones. They feel well sturdy and well built, and should stand up to the abuse that only a small child can provide. Griffin have clearly considered just how physical children can get when designing the MyPhones. The cables are thickly insulated and the strain relief on the side of the cans should stop the cable being sheered when tugged. The 3.5mm jack is also quite chunky and well shielded, clearly designed for handling by those with undeveloped motor skills.
One criticism would be that the cable inside the cans doesn’t seem to be anchored in anyway; when I pull on them I can feel the drivers moving around inside the casing, which could lead to tears should a child decide to swing the headphones around their head. I’m not saying it’s definitely going to present a problem, but personally I probably would have secured the cable somehow in order to increase the longevity of the product.
I have a worryingly small head for fully grown human male, so I was able to try the Kazoo MyPhones out myself without too much trouble. What I found was that these headphones are as comfortable as the over-the-ear phones that I normally use. There’s no cushioning on the central bar itself, but the adjustment mechanism is a tried and tested wire system which means that 99% of children will be able to wear them with no pressure to the top of their head.
The ear piece cushioning is quite effective, though you will find your ears getting rather sweaty after extended periods of listening (as you’d expect). I’m not sure if the cushioning material is actually leather or if it’s just been made to look like it, but it’s incredibly soft to the touch and shouldn’t damage your child in any way.
At this price point (£15) and with this target market (3+) I wasn’t expecting great things from the Kazoo MyPhones in terms of sound quality, but I was slightly surprised. Don’t get me wrong, they’re nowhere near audiophile quality, but they were better than I was expecting.
The bass is a little high for my liking, and the overall clarity isn’t great either, but they’re perfectly usable for casual usage.
Certainly for cartoons, TV shows and movies they will prove more than adequate, as well as listening to that awful din that passes for “music” these days.
In terms of the hearing-protecting credentials, it’s definitely noticeable that these headphones just won’t go up as loud as other devices, no matter how high you turn up the source. Griffin publicise the maximum sound output of the MyPhones as 85dBi, which is the maximum listening volume recommended for children by several medical associations in the UK and US. I can’t accurately measure that here, but I would say that I can’t imagine these things harming your kids hearing, even with extended listening.
I don’t have children myself, but I’d imagine that any period of silence from them is a blessing, and the Kazoo MyPhones would be a great tool for doing so without worrying that you’re damaging your child’s hearing.
Whilst there’s only two designs in the range, most children should be happy showing off their penguins or frogs to friends, though perhaps a pinker design might be in order for the little princesses out there.
In terms of longevity, your 3 year old probably isn’t going to appreciate the aesthetics much past 5 or 6, but I’d argue that this product is capable of lasting that long if your child doesn’t treat them too violently. It’s not going to stand up too much to being thrown around in the midst of a tantrum, but for the general clumsiness of a child’s early years they should be fine.
They’re also not going to break the bank, with a retail price of around £15, so could be a very worthwhile addition to your child’s Christmas stocking.