Ear protection isn't something we often talk, or think, about when it comes to our babies. I am definitely no expert in science, however I do know that hearing is a valuable gift that should be protected from a young age. Even before I became a mother, I used to be a worry wart at loud events about all the adorable littles around me and the massive amount of noise around us all. When it became my turn to take my littles out to a ball game (and other loud events/venues), I couldn't be happier to have found an easy solution to ear protection, even though I went the long way around to figure it out.
WHY earBanZ? Knowing that my children's hearing/ears are more sensitive than adults, and that it can get really loud inside of the Georgia Dome during an Atlanta Falcon's game is what sparked my interest in shopping around for ear protection. I wasn't sure when the girls would be around loud noises again, which made me more doubtful that I needed to spend "big money" (more than $5) on something, but I knew that I didn't want to take even that one small chance.
The first two games that the girls went to, we thought we'd try simple earplugs. Nothing fancy, a couple of dollars, and we are off easy peezy right? NO. Talk about a disaster. Aside from the fact that the girls wouldn't even touch them, they were WAY too big to fit. The main reason I got these particular earplugs was... because I had not a clue what else I was supposed to be looking for! It wasn't until I bumped into a mommy friend on Facebook who had the earBanZ on her little when I realized that I was just being lazy and not looking hard enough. After a quick chat, I felt SO relieved to know there was a potentially easier solution to my, now third, game day headaches. Since I learned about earBanz the night before our next home game, we went to our local retailer instead of ordering online. (A list of retailers can be found at the end of this review.)
My thoughts before trying it: I was SO nervous about the girls not keeping the earBanZ on and I was worried our outing would turn into a repeat disaster, especially since the first chance we had to try them out was the day of the game. After the complete fail with the earplugs, I was super skeptical that the girls would want these bulky, and seemingly heavy, things on their heads. And for about $25-$30 a pop, I was in no mood for a fight from the girls about it. (ps: they are not heavy AT ALL. The infant pair only weighs 6.4 ounces! The kids pair: 6.7 ounces.)
We opened the earBanZ together early that morning so the girls could have a chance to try them on and get a feel for them. (We were watching a movie that morning in bed and slowly getting ready for our big day.) I explained to them what they were and why it was important to wear them, and well, I think it's pretty needless to say that I was beyond shocked when they refused to take them off after we put them on. The girls even insisted on finishing their movie with them on and well.... that was that. (The photo above/to the left is their first time with their earBanz and as you can see... they are pretty content!) To top it off, we've never even had any issues with them taking the earBanZ off during the games. In fact they fell asleep during one game and weren't bothered by ANYTHING. They slept through 2 quarters, a few touchdowns, and LOTS of noise. (Needless to say I felt like I had hit the jackpot in parenting that day!)
My experiences: Now, I'm not gonna lie. When I first got the earBanZ I was nervous about them putting too much pressure on the girl's little heads. (ESPECIALLY when it came to the "Kids Size." We are definitely still tiny when it comes to size; see the chart below for more information about sizing.) With both sizes of earBanZ you will notice there is a super soft foam that goes around the earphones/ear cups-which are shatterproof fyi. The soft foam helps keep the headphones from digging into baby's head while still allowing them to seal and sit firmly in place.
And since I'm on the honesty train here, I'm gonna go ahead and tell you that I DID put on a pair of each size eventually, just to see what all the hype was about. Right off the bat, I was SO amazed at how much I could actually hear! Think about when you dim a light. You can still see what's around you when you turn the lights down low, but your visibility is reduced. The earBanZ offer the same exact feeling but in regards to sound. I can hear everything around me, it's just not as "booming."
The one thing that is important to note when you are in the market for your own earBanZ are the two sizing options that are available: Infants and Kids.
- INFANTS: The infant size is recommended for 0-2 years. These headphones offer a cushy headband as well soft padding around the actual part that covers baby's ears for more comfort. These headphones are like the old school ones where you can slide them up and down the "headband" part. These are slightly less compact for traveling, and also seem to put slightly less pressure around baby's head. The infant ear protectors are more egg shaped and does not have any metal pieces on them.
