7 Best Noise Cancelling Headphones for Autism | ADHD | Anxiety

Best Noise Cancelling Headphones

The world is a noisy place. Heck, sometimes I wish I had noise-cancelling headphones. But if your child has Autism, ADHD or anxiety disorder, being out in noise can be brutal. These various conditions can make it near impossible to process what someone is saying if there is a lot of background noise. And, sometimes just the sheer volume of noise or conflicting sounds can be sensory overload for people with autism.

So, it’s becoming more and more common to see kids and adults wearing sound-canceling headphones out in public. Which, at first, might seem like you’re making a public announcement, right?

lebron james wearing beats noise canceling headphones
If it’s good enough for LeBron, it’s good enough for my kid. (and they’re pink!)

Not necessarily.

Autism Headphones (for everyone!)

Celebrities wear noise-cancelling headphones all the time. Particularly athletes. They use them for the same reason autistic people need them–to block out noise and distractions so that they can focus. To avoid sensory overload.

Michael Phelps uses Sol Republic headphones to assist with his ADHD.

It makes no sense to me that athletes can do this and be cool, yet some feel the need to bully our kids for it.

reese witherspoon wearing headphones
Movie stars too! Reese Witherspoon wears Skull Candy.

If someone has a problem with someone wearing headphones out in public, that’s their problem. Not yours.

Justin Bieber has been very open about his struggles with mental illness (and he wears Beats!).

Choosing Best Headphones for your ADHD Child

I would engage the wearer in the purchase as much as possible. They need to like the way they look and the way they feel on the head. I’m also a huge fan of reading customer reviews online. Go to the store if you can and try them out. Do you want just muffling of the sounds around them? Or are you going to connect them to a device so that they can hear preferred sounds or music?

Ask about the return policy, particularly if they are out of the package.

How do you know which ones are best? You’re just going to have to try and see what you like.

Sound Canceling Headphones for Sensory Overload

When doing your research, you want to know how many decibels of sound will be canceled. The average conversation is about 60 decibels, but sustained listening to 85 decibels or more can cause hearing loss and damage.

Noise Cancelling vs Noise Isolating

You also want to educate yourself (especially if you’re buying a pretty expensive pair) on noise-canceling vs. noise isolating. Noise isolating headphones block ambient noise with a seal against your ear, while noise canceling ones cancels the actual sound waves.

This is also what makes some headphones much more expensive than others. You’re paying for the blocking and for high quality sound/music to come out of the headphone. The headphones with just one feature will be far less money.

Saving Money on Headphones

These can be super expensive! But, I will say this. My husband has the good ones made by Microsoft to go with the Surface. And, they work much better than the pair I got at Five Below. You have to find the best you can at your price point.

I have not heard of anyone being successful at getting insurance to pay for noise-canceling headphones. However, I have had OTs give them to clients/patients and I’m sure they billed for them somehow. Sensory tends to be an OT kind of thing, so that is where I would start if you wish to pursue this. Ask your child’s OT.

And, some of the cheaper ones are only $20-$40 so it may not even be worth it to fight your insurance company.

Won’t earbuds work just as well?

They might. Try them. The technology has come a long way in the past decade. My son wears ear buds to play Xbox and do things on his phone and he can’t hear me when I talk to him. Or at least he does a very good job of pretending he can’t hear me.

But the nature of earbuds means that their very structure may not allow for enough sound blocking. Keep in mind that ear buds and ear plugs are very small and can be a choking hazard.

Reverse Hearing Aids

If your situation cannot be resolved with earbuds or headphones, contact an Audiologist. It won’t be cheap, but you can have ear plugs and things specially made and molded for your ears. Professional musicians and others get them all the time. They need to hear some specific sounds, like the sound of their voice or instrument, but do not want the long-term hearing damage that comes with being a live music performer.

Accommodation on the IEP?

It goes without saying, but only buy a pair that you’re willing to replace if they are lost or stolen. Or, consider a “good” pair of headphones for when your child is with you, and a cheap pair to take to school. Fact is, many of these sound-canceling headphones are a status symbol because all the athletes wear them. Our kids are already a target for bullying. Let’s not make them a target for theft too.

