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February 23, 2024 - 3 min read
Headphones are one of the most personal gadgets a person owns, which is why there’s such a wide variety available. And for that reason, you need a fit that’s tailored to you and your individual requirements, says Christos Boukogiannis, The Good Guys Buyer – Sound.
“There are some important factors to keep in mind,” he says. “Fit, audio quality and balance of features are extremely important, especially for teenagers who wear their headphones for long periods of time to study, unwind, catch up with friends online and reduce sensory distractions.”
Now that it’s time to think about Back to School essentials, and with headphones a mainstay on BYOD lists, we have some expert tips to ensure you buy the right fit with the right features for your teen.
Want more Back To School inspo? Check out our Back to School hub!
When you’re looking for headphones for primary school and early high school students, it’s important to make sure the sound stays within safe levels for ear drums. You can get headphones designed for young children that limit the decibel level while also being smaller for younger ears. However, if you don’t like those styles, most devices also allow you to limit volume in parental settings, so it’s not a deal breaker.
“Other good features to look for depend on how your child will be using the headphones,” says Christos Boukogiannis, The Good Guys Buyer – Sound.
“If children are doing online courses, or regularly talk with family overseas, a pair of headphones with a good microphone is important. Look for student headphones that come with a good carrying case, so they don’t get crushed in heavy school backpacks.”
If your child is the adventurous type, look for more rugged headphones that are spill-proof and drop-proof so they’re more equipped to cope with accidents.
The headphones vs earbuds debate is one that has been raging for decades, and the simple answer is that both have their pros and cons, and it depends on the wearer.
“Be guided by your teen on this one,” advises Alice Clarke. “Start them off with a cheaper pair of the style they think they’ll like best so they can see how it feels, and how responsible they are with not losing small earbuds or big headphones.
“If they’re going to be worn for longer periods of time, then over-ear headphones will be more comfortable for more people over multiple hours. Also, let them get a pair they think is cool, such as Beats headphones, because they might value them more. And not lose them!”
While it often makes sense to give your old device to your kids and then get yourself something new, that’s not always the case with headphones. The ears of younger teens are smaller, so adult headphones will be too big and uncomfortable, and they could even hurt their ears. Also, younger teens aren’t good at regulating their headphone volume, so child-specific volume-limiting headphones might be the best choice while their ears are still developing.
There are two main questions to ask when selecting headphones, and the right answers will depend on the comfort levels of your child and how responsible they are. Those questions are: Wired or wireless? Over-ear, earbud or in-ear?
“Answers to these questions will vary because different people find different styles more comfortable,” says award-winning technology journalist Alice Clarke. “Some people, particularly neurodiverse children, find over-ear headphones too claustrophobic, however sometimes the ear tips for in-ear buds are too big for kids.”
As for wired vs Bluetooth headphones, that all hinges on how responsible and mature your child is. A youngster who constantly leaves their jumper on the school oval probably shouldn’t have tiny true wireless earbuds, when wired over-ears are larger and easier to label.
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Sony WH-1000XM4 Noise Cancelling Headphones
There isn’t one type of headphones that suits everyone in a certain age group but there are some things to consider. Bluetooth headphones tend to be the best headphones for teens because they’re wireless, so they can move around freely without getting tangled or accidentally pulling their device with them when they get up. But it pays to consider your teen’s age and habits before you buy.
“True wireless headphones, while certainly popular, might not be the best style for younger teens, because it’s easier to lose small buds as opposed to larger over-ear cans or in-ear buds connected by a cable,” says award-winning technology journalist Alice Clarke.
Sony Wireless Neckband Headphones
Audio Technica Studio Quality Bluetooth Headphones
Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones
Noise-cancelling headphones have exploded in popularity in recent years because they’re such useful tools for helping people focus.
“Noise-cancelling headphones are so important for teens with ADHD, autism or other disorders that leave them prone to sensory overload, because it allows them to cut out the background noise and regulate themselves better,” says Alice Clarke. “They’re also key for teens with siblings, so they can study without distractions.”
When you’re shopping for noise-cancelling headphones, keep in mind that it’s important to ensure a good fit, especially if your teen will be using in-ear rather than over-ear form factors.
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)
Sony WH-1000XM4 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds - White
For uni students, a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones is essential. It’s the difference between a harmonious share-house arrangement and needing to move back home because one housemate wouldn’t stop practising their throat singing at 3am. It also means it’s easier to concentrate on their studies in the library.
The next consideration is portability. A pair of over-ears that can fold will fit more easily in a backpack than a carrying case, while the cases of true wireless headphones – such as AirPods, which are Apple headphones – will fit in a pocket.
After that, you want a good microphone for participating in online tutorials. Speaking up is challenging at the best of times, so make sure you’re clearly understood the first time you say something.
Bose QuietComfort Headphones
Samsung Galaxy Buds FE - Graphite
Apple AirPods (2nd Generation)
The good news is that a quality pair of headphones need not be expensive. JBL makes great-value headphones for kids, and there’s a pair of Sony headphones, Beats headphones and Bose headphones to suit every budget. Even premium brands such as Sennheiser and Audio-Technica offer affordable headphones, so there are lots of options.
If you’re still not sure where to start, don’t worry. Our tech experts at The Good Guys are here to help. Just bring in your BYOD list and we’ll kit you out with all the requirements for Back to School.
When you’re ready, come and shop in-store or online at The Good Guys for all your Back to School needs, including headphones. We’ve got the biggest range, best prices and friendliest advice.
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