7 Best Noise Cancelling Headphones for Autism

chrisAbout the Author: Hi, I’m Chris Drew, a former teacher and university professor, and this is my website! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

In my search, I found several noise cancelling headphones that are good quality for both adults and children with autism. All 7 are reviewed below.

Some high-quality noise cancelling headphones for children with autism are:

  • FMLOVES Active Noise Cancelling Headphones (Top Pick for Adults)
  • ZOHAN EM030 Hearing Protection Earmuffs (Kids)
  • ONTA Kids Headphones with Glowing Cat Ears (Girls)
  • Monodeal Kids On Ear Headsets (Top Quality)
  • HearTek Protective Earmuffs (Kids)
  • ProCase Noise Reduction Ear Muffs (Adults)

My top options:

Best with Tech Integration

Quick Review: Active noise cancelling technology – not just padding! This pair operate by creating sound waves that mirror and neutralize outside noises.

Best no-Frills without Tech Integration

Quick Review: If you just want noise cancelling earmuffs without technology integration, ZOHAN EM030 earmuffs are your pick. This pair are very versatile, fitting anyone from toddlers up to young teens.

See my reviews of all 7 below.

Best Noise Cancelling Headphones for Autism

1. Monodeal Kids On Ear Headsets (Top Quality for Kids)

Quick Review: My pick for best quality. These headsets for kids have active noise cancelling technology – not just padding! They operate by creating sound waves that mirror and neutralize outside noises.

Benefits for Children with Autism:

Active Noise Control: The headphones emit noise cancelling soundwaves that effectively neutralize sounds. Turn the noise control function on and off with a simple flick of a switch.

Play on iPad, MP3, etc. with simple 3.5mm Jack: These headphones are compatible with just about any device that plays music. 3.5mm jacks are stock standard on most devices. There is also a two-pin adaptor included specifically for airplane connectivity.

Carry Bag: Not all headphones and earmuffs come with a quality carry bag like this one. You can also fold-in the earmuffs to make the headphones very compact for carrying around in your day bag – to be prepared for any moments of sensory overload!

Adjustability: The headphones are very flexible for comfort for all ages.

Long Warranty: The 18-month warranty is a very generous warranty, giving lots of confidence that they back their product. 

Long Battery Life: Active noise control requires batteries. These headphones have a built-in rechargeable Lithium battery that stays charged for up to 20 hours.

chrisMy Thoughts: This is my pick if you want a set that allows you to play soothing or comforting sounds and music to your child – but one frustration is the cord can’t be fully removed if you just want to use them for noise cancelling on-the-go.

2. ZOHAN EM030 Hearing Protection Earmuffs (Best No-Tech Option)

Quick Review: If you just want noise cancelling earmuffs without technology integration, ZOHAN EM030 earmuffs are your pick. This pair are very versatile, fitting anyone from toddlers up to young teens.

Benefits for Children with Autism:

Affordable: As there are no stereo sound speakers integrated into this set of earmuffs, you’ll be saving money.

Fit for many Ages: Several earmuffs on the market are only suitable for ages 5+. Not these ones. ZOHAN have made them to be very flexible for many age groups. Simply adjust the headband equally on both sides for a comfortable fit.

Noise Reduction Rating: These earmuffs have a noise reduction rating of 22db. This means that they reduce external noises by 22 decibels to dull outside sounds.

Over-Ear Cup: As a basic standard, you’ll need cups that go right over the ears to create a full seal from the outside. The ZOHANs do just that.

Choose a Design: The earmuffs come in three designs. I love the graffiti look for boys and the awesome unicorn design for girls.

1 Year Warranty: Purchase with confidence, because ZOHAN have a full 1-year warranty on their earmuffs.

Downsides:

No Tech Integration: If you want tech integration, these ones aren’t for you.

chrisMy Thoughts: This is a good affordable model that my nephew has – he chose them out because he’s really into the graffiti design at the moment.

3. ONTA Kids Headphones with Glowing Cat Ears (Girls)

Quick Review: Perfect for your daughter who is fashion conscious! The glowing cat ears make wearing noise-cancelling headphones a whole lot of fun.

Benefits for Children with Autism:

Fun Factor: When it’s hard to get a kid into a pair of headphones, sometimes you need a little bit of ‘fun factor’. These glowing cat ears will be great for enticing your daughter to put the headphones on for 20 minutes of downtime.

