There seems to be a headphone for every purpose nowadays. You have headphones for the gym, headphones for the plane, and even earbuds that work underwater. There are also headphones made especially for the little ones in your life, although the choices are limited. Given the concerns over audio volume and inner ear damage, it's not terribly surprising that sets for children are few and far between. Luckily, more and more headphone manufacturers are taking advantage of volume-limiting technology to offer child-friendly models. One such company is Ultimate Ears, which has released the Loud Enough Earphones, a $40 pair that comes in a variety of colors.
On first blush, the Ultimate Ears Loud Enough Earphones may not seem terribly unusual in design: they are typical in-ear style canal 'buds. However, they're actually unique as they are the only child-friendly headphones we've seen in this style. As such, they're probably not suitable for young children, since they have to be stuck in the ear. The low-profile design is perfect for the tween set, though. Preteens will likely appreciate the variety of color options as well. The earphones come in a choice of blueberry (blue), mint (green), or plum (fuchsia), all with matching cases that look vaguely like floss cases. Ultimate Ears also includes a variety of silicone sleeves in sizes ranging from extra small to medium--perfect for little ears. The cable, which is black, measures about 43-inches long and terminates in a straight plug.
The Loud Enough Earphones are fairly light on features, though at $40, this is no biggie. The volume-limiting feature is most important and it works exceptionally well. We cranked up our Creative Zen to the max volume, which is ear-blasting through any regular set of earbuds, and sound piped out at a reasonably soft volume. It was soft enough that we had to swap back in our standard 'phones for the rest of the commute so we could fully overcome the external noise. The Loud Enough Earphones do offer some passive sound isolation if a proper seal is achieved. This is also good for listening to music at lower volumes.
As for sound quality, the Loud Enough Earphones are actually fairly impressive for the price point. Music sounds nice and even, with solid representation across the ranges. Bass is especially encompassing. If anything suffers, it's high-end detail, which tends to get lost at times. But--honestly--we doubt the target audience would appreciate a crisp high-end anyway.