Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones
The world is a noisy place. Heck, sometimes I wish I had noise-canceling headphones. But if your child has Autism, ADHD, or anxiety disorder, being out in noise can be brutal. These various conditions can make it nearly 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?
Celebrities wear noise-canceling 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.
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.
If someone has a problem with someone wearing headphones out in public, that’s their problem. Not yours.
Choosing the 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.
Too much sound or noise for someone with ADHD can result in a number of other issues.
Noise Cancelling vs Noise Isolating Headphones
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 cancel 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. Technology has come a long way in the past decade. My son wears earbuds 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 earbuds and earplugs 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 earplugs 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.
The fact is, many of these sound-canceling headphones are a status symbol because all the athletes wear them. Our kids are already a target of 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
These Banz headphones for babies are only $35 right now on Amazon. Noise reduction rate: 31 decibels, according to their website.
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.
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, a 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.
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.
Or maybe plain black and brown is not your thing. In that case, check out these from Bose.
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 the movement of your head as you go about the day.
The other cool thing about Beats is that you can get them at so many stores. 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 here 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 acceptable! Cancellation, however…. gets 2 Ls. Always.
- 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.
- Reduces most environmental noise: Infurture Noise Cancelling Headphones adopts the latest noise reduction technology, a combination of active noise reduction and passive noise reduction, which can detect and eliminate a wider range of low and intermediate frequency noise, such as car and aircraft engines and Busy office.
- USB-C Fast Charging Function for 40H Playtime: 10 minutes of charging can provide you with 2 hours of listening time. You can enjoy a noise-free world for up to 40 hours. Note: If you do not use Bluetooth Headphones, please turn off ANC to avoid power consumption.
- 90° swiveling earcups and Universal Comfort: The memory foam earcups can be gently shaped on your ears, and the swivel joints of the headband will automatically adjust the angle of the earcups to fit your head shape. And the Over Ear headphones only weights 7. 2oz(204g) for long-time wear.
- High-quality built-in microphone and Bluetooth 5.0: Built-in CVC8.0 microphone can ensure clear calls. You can make hands-free calls, which allows you to easily get rid of the shackles of wires. Note: The microphone can only work in Bluetooth mode.
- Powerful bass effect: 40mm drivers can bring better bass. Infurture's active noise-cancelling surround ear headphones bring you crisp, powerful sound and quiet sound, which will help you enjoy music better. Extraordinarily silent listening to fully balanced bass and high-fidelity tones, with extraordinary clarity.
- 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. Bluetooth range-up to 9 m (30 feet).
- 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.
- UP TO 22 HOURS BATTERY LIFE: Enjoy 22 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.
- 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.
- Sony’s lightest Wireless Noise-canceling headband ever.
- Take noise canceling to the next level with Sony’s Integrated Processor V1, so you can fully immerse yourself in the music.
- Super comfortable and lightweight design.
- Adjustable Ambient Sound mode and Adaptive Sound control features tailors sound to suit the environment around you
- Up to 35-hour battery life with quick charging (3 min charge for up to 1 hour of playback).
- Industry-leading noise canceling with Dual Noise Sensor technology
- Next-level music with Edge-AI, co-developed with Sony Music Studios Tokyo
- Up to 30-hour battery life with quick charging (10 min charge for 5 hours of playback)
- The WH1000XM4 Touch Sensor controls to pause play skip tracks, control volume, activate your voice assistant, and answer phone calls.
- Speak-to-chat technology automatically reduces volume during conversations
- The Tune 660NC wireless headphones feature renowned JBL Pure Bass sound, which can be found in the most famous venues all around the world.
- Keep the noise out and enjoy your music with active noise cancellation. Sweat proof: No, Dynamic frequency response range (Hz) - 16 Hz – 20 kHz
- With Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 Streaming, you can stream wirelessly from your device and even switch between two devices so that you don't miss a call.
- Listen wirelessly for 44 hours with active noise cancelling for long-lasting fun. Or for up to 55 hours with BT only. Get 2 hours extra with just a 5-minute charge using the convenient USB Type-C cable. Enjoy endlessly in wired mode, using the detachable cable provided..Note:If you face issue in Bluetooth connectivity please turn off the Bluetooth function for a couple of minutes, then turn it back on
- Easily control your sound and manage your calls from your headphones with the convenient buttons and the mic on the ear-cup. Or use the ear-cup button to quickly reach your device's voice assistant.
- Advanced Noise Cancellation Technology: Maintain your focus with Life Q30’s hybrid active noise cancellation. Dual noise-detecting microphones pick up and filter out up to 95% of low-frequency ambient sound to ensure nothing distracts you from your music.
- Ultimate Noise Cancellation Experience: Customize Life Q30’s noise cancellation with 3 modes—Transport minimizes airplane engine noise, Outdoor reduces traffic and wind, and Indoor dampens the sound of busy offices with people talking in the background.
- Hi-Res Music: Hear every detail of your favorite songs thanks to Life Q30’s 40mm drivers. The highly-flexible silk diaphragms reproduce thumping bass and crisp treble that extends up to 40kHz for improved clarity.
- 40-Hour Playtime: Life Q30 active noise cancelling headphones play up to 40 hours of music in noise cancelling mode. Standard mode extends the playtime to 60 hours, while a short 5-minute charge gives you 4 hours of listening.
- Pressure-Free Comfort: Life Q30 active noise cancelling headphones have ultra-soft protein leather earcups with memory foam padding to fit snugly over your ears. The lightweight build also ensures they’re comfortable for long listening sessions.
- 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
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