Yes, I have had many clients have noise canceling headphones as an accommodation on an IEP. It’s very common. Just ask for it as part of your Parent Concerns Letter.

Noise Canceling Headphones for Autism

noise canceling headphones for toddlers

These Banz headphones for babies are only $35 right now on Amazon. Noise reduction rate: 31 decibels, according to their website.

blue sound canceling headphones

These can be found at Fun and Function and come in lots of colors. According to their video, noise reduction rate is about 20 decibels.

blue headphones

I’ve included these Blue headphones next because I am so pleased with my Blue microphone for my podcast. All of their stuff is affordable and has a cool retro look to it.

Skull Candy: These cool headphones are shown above on Reese Witherspoon. They have a cool name, cool logo and their headphones come in a ton of cool colors. Perfect for school kids.

Sol Republic: Above, shown on Michael Phelps. They’re pretty affordable too.

master-and-dynamic-mw65-noise-canceling-headphones-black-brown

These Master and Dynamic headphones come in affordable to very expensive models. The brown is good if you want them to blend in with hair and not be so noticeable.

bose colorful sound cancelling headphones

Or maybe plain black and brown is not your thing. In that case, check out these from Bose.

row of beats by dre sound canceling headphones

Ok, now we’re getting fancy. Around here, all the middle school boys want Beats by Dre. First, these put out sound, not just cancel it. That doesn’t mean that you have to hook it up to something. Because this is what you’re getting for more money: Pure ANC is a form of noise cancellation that uses advanced algorithms to monitor the sounds around you and adjust the level of noise cancellation to best match your environment. Pure ANC also evaluates fit and adjusts for leakage caused by hair, glasses, the shape of your ear, and movement of your head as you go about the day.

The other cool thing about Beats is that you can get them so many places. Even Target and QVC carry them now.

Well, that’s 7! Your student will be thrilled with their new headphones, I’m sure. And hopefully it will help them manage their noisy situations better too. Good luck, and hear are some deals from merchants who sell noise canceling headphones for autism.

Bothered by that “L”? Me too! But it turns out that both canceled/cancelled and canceling/cancelling are both acceptable! Cancellation, however….that gets 2 Ls. Always.

