Since the dawn of the Sony Walkman back in the 80s, audiologists have noted an increase in hearing loss among young people. With the current popularity of iPods and MP3 players, that trend shows no signs of abating. Although concerned parents can tell their children to keep the volume down on their personal music devices, such a rule can be difficult to enforce - particularly when childrens' and parents' ideas of "too loud" could differ significantly. Etymotic's ETY Kids Safe-Listening Earphones, however, limit the volume to safe levels, even when cranked all the way up.
The earphones feature a reduced-output 6-mm neodymium moving coil driver, and a frequency response of 20 Hz to 15 kHz. Although their maximum volume is lower than that of conventional earphones, they do feature ACCU Fit ear tips, that are designed to seal out competing background audio. This means that kids won't need to turn the volume up as high, in order to drown out the sounds around them.
Additional features include a Kevlar-reinforced cord, and a custom-fit ear tip option.
ETY Kids will work with any device that takes a 3.5 mm plug. The basic earphones-only version sells for US$49, while a model that includes a microphone and Apple-specific three-button controller goes for $79.
Etymotic also makes electronic earplugs for adults, that don't obstruct hearing when things are quiet, but automatically engage when loud noises occur.