Man wearing headphones while studying in cafe

Having a good pair of noise cancelling headphones for studying is a good idea for many reasons. You can use them to block sound when studying in noisy environments, and you can enjoy listening to music or podcasts while working out or commuting on public transit or in a busy university gym. Noise cancelling headphones with a microphone are also great for making and attending online classes. But there is another reason headphones are so useful for studying, and it’s one we don’t always think about—using headphones while studying may improve your focus. Here’d why.

Understanding how noise cancellation works

Noise cancelling headphones have technology to reduce ambient sounds like traffic, loud rooms, and other busy spaces. They are helpful if you live in a communal room like a dorm or commute on public transit. There are two main types of noise cancelling headphones: active and passive.

Active noise cancelling headphones use technology to reduce ambient noise. This type of headphones usually have a microphone that detects any external noise, which is then analyzed and reduced via sound waves. In contrast, passive noise cancelling headphones rely on a proper fit to minimize external sounds.

Do headphones help you focus?

Research has shown that headphones and listening to music while studying can improve study habits and concentration in a significant way. Here are a few ways noise cancelling headphones can help you when you study.

Sound can help you stay on task

One of the biggest issues high school, college, and university students have is a general lack of focus. One way students are trying to improve their focus is by listening to music while studying. By turning on their favourite playlists, they can concentrate better and block outside sound.

Research backs up the idea that headphones help during study sessions. A study commissioned by CSU Global showed that students who picked a playlist to listen to while studying were likely to have a higher GPA. The research involved 2,000 people with a GPA of 3.2 or higher, and half said they listened to music while studying. 60% said they study better with sound on.

The brown noise trend on TikTok has also shown how people utilize sound to improve focus and retain information. Brown noise uses low frequency and bass notes. For people who listen to it, it sounds a lot like you’re sitting inside an airplane. Paired with noise cancelling headphones for studying, brown noise or music can help improve focus.

Noise cancellation blocks distractions

If you’re trying to improve your grades, playing music on noise cancelling headphones can help. Data has shown that music can ease stress and reduce test anxiety, and a pair of noise cancelling earphones can immerse you in the music that keeps you on track. If you are trying to study in a very loud environment, you may want a pair of headphones with active noise cancelling. If you’re worried about blocking too much noise, you can choose a set with transparency mode to turn off noise cancelling automatically when someone talks to you.

Woman wearing Sony noice cancelling headphones

Practical tips for studying with headphones

One practical tip for studying with headphones is to choose a playlist you don’t normally listen to unless you’re hitting the books. You can try classical music, ambient forest sounds, or binaural beats. You may also want to listen to white noise like ocean waves or a running fan.

Wearing headphones is a signal to other people that you don’t want to be interrupted, so a great tip is to choose a pair of on-ear headphones with large ear cups. They can provide a visual buffer if you’re in the library or a busy space, and when you turn on noise cancelling everything will quieten down around you.

Best noise cancelling headphones for students in 2024

Choosing the right pair of noise cancelling headphones can make a huge difference in a student’s ability to focus and study effectively. Here are some of the best options available:

Sony WH-1000XM5 Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones

Sony WH-1000XM5 over-ear noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones

The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones feature industry-leading noise cancellation, boast excellent sound quality, and a comfortable design. With up to 30 hours of battery life, they are perfect for long study sessions or entire days on campus. The touch controls and voice assistant compatibility add convenience, making these headphones a top choice for students.

Samsung Galaxy Buds3 In-Ear Noise Cancelling True Wireless Earbuds

Samsung Galaxy Buds3 in-ear noise cancelling true wireless earbuds

For students who prefer compact and portable options, the Samsung Galaxy Buds3 are an excellent choice. These true wireless earbuds offer effective noise cancelling technology and a secure fit. With up to 6 hours of battery life with Adaptive Noise Cancellation on, they are suitable for long study sessions at the library. The Buds3 also feature Auto Switch, allowing you to seamlessly transition from your PC to your phone without missing a beat.

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones

Bose QuietComfort Ultra over-ear noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones

Bose has long been a leader in noise cancelling technology, and the QuietComfort Ultra headphones live up to the reputation. These over-ear headphones offer exceptional noise cancellation and high-fidelity sound. With up to 18 hours of battery life with Immersive Audio and a comfortable fit, they are ideal for students who need to block out distractions for extended periods.

JBL Tune Beam In-Ear Noise Cancelling True Wireless Earbuds

JBL Tune Beam in-ear noise cancelling true wireless earbuds

The JBL Tune Beam earbuds strike the perfect balance between portability and performance. They feature effective noise cancellation and superior sound quality, making them ideal for studying in various environments. With up to 10 hours of battery life with Active Noise Cancelling on, plus extra charges from the case, these earbuds are dependable for daily use. Their ergonomic design ensures a comfortable fit, even during long study sessions. The JBL Tune Beam are an excellent choice at an affordable price point.

Noise cancelling headphones for studying

Listening to your favourite playlist and blocking outside noise with headphones is something you can do right now to help improve your grades. If you’re struggling to stay connected to your courses or having a hard time managing your focus, try out a pair of headphones. Whether you choose a pair of on-ear noise cancelling or a pair of earbuds, they can help in many different ways.

Check out the full selection of noise cancelling headphones at Best Buy right now.

Best Buy
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