Bestseller No. 1
Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones, Wireless Over Ear Bluetooth Headphones, 40H Playtime, Hi-Res Audio, Deep Bass, Memory Foam Ear Cups, for Travel, Home Office
36,630 Reviews
Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones, Wireless Over Ear Bluetooth Headphones, 40H Playtime, Hi-Res Audio, Deep Bass, Memory Foam Ear Cups, for Travel, Home Office
  • Incredible Sound Loved by 20 Million+ People
  • Hi-Res Audio: Custom oversized 40 mm dynamic drivers produce Hi-Res sound. Life Q20 active noise canceling headphones reproduce music with extended high frequencies that reach up to 40 kHz for extraordinary clarity and detail.
  • Reduce Ambient Noises By Up to 90%: Our team of engineers conducted more than 100,000 tests in real-life scenarios to fine-tune Life Q20’s 4 built-in ANC microphones and digital active noise cancellation algorithm. As a result, the hybrid active noise cancellation can detect and cancel out a wider range of low and mid-frequency noises such as cars and airplane engines.
  • 100% Stronger Bass: Our exclusive BassUp technology conducts real-time analysis of the low frequencies to instantly strengthen the bass output. Double press the play button when listening to bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop for an amplified listening experience.
  • 40-Hour Playtime*: Up to 40 hours of non-stop playtime in wireless active noise cancellation mode (at 60% volume) is extended to an enormous 60 hours in standard music mode. A single charge gives you enough juice to listen to over 600 songs or soundtrack multiple long haul flights. And when you’re in a rush, charge Life Q20 active noise canceling headphones for 5 minutes and get 4 hours of listening.
Bestseller No. 2
Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WHCH710N: Wireless Bluetooth Over the Ear Headset with Mic for Phone-Call, Blue (Amazon Exclusive)
16,363 Reviews
Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WHCH710N: Wireless Bluetooth Over the Ear Headset with Mic for Phone-Call, Blue (Amazon Exclusive)
  • Cancel out the world with smart noise cancellation
  • Noise cancellation automatically senses your environment with dual noise sensor technology
  • Long-lasting listening with up to 35 hours of battery and quick charging
  • Smartphone compatibility for hands-free calls and use with your voice assistant
  • Wireless Bluetooth streaming with NFC one-touch
SaleBestseller No. 3
Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones - Apple W1 Headphone Chip, Class 1 Bluetooth, 22 Hours of Listening Time, Built-in Microphone - Matte Black (Latest Model)
15,183 Reviews
Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones - Apple W1 Headphone Chip, Class 1 Bluetooth, 22 Hours of Listening Time, Built-in Microphone - Matte Black (Latest Model)
  • High-performance wireless noise cancelling headphones
  • Compatible with iOS and Android devices.
  • Pure adaptive noise canceling (pure ANC) actively blocks external noise
  • Real-time Audio calibration preserves a Premium listening experience
  • Up to 22 hours of battery life enables full-featured all-day wireless playback
Bestseller No. 4
Bose QuietComfort 45 Bluetooth Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones - Triple Black
3,509 Reviews
Bose QuietComfort 45 Bluetooth Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones - Triple Black
  • Noise cancelling wireless headphones – The perfect balance of quiet, comfort, and sound. Bose uses tiny mics to measure, compare, and react to outside noise, cancelling it with opposite signals.
  • High-fidelity audio – The TriPort acoustic architecture offers depth and fullness. Volume-optimized Active EQ maintains balanced performance at any volume, so bass stays consistent when turned down and the music remains clear when turned up.
  • Quiet and Aware Modes – Choose Quiet Mode for full noise cancelling, or Aware Mode to bring the outside into the around ear headphones and hear your environment and your music at the same time.
  • Personalize your audio. Adjustable EQ allows you to set the bass, mid-range, and treble levels to your personal preferences or select one of several preset options.
  • Up to 24 hours battery life – Enjoy 24 hours of battery life from a single charge. A quick 15-minute charge offers 3 hours when you’re on the go, or plug in the included audio cable to listen for even longer in wired mode.
SaleBestseller No. 5
Bose QuietComfort 35 Series 2 Gaming Headset — Comfortable Noise Cancelling Headphones Black
1,112 Reviews
Bose QuietComfort 35 Series 2 Gaming Headset — Comfortable Noise Cancelling Headphones Black
  • 2-in-1 gaming headset — The first headset from Bose engineered for both wired gaming and wireless lifestyle use. Play everything from the latest games to your favorite music with these 2-in-1 headphones.
  • World-class noise cancelling gaming headset — With best-in-class noise cancelling technology, the QC35 II Gaming Headset clears away noisy distractions so you can focus on your games, music, or work.
  • Comfortable gaming headphones — Made using materials specially selected for their comfort and lightweight to enjoy hours of marathon gaming.
  • Detachable boom mic — The QC35 II Gaming Headset includes a removable gaming module that adds a boom mic and mic mute that plugs in or out via the 2.5 millimeter jack in seconds.