- KIDS: The kids size is recommended for 2-12+ years. You can tell the kids earBanZ apart from the shape of the earphones, as well as the metal part that attaches the headband the the ear protector. The headband is padded for comfort, along with the soft foam ear cups. The headband itself does not adjust in length, however you can easily adjust the size by sliding the ear protectors along the metal connectors. This size folds up very compactly and offers a slightly firmer "suction" to wearers. (When I put the kids size on, I KNOW they are not going anywhere. And I cannot hear my keys clicking as I type right now, but I can hear the music that is playing on medium volume from my Mac. In case you were looking for that mental picture lol.)
So far: Places we have used our earBanZ in the past 12 months that we have owned them: professional sporting events, skating rink, fireworks shows, Stone Mountain Laser and Fireworks Show, MommyCon (large natural parenting convention), in our playroom, plane rides, and in the car (especially for longer rides). Using the earBanZ at all of these places/occasions make life so much easier since I know that the girls stand less of a chance of hurting their ears. I also feel like they are calmer when they have their "special head-fonnnnes" on because there is less noise in their world to overwhelm them with.
In fact, the other day while we were playing at home, I asked one of the girls (26.5 months old) if her listening ears were broken because, well.. she wasn't listening. She said "WAIT MOMMY!!," ran over and grabbed hear earBanZ, put them on and said "Ok mommy. I wistening now." And then she promptly proceeded to pick up all her food toys off the floor and put them back in the drawer.
I have been using earBanZ for over a year now and I don't see them going anywhere anytime soon. To this day, the girls REALLY love wearing them. They are always playing with them/taking them out and about with us, which you won't ever hear me complain about because I'd much rather be prepared to be able to do anything while we are out!
I HIGHLY recommend this product for anyone who is considering taking their child out to loud events or venues (such as but not limited to: "sporting events, firework shows, concerts, parades, around loud motors/engines, etc.). I am so glad that BanZ has come out with these awesome, and affordable, headphones. (The price was a bit off putting at first, but we have gotten MUCH MORE than our money's worth from our earBanZ.) There has definitely been a time or two where I have started to feel like a "that mom" because no one else's babes have hearing protection. And it's usually at that time that someone stops me and thanks me for protecting by babies. I wish there was an easier way to approach a fellow parent/caregiver and kindly suggest they look into ear protection for their littles, but that situation can go one of two ways, and I really don't want to risk ruining mine or anyone else's day by being misinterpreted for rude and condescending. Which is why I need your help spreading the word! And as an added incentive...
I am giving a pair of earBanZ (WINNER'S CHOICE) away! (Giveaway runs October 18-21)
*BLOG FOLLOWERS: Check your email for this post! You will find your bonus giveaway entry instructions in this exact spot!* Be sure to follow me on INSTAGRAM and like my FACEBOOK page to enter! If you are a blog follower, please be sure to check your email for this post because it has your bonus entry instructions! (*this giveaway is only open to residents of the United States; winner's choice= size and color) ~Winner will be selected via random.org and announced October 23 at 4pm EST~
MORE INFO ABOUT THE NEED FOR CHILDREN'S EAR PROTECTION: READ MORE from the NY TIMES about why hearing protection is important for children.
WHERE TO PURCHASE: CLICK HERE to visit the Baby BanZ website and learn more about their products. (HERE specifically for the earBanZ.) Don't forget that you can purchase these at BUY BUY BABY and BED BATH and BEYOND, both of which are notorious for frequently offering 20% off coupons!
RELATED POSTS: Going to a sporting event with littles? READ MORE about what to expect and how to be ready for everything. Traveling with littles? Read more about PACKING and TRAVELING with TWINS. Also, be on the lookout for more posts about traveling with toddler twins, as I recap our 2 months on the road flying, driving, and boating all in one summer!
*KINDLY NOTE THAT TWINMOMMY101 WAS NOT COMPENSATED FOR THIS REVIEW*