This is a portrait Sabrina recently drew of Max wearing his headphones. They've become as essential to Max's wardrobe as shirts and shoes. As in, he won't leave home without 'em.
I get emails asking what kind of headphones Max wears. They're the noise-reducing Howard Leight Leightning Folding Earmuff. They run $17, with a Noise Reduction Rating of 28 (the highest rating for earmuffs is 31). But they're kind of priceless because they've been an incredible help to him and our family, too. He's more comfortable venturing to new places like museums and restaurants, and less likely to melt down. There's also this $8 version, which has a Noise Reduction Rating of 25. We've never gotten the noise-blocking kind of headphones as we want Max to be able to hear some sounds.
I know a bunch of parents who like Baby Banz Hearing Protector Earmuffs ($25; Noise Reduction Rating: 21). They look really cool and muffle loud noise without shutting out all other sounds.
We use these Skullcandy headphones, $28, to plug into Max's iPad—they're not noise-reducing, they're just for listening to videos and music. But we limit their usage because he could happily spend hours watching Disney Cruise videos on YouTube.
The first headphones Max ever got were the 3M Peltor Junior Earmuff (Noise Reduction Rating: 25); they worked well (and they're just $15) but over time the wire got bent out of shape so we decided to try other ones. They're a good extra set to keep in the trunk, in case you've forgotten to take your usual pair.
Max still gets wary at the sight of crowds, but the noise-blocking earmuffs are amazingly comforting. It's not just that they block noise; he's comforted by the slight pressure on his ears. In fact, they've given him so much confidence that sometimes he takes them off when we're out.