  • Noise-rejecting mic — As wired gaming headphones, the Discord and TeamSpeak-certified boom mic rejects noise so teammates hear you loud and clear. In lifestyle mode, the built-in mic system provides clear calls, even in noisy environments.
SaleBestseller No. 6
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones— Wireless, Over Ear Headphones with Built in Microphone and Alexa Voice Control, Silver
57,503 Reviews
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones— Wireless, Over Ear Headphones with Built in Microphone and Alexa Voice Control, Silver
  • Three levels of world-class noise cancellation for better listening experience in any environment
  • Alexa-enabled for voice access to music, information, and more
  • Noise-rejecting dual-microphone system for clear sound and voice pick-up
  • Balanced Audio performance at any volume
  • Hassle-free Bluetooth pairing, personalized settings, access to future updates, and more through the Bose connect app
SaleBestseller No. 7
Active Noise Cancelling Headphones, HROEENOI JZ02 Bluetooth Headphones, Wireless Over Ear Headphones with CVC 8.0 Microphone Deep Bass Headset, 40 Hours Playtime for Travel Work TV Phone - Black
2,310 Reviews
Active Noise Cancelling Headphones, HROEENOI JZ02 Bluetooth Headphones, Wireless Over Ear Headphones with CVC 8.0 Microphone Deep Bass Headset, 40 Hours Playtime for Travel Work TV Phone - Black
  • 【Reduce 95% Noise】HROEENOI noise canceling headphones with microphone advanced ANC noise cancellation technology, which isolates the 95% surrounding noise. Suitable for Android, TV, Phone, no matter at home, work, or travel.
  • 【HIFI & Stereo Sound Quality】HROEENOI bluetooth headphones can reproduce treble up to 20kHz for full-bodied sound with excellent clarity. It will make you feel like a live concert.
  • 【40 Hours Playtime】HROEENOI wireless headphones provides up to 40 hours of music playback time while in ANC. You can charge it through the Type-C port. Charges in 10 minutes, play 4 hours of music!
  • 【CVC 8.0 & Bluetooth 5.0】Bluetooth 5.0 means faster, more stable transmission; CVC 8.0 technology makes an efficient and stable connection and provides true wireless freedom for your calls.
  • 【Gift for Choice】Adjustable headband of the over-ear headphones makes it suitable for children, teenagers, and adults. The foldable design is easy to store and carry, and the soft protein ear cups with sponge padding can fit our ears. A gift for kids, boyfriend, and father.
SaleBestseller No. 8
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, Bluetooth, Over-Ear Wireless Headphones with Built-In Microphone for Clear Calls & Alexa Voice Control, Black
23,024 Reviews
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, Bluetooth, Over-Ear Wireless Headphones with Built-In Microphone for Clear Calls & Alexa Voice Control, Black
  • Powerful noise cancelling headphones: 11 levels of active noise cancelling let you enjoy music, podcasts, videos & calls without distractions
  • Astonishing sound: Crisp, clear details. Deep, full bass. These wireless headphones produce exciting, lifelike sound that’s full and balanced at every volume level
  • Unrivaled voice pickup: A revolutionary microphone system adapts to noisy and windy environments so your voice always sounds crystal clear on calls
  • Keep your head up and hands free: With easy access to voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant for music, navigation, weather, and more, and intuitive touch control on the earcups — you can stay connected without reaching for your phone
  • Premium design and comfort: With a lightweight stainless steel headband and earcups tilted for the perfect fit, you can comfortably wear these bluetooth headphones for hours

When you purchase items from Amazon from this site, I receive a small percentage at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting A Day in our Shoes.


  • Fine Motor Skills-Games, crafts and coloring activities are a great way to use and practice a child’s fine motor skills.
  • Speech and Language– Many parents seek out a language-rich environment for their child. Any activity can be an opportunity to use and repeat new words and language, mimicking sounds, new vocalizations and articulations.
  • Executive Functioning Skills– Depending on the game or activity, it can be an opportunity to practice executive functions such as working memory, sequencing, following directions, task initiation and more.
  • Handwriting and Fluency- This piggybacks onto the language skills a child needs, but with worksheets, coloring pages and games, they can be a low-risk opportunity to practice handwriting and fluency.
  • Practicing Previously Acquired Skills-Applying already acquired skills across all environments, bring the classroom teaching into the real world.
  • Sensory-Textures, sounds, taste, vestibular, interoception, anything!
  • Social Awareness-Practice traditional social skills in a safe environment, such as: joint attention, taking turns, reciprocating conversation, waiting politely, and more.
  • Gross Motor-If you’re in a new place, practice walking across uneven surfaces, new surfaces, inclines & declines, stairs, or increasing endurance.

Similar Posts