Simple Plug-and-Play Device: The 3.5mm headphone jack is a simple, no-fuss plug-and-play way of connecting to iPads, tablets, computers and televisions for watching a relaxing show or listening to meditation music.

Packable: The earmuffs are collapsible so you can pack these headphones away. When they are in their packed position, they really take up no space at all!

Refund Policy: Buy risk-free

Downsides:

The ear cup is smaller than others in this list such as the FMLOVES and ProCase options, so these may not be great comfort for bigger kids. That said, larger ear cups can be annoying for younger kids … so, I’d say these might be a good choice for younger ages.

4. PROHEAR 032 Kids Noise Cancelling Headphones

    Quick Review: The PROHEAR 032 earmuffs are an outstanding choice for kids with autism, combining safety, comfort, and efficiency in noise reduction. Designed specifically for children aged 3 to 12, these earmuffs stand out with their vibrant “Lollipop” design and kid-friendly materials.

    Benefits for Children with Autism:

    • Safe and Non-Toxic: The headphones are free of PFAS and made with non-toxic materials, ensuring the utmost safety for your child’s health.
    • Eye-Catching Design: Available in flamboyant, high-visibility colors, these earmuffs are designed to captivate and retain your child’s attention. The fade-resistant colors also enhance safety by keeping your child visible in different environments.
    • Supreme Comfort: With 360° rotatable cups and ultra-soft ear cushions, these earmuffs provide a snug and comfortable fit. The padded headband adds to the comfort, making them suitable for prolonged use without causing discomfort.
    • Effective Noise Reduction: Certified with an NRR of 25dB, they efficiently dampen harmful noises while still allowing your child to hear essential sounds. This feature is particularly crucial in maintaining awareness in noisy environments.
    • Reliable Customer Support: PROHEAR’s commitment to quality is backed by over 15 years of experience in hearing protection. Their 24/7 support team is a testament to their dedication to customer satisfaction.
    chrisMy Thoughts: The foldable design on the PROHEAR model, combined with a travel drawstring bag, makes them highly portable and convenient for on-the-go use, taking on planes, and keeping in the car. This feature can be a lifesaver in managing meltdowns caused by sensory overload.

    Downsides:

    • Limited Age Range: Specifically designed for kids aged 3 to 12, these earmuffs might not be suitable for older children or adults. For a set for older ages, check the HearTek earmuffs below.
    • No Tech Integration: Unlike some other models, these earmuffs don’t offer integrated technology for listening to music or other audio. They’re great for wearing in loud environments, but perhaps not so much if you want a pair that can play soft tones or sleep music.

    5. HearTek Protective Earmuffs (All Ages)

    Quick Review: A high quality set of earmuffs with a high 27dB noise reduction rating. No tech integration here, just quality ear protection for moments of sensory overload.

    Benefits for Children with Autism:

    High Noise Reduction Rating: The noise reduction rating of these earmuffs is 27dB. That means you’ll reduce the sound of external noises by 27dB when wearing them.

    Great Padding: I like how thick the padding is on these earmuffs, which both reduces sounds and creates a great deal of comfort for the wearer.

    Pick your Color: Does the child with autism in your life have a very particular color choice? Choose between 9 different colors to please your child (and make getting those earmuffs on easier!).

    Very Flexible: You can adjust these earmuffs a wide range so kids and adults can all wear them.

    Packable: Fold in the earmuffs and pack them into the provided carry case. Carry them around in your day bag to be prepared for any moment of sensory overload.

    5 Year Warranty: This huge, long warranty is an amazing offer. It gives great confidence that these will be the only earmuffs you need to buy for several years to come!

    Downsides:

    If your little one has a tiny head or struggles with large earmuffs, these might not be the best for you. The ear cup is quite large.

    chrisMy Thoughts: I love these as a simple no-frills model – just beware that the ear cups are very big, so might not be best for younger kids.

    6. FMLOVES Active Noise Cancelling Headphones (Top Pick for Adults)

    Quick Review: Best for adults. These headphones block 85% of ambient noise through their active noise-cancelling technology. They also come with quality stereo sound for plugging into TV or music.

    Benefits for Adults with Autism:

    Escape from Over Sensitization: Put these headphones onto older adolescents or adults when struggling with noises around them. The headphones will help them retreat into their own quiet space to reset and recover. FMLOVES claims the cups block out 85% of background noise.

