We get a lot of press releases for gimmicky gadgets and tech here at Giz UK, but some of the products that pass through our inboxes pique our interest, and one such item for me was a pair of volume-controlled kids' headphones from Puro Sound Labs, designed to protect their little ears from getting damaged in a world where they're plugged into a tablet or console during their downtime.
I have a couple of nephews who are always attached to some gadget or other - living my childhood dream - and that seems to be a trend that's extended beyond the confines of people's households. You see it out and about a lot, often in restaurants, with families coming in with children, handing them some device or other, popping a pair of headphones on their head, and leaving them in a stupor until the food arrived. It's a common sight, and while the pros and cons of kids' access to tech is a discussion for another time, that's the inescapable reality of the situation most parents find themselves in.
What's interesting about Puro Sounds Labs' story is that founder and CEO, Dave Russell, created these tiny cans after his own daughter suffered hearing damage that he and his wife attributed to her use of headphones, and so the PuroQuiet headphones were born. The range has since extended to include JuniorJams, PuroGamer and PuroBasic headphones, but all of them still limit audio output to 85 decibels, to protect those mini eardrums.
Eager to review the OG PuroQuiet headphones, but with a head that's far too large to accommodate them, I sought out a child - the chosen one, if you will - to try them out for me. After casting my net (metaphorically speaking) I caught my prize (again, no children were harmed during the making of this review). Enter a very helpful young man of eight-years-old who was psyched at the prospect of reviewing them for me. Let's see if he feels the same way in 15-20 years when he has four other things to review by the end of the week and a host of PR people chasing him about it. But I digress.
Before I handed them over, I had a little inspection of them myself and found that they were feather-light, with swivel cups, and came with a lightweight yet sturdy, hard carrying case. It turns out that he barely used the case; the headphones were so light that he happily slung them around his neck when travelling with them, and the padded band made them comfortable enough to do so. Size-wise, they looked ideal for children's heads - something my tiny cohort confirmed - and they're adjustable so he was able to get the perfect fit. The only downside to the comfort level that he had an issue with was that they ached behind his ears after a while because of his glasses. So while Puro gets points for accommodating for developing ears, it's a shame that the padded band wasn't designed with glasses-wearers in mind.
The headphones were, predictably, used for consuming all that yummy YouTube content as well as playing games - Roblox, in this instance. The ANC worked a treat, and while the sound-level of the headphones has been deliberately curtailed, he did say he wished they were a little louder. It wasn't a massive problem for him though - in fact, he loves the bloody things - and it's to be expected that they won't be blaring into your kids' ears, so ultimately it's going to be a trade-off for keeping their hearing intact vs letting them crank up the volume. He made a point to say that the quality of sound was great, noting the clarity, and once he got used to the 85 decibel cap, it was fine.
Puro Sound Labs has made sure that the PuroQuiet are easy-to-use, with big ol' buttons on the side for those tiny fingers to ferret out, and it's mission accomplished on that front. He didn't struggle to use the controls, and even commented on how snazzy his black pair look. Adorably, the fact that they've been made especially for children went down a treat as well, which I get. I used to love mini versions of products when I was a few feet high myself, and it's all very exciting at the time.
Overall, he absolutely loves these headphones, and according to his dad, he always wants to use them. His only suggestion was that Puro Sound Labs take into account kids who wear glasses to make the PuroQuiet headphones perfect. So if you have a little person that would like to enjoy their gaming or YouTube videos in (mutual) peace, it seems like you can't go wrong with a pair of these.
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The extent of damage to your hearing caused by noise depends on: