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?

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If it's good enough for LeBron, it's good enough for my kid. (and they're pink!)
If it’s good enough for LeBron, it’s good enough for my kid. (and they’re pink!)

Not necessarily.

Autism Headphones

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.

Michael Phelps has been very open about his struggles with ADHD, so it's no surprise he wears sound-canceling headphones.
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.

The colors on these headphones are so fun!
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!).
Justin Bieber has been very open about his struggles with mental illness (and he wears Beats!).

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

Banz makes a line of headphones just for babies and toddlers.

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.

Fun and Function also makes a set for little ones.
I love my Blue microphone for podcasting, so I am going to try their headphones for myself.

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.

Master and Dynamic has sound-canceling headphones in various price ranges.

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.

You can never go wrong with Bose.
Beats by Dre are the originals.

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.

SaleBestseller No. 1
TOZO HT2 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones, Wireless Over Ear Bluetooth Headphones, 60H Playtime, Hi-Res Audio Custom EQ via App Deep Bass Comfort Fit Ear Cups, for Home Office Travel
2,308 Reviews
TOZO HT2 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones, Wireless Over Ear Bluetooth Headphones, 60H Playtime, Hi-Res Audio Custom EQ via App Deep Bass Comfort Fit Ear Cups, for Home Office Travel
  • [ANC & ENC Noise Cancellation] Featuring a hybrid ANC algorithm and 3 ANC microphones, TOZO HT2 deliver exceptional noise control across a wide frequency range. Whether it's the roar of airplane engines, subway rumble, or office chatter, it effectively minimizes noise interference, ensuring an unparalleled listening experience. In addition, the excellent ENC call noise cancellation makes it possible for you to talk clearly even in noisy streets.
  • [Up to 60 Hours of Playtime] With up to 60 hours of listening time of our over ear headphones in ANC OFF mode, triple as much as other Bluetooth headphones. A single charge gives you enough juice to listen to over 700 songs or soundtrack multiple long haul flights. Also equipped with a 3.5mm audio cable, you can effortlessly transition to a wired mode when the battery has run out, guaranteeing uninterrupted listening.
  • [Both Wired and Wireless Connections] Equipped with dual 40mm drivers, TOZO HT2 bring you superior Hi-Res audio sound with a well-balanced deep bass, make you have a better listening experience. Plus, it breaks the single connection method, support both wireless and wired connection. When with wired connection, custom oversized 40 mm dynamic drivers produce Hi-Res sound for extraordinary clarity and detail.
  • [All-day Comfort & Adjustable Design] TOZO HT2 uses ultra-soft protein leather earcups, which allows you to wear it for a long time without feeling uncomfortable. The earmuffs can also automatically adjust the angle to suit users with different head shapes. Making them the ideal headphones to work from home or watch your favorite movie.
  • [Foldable Design] The foldable and lightweight design allows you to fold and place the headphones anywhere, you can easily fold the headphones into carrying bags and travel cases, taking up less space in your backpack, which are perfect for travel, sports and everyday use.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Soundcore Anker Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones, Wireless Over Ear Bluetooth Headphones, 60H Playtime, Hi-Res Audio, Deep Bass, Memory Foam Ear Cups, for Travel, Home Office
73,394 Reviews
Soundcore Anker Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones, Wireless Over Ear Bluetooth Headphones, 60H 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.
  • 60-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.
SaleBestseller No. 3
NEW Bose QuietComfort Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones, Bluetooth Over Ear Headphones with Up To 24 Hours of Battery Life, White Smoke
1,129 Reviews
NEW Bose QuietComfort Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones, Bluetooth Over Ear Headphones with Up To 24 Hours of Battery Life, White Smoke
  • LEGENDARY NOISE CANCELLATION: Effortlessly combines noise cancelling headphones technology with passive features so you can shut off the outside world, quiet distractions, and take music beyond the beat
  • PREMIUM COMFORT: Plush earcup cushions softly hug your ears, while a secure and comfortable padded band gently keeps your over ear headphones in place for those extra-long listening sessions
  • 2 LISTENING MODES: These wireless Bluetooth headphones feature Quiet and Aware Modes that let you toggle between full noise cancelling or full awareness of your surroundings for seamless sound control
  • HIGH-FIDELITY AUDIO/EQ CONTROL: Supercharge your favorite tracks with high-fidelity audio and Adjustable EQ that puts you in control of the bass, mid-range, and treble for unmatched bold sound
  • ALL DAY BATTERY LIFE: Bose QuietComfort wireless headphones provide up to 24 hours of battery on a single charge, plus a 15-minute charge gives you up to 2.5 hours of additional play time
Bestseller No. 4
Soundcore by Anker Life Q30 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones with Multiple Modes, Hi-Res Sound, Custom EQ via App, 40H Playtime, Comfortable Fit, Bluetooth, Multipoint Connection
63,573 Reviews
Soundcore by Anker Life Q30 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones with Multiple Modes, Hi-Res Sound, Custom EQ via App, 40H Playtime, Comfortable Fit, Bluetooth, Multipoint Connection
  • 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. Note: ANC is not compatible with an AUX Cable connection.
  • 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.
Bestseller No. 5
Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones - Apple W1 Headphone Chip, Class 1 Bluetooth, 22 Hours of Listening Time, Built-in Microphone - Shadow Gray
42,819 Reviews
Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones - Apple W1 Headphone Chip, Class 1 Bluetooth, 22 Hours of Listening Time, Built-in Microphone - Shadow Gray
  • 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
SaleBestseller No. 6
KVIDIO Active Noise Cancelling Headphones, 65 Hours Playtime Bluetooth Headphones with Microphone, Transparency Mode, Deep Bass and Hi-Fi Stereo Sound (Black)
3,245 Reviews
KVIDIO Active Noise Cancelling Headphones, 65 Hours Playtime Bluetooth Headphones with Microphone, Transparency Mode, Deep Bass and Hi-Fi Stereo Sound (Black)
  • ✅Powerful Noise Cancelling Technology: KVIDIO Active Noise Cancelling Headphones block out up to 95% of ambient noise. It could be a lifesaver from TV, podcasts, and traffic noise while studying or working from home, so you concentrate on what’s important to you.
  • ✅65H Playtime with Quick Charging: Up to 40 hours of non-stop playtime in wireless active noise cancellation mode,or extend to an enormous 65 hours in standard music mode. This Bluetooth headphone supports fast charge, a quick 5-minute charge offers 4H playtime when you’re in a hurry. No worries about dead battery during long trips. Or just plug in the included audio cable for even longer use in wired mode.
  • ✅Advanced DSP and Hi-Fi stero sound: Adopted digital signal process technology, KVIDIO wirelesss headphones deliver a clearer voice quality for your phone conference or conversations. Make working from home more tolerable and talking with loved ones more adorable.
  • ✅Transparency Mode and Ultimate Comfort Design: With active transparency mode, better hear the traffic or talk to peopel. Soft earpads easily wrap around your ears, music in, noise out.
  • ✅Customer Support: The package includes a Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphone, 3.5mm backup audio cable, USB C charging cable, and User Manual. Please feel free to contact us for any inquires.
SaleBestseller No. 7
INFURTURE Rose Gold Active Noise Cancelling Headphones with Microphone Wireless Over Ear Bluetooth, Deep Bass, Memory Foam Ear Cups, Quick Charge 40H Playtime, for TV, Travel, Home Office
15,065 Reviews
INFURTURE Rose Gold Active Noise Cancelling Headphones with Microphone Wireless Over Ear Bluetooth, Deep Bass, Memory Foam Ear Cups, Quick Charge 40H Playtime, for TV, Travel, Home Office
  • 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.
Bestseller No. 8
BERIBES Upgraded Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones with Transparent Modes,65H Playtime Wireless Bluetooth with Mic, Deep Bass,3.5MM Cable,Soft-Earpads,Fast Charging-Black
1,506 Reviews
BERIBES Upgraded Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones with Transparent Modes,65H Playtime Wireless Bluetooth with Mic, Deep Bass,3.5MM Cable,Soft-Earpads,Fast Charging-Black
  • 1, 【Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) ,Transparent Mode】: Professional advanced noise cancellation silences up to 95% of machine noise. "Transparent Mode" This feature lets in ambient noise, so you can easily hear announcements on a bus or subway, or listen to what's happening around you without removing the active noise cancelling headphones. The sensitive buttons control makes it easy to switch between this two modes.
  • 2,【Up to 65 hours of playtime, Fast charging】: Enjoy up to 40 hours of music in noise cancelling mode, or extend the playtime to 65 hours in standard mode. A quick 5-minute charge gives you 4 hours of listening. You can charge it through the Type-C port, or use a 3.5mm audio cable for a wired connection.Note: If you are not using the over-ear wireless headphones in Bluetooth mode, please turn off ANC to conserve power.
  • 3,【Premium sound quality, Deep Bass】: The 40mm drivers reproduce a full range of frequencies, providing deep, powerful, and immersive sound at any volume. BERIBES headphones wireless buetooth have always been committed to providing our customers with better sound quality as the focal point of our engineering. Our goal is to provide our customers with the best possible sound quality.
  • 4,【Unique foldable, Lightweight, Ergonomic design】: The professional-grade protein ear-pads, 90° inward rotation, and 120°inward folding ear-cups are lightweight (only 0.8 lb) for maximum comfort during long periods of use. The bluetooth headphones with microphone fold compactly for easy storage when traveling. The ergonomic structure and multi-level adjustable headband provide a comfortable fit for all users.
  • 5,【Bluetooth headset , After Sale Protection】: Package includes ANC Noise Cancellation Bluetooth headphones,3.5mm backup audio cable, USB charging cable, and User Manual. We will provide a 30-day return and 12-month warranty, lifetime worry-free user support, contact us anytime if you have any questions about the product, and we will reply within 10 hours

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