    Turn Noise Cancelling on and Off: The noise cancelling function creates its own sound waves that counter and neutralize ambient noises. It requires electricity to run, but comes with a powerful 20-hour rechargeable battery.

    Comfortable:  Nice big circular cups that cover the whole ear. The headband is adjustable and has soft padding so they’re comfortable at all times. The headphones have also been designed to be very lightweight.

    Warranty: The 1-year warranty gives me confidence that FMLOVES backs their product quality even after you’ve made your purchase.

    7. ProCase Noise Reduction Ear Muffs (Adults)

    Quick Review: Adults might prefer these earmuffs which are specifically designed for adult heads! No tech integration, but a super affordable price.

    Benefits for Adults with Autism:

    Specifically for Adults: These earmuffs are specifically for adults – if you (or someone you love) has sensory overload as an adult, go for this simple but well designed pair of earmuffs.

    High Noise Reduction Rating: The 28dB noise reduction rating is the highest on this list – for quality dulling of outside noises.

    Packable: Pack them down and carry them around in the provided carry bag.

    What to Look for in Noise Cancelling Headphones for People with Autism

    Full Ear Cup vs. Earbuds

    When looking for noise cancelling headphones, you need a pair that has a full cup that causes a seal around the ear. This seal will mean your ears live in their own fully-padded area and keep a lot of noise out.

    Don’t get earbuds for noise cancelling. Earbuds will not be noise cancelling and could cause damage to the ears if used too much over time.

    Active Noise Control (ANC) Technology vs. Padding

    Padding is the traditional way of protecting ears from outside noises The earmuffs in this list without Active Noise Control technology use this traditional method. They usually measure their own effectiveness through their Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). 

    The NRR is a measure of how much the earmuffs reduce outside noises. An NRR of 27 means you will reduce outside noises by 27 decibels. So, if outside noises are 85dB, with a 27 NRR, the earmuffs will reduce the noises to 58dB.

    Active Noise Control is an advanced technology which generates its own neutralizing sound waves. These sound wave mirror outside sound waves. When these two sounds match one another, they are effectively neutralized to create enhanced silence. ANC requires batteries to work.

    Stereo Sound

    You can choose to either have earmuffs with no stereo connection, or headphones that are both noise reducing and have plug-and-play connectivity.

    You may want earmuffs if your main goal is to have your child dull outside noises and move into peace and quiet.

    Headphones might be preferred if you want to have both the ability to neutralize outside noises and the ability to play soothing sounds or watch shows on the iPad to calm down.

    A good idea might be to get your child to listen to meditation sounds to help them relax.

    If you go with stereo sound, consider noise capping headphones that allow you to max out the volume to 85dB. This might be a good option for protecting your child’s ears in the long term.

    Warranty

    A warranty can help you make a purchase with confidence. A 1 year warranty is good, but the 5 year warranty of the HearTek Protective Earmuffs (option #6 above) can’t be beat!

    When to use Noise Cancelling Headphones

    Children with autism often have sensory overload. The sounds and movements around them can cause episodes where the child can no longer handle the situation.

    This often occurs in situations like:

    • Fireworks and Thunderstorms
    • On the airplane
    • At the shops
    • During noisy lessons in class.

    During an episode, headphones or earmuffs are a great strategy to try to help your child with autism to calm down in a safe, quiet space.

    Final Thoughts

    Don’t forget that supervision is always required for a child who is wearing headphones. Ensure the headphones are not playing music that is far too loud. This could be damaging to the child’s ears.

    It’s also important to make sure the headphones are not worn too long. 15-20 minute check-ins are a good option. Allow the child to wear the headphones to calm down after they have experienced sensory overload.

    You might need to talk with your child about why they are having sensory overload outbursts. One great resource that I’d like to leave you with is this amazing book on how to talk with your child about their sensory overload:

    Recommended Book: Liam’s Life with Autism Sensory Overload

    ir?t=firegarage 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=0692995927Talk with your child about their sensory overload using this great book. It sees the world from their perspective and shows that they’re not ‘bad’, they’re just struggling with a very real, serious issue.

    I hope this list of the best noise cancelling headphones for autism has been beneficial for you and your family during your purchasing decision.

    Related Article: 7 Best Toys for Children with Nonverbal Autism

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    Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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