I’m not enough of an audiophile to desire expensive headphones to listen to music. But I do have a son on the autism spectrum and that started me on a search not only for well-built headphones with good sound but with excellent noise-canceling features.
So when the SL300 headphones by Soul were offered for review, I accepted. My son is extremely sensitive to noise and can easily be over-stimulated, especially in loud school classrooms. He currently has permission to use his iPod touch and play soothing music to drown out the noise but some still gets through his regular ear buds.
At home, because I have four kids, a dog, and four cats, it’s not what I’d call a quiet environment, so the need for drowning out noise is even greater.
Soul’s advertising copy talks up the “high quality of pristine balanced sound” and the noise-canceling features. After using the headphones for a week, I admit that neither myself nor my son are enough of an audio expert to judge exactly how the SL300 headphones are superior to other high-end headphones.
But I can say the headphones have done exactly what I wanted them to do–provide a quieter environment for my son. The excellent audio and the ability to record with the microphone provided is a nice bonus.
My son’s favorite feature, aside from the noise-canceling, is how cushioned and comfortable the headphones feel on his head, comfort necessary to many children with autism. This was the very first thing he noticed out of the box. From a parental standpoint, the special case for the headphones provided is also a plus because of the high possibility of damage in the house. (See the four kids sentence above.)
The noise-canceling feature, operated via three AAA batteries, works incredibly well, though it turned out to be too well for school because it drowned out the teachers he had to hear. But it’s proven a godsend in the house. My son’s only complaint is that the bass is cranked up too high.
The headphones retail for about $300 a pair, which I would consider pricey if all I wanted were headphones. But once this pair wears out, which is inevitable, I’ll definitely be looking for another pair, as they’re not a luxury item for my son — they’re essential.