By Terry Currier
As you can tell by the company name they make headphones for kids. They make both wireless and wired headphones.
The wireless headphones are designed specifically to be used with build-in-car DVD – from the manufacturer. According to their packaging these vehicles include Ford, Lincoln, GM, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, Audi, Nissan, Mercedes Benz, Honda, Toyota, BMW, Acura, Volkswagen, Land Rover, Lexus, Mitsubishi, and Volvo.
Automakers have for years offered build-in DVD with most of them using IR (infrared) wireless technology. This is good for short range and no interference. By that I mean nothing blocking the line-of-sight with the transmitter. This works fine in a vehicle since the transmitter (DVD player) is usually directly in front of the kids tied up in the back – I mean buckled up, watching the movies. It uses two AAA batteries.
For in home use the people can purchase an IR transmitter which works with the wireless headphones. It has to be plugged in to a power outlet and the audio cord then plugged into a headphone outlet from whatever you what to use it with – TV, Stereo, etc. I could not test it with an in car DVD player, but they did send me a IR transmitter. The pick-up range was about 10 feet, and if you turned your head it could block the signal. I could also hear a low hiss sound like from a cassette tape. In fairness though the wireless headphones cost $34.99, the IR transmitter only cost $14.99. Compare that to when I Googled “IR transmitter”. It gave me a range of prices for TV headphones at $50 to an actual IR transmitter for $100. I don’t believe a child will be disturbed with the low hiss, and with a in car DVD unit there may not be any hiss.
Both of the headphones have comfortable padded ear-cups. They are child-sized so I would not recommend them for the whole family even though I could squeeze my adult head into them for testing.
The wired set has a cord that is 60 inches long. That is fine for portable DVD or MP3 players. For TV I’d say buy an extension. When I tried to put them on my grandson (3 years old) who is quite hyper he wore them for about 10 minutes before wanting them off. My niece on the other hand who is also 3 loved wearing them. It could also be influence of the big brother. When he walked by she commented “I have my own headphones now.” I had to sneak them out after that comment. She did listen very intently, at one point she asked her mother “what was that?”. Turns out when her mother backed up the video to that point to replay it, she could hear a flute sound on the headphones that she did not ever hear before. I myself thought the sound quality very good.
There is a volume control on the cord, which is handy. Kidz Gear says there is a 108 decibels sensitivity. To protect out kids hearing I think that is too high. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders a government website says:
110 Decibels - equal to a rock concert
Regular exposure of more than 1 minute risks permanent hearing loss.
100 Decibels - equal to a snowmobile
No more than 15 minutes of unprotected exposure recommended.
If you want to protect your kids hear make sure you check the volume before and during use. There are companies that make them not to go over 90 decibels.
They are normally priced at $34.99 for the wireless at the Kidz Gear website. I noticed they have a special to buy them for $29.99. The wired ones normally cost $19.99, but you can get them now for $16.99. You can also get them for the same price at Amazon.com.
I really wish we had DVD players and headphones when our kids were growing up. Then on trips maybe we wouldn’t have heard so much of “are we there yet” or my favorite “he/she is touching me.”
Winners is a member of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG) is an international, platform-independent, nonprofit corporation (incorporated in Washington, DC) devoted to helping user groups throughout the world. Almost 400 user groups are members of APCUG. http://www.apcug.net/