headphones and improving focus

A good set of headphones is valuable for so many reasons. We use them to listen to music or podcasts while working out or commuting, and headphones with a microphone are great for making and taking calls for work or socializing. But there is another reason headphones are so useful, and it’s one we don’t always think about—headphones, and the music or sound you play on them, can help you focus.

How headphones help you focus at school

Research has shown that headphones and music or ambient sound can improve study habits and concentration in a significant way. By improving those two areas you can better retain information and your grades can improve.

Sound can help you stay on task

One of the biggest issues in high school, college, and university is a general lack of focus. Students are struggling to adjust to the transition from classes online to classes in person. After a few years of quiet at home, the noise generated by groups of people can be distracting. One way students are trying to improve their focus is by using music. By turning on their favourite playlists, they can concentrate better and block outside sound.

Research backs up the idea that headphones help during study. A recent study commissioned by CSU Global showed that students who picked a playlist to listen to while studying were more 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 are using 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. With a good pair of on-ear or in-ear noise cancelling headphones, brown noise or music can help you focus and study better.

How can you use this research to help your studies? Here are a few scenarios for how you can use headphones at school to improve concentration and focus.

Headphones for studying

noise cancelling headphones to help concentrationIf you’re trying to improve your grades, choosing a playlist and pairing it with on-ear or in-ear noise cancelling headphones can really 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. There are a few different types of noise cancellation you can choose from, with some that let in a bit of ambient noise, some that adapt to the noise around you, and others that completely block noise so you don’t hear anything at all. You can use these headphones for studying if you find you’re very distracted and can’t concentrate.

If you’re wondering how to choose between over-ear or on-ear and in-ear noise cancelling headphones, you’ll want to consider how comfortable you are wearing headphones for a few hours at a time. On-ear headphones have comfortable ear cups that can make them easy to wear for the hours you need to study, but in-ear headphones may be more comfortable for you because they feel like they are part of your ear.

Whichever pair you choose, you’ll also want to choose headphones with long battery life. Some models offer up to 24 hours of playtime before you need to charge them again. That way you always have your headphones ready when you need to concentrate.

Headphones for school sports

sports ear budsWhen competing at track meets or other sports events, a pair of headphones can help improve your focus too. Pro golfers often wear headphones to enhance focus, and for sport, headphones can help improve power output and increase exercise motivation.

There are sports-specific headphones you can use before a big game or while you’re practicing with the team. Some have noise cancelling features, but they filter in ambient noise so you can stay safe while outside or still hear the coach talk.

For sports, you’ll want to choose a pair of in-ear headphones with IPX rating of at least 7. An IPX rating of 7 or higher means they will be waterproof and sweatproof. For comfort, you’ll want to find a pair with multiple different ear tips so you can find the best fit for you. When playing sports or training, you should also choose a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones so you don’t have to plug into your device.

Headphones for dorm life or daily productivity

bose on earIf you live in the dorm or you have roommates, music or sound can help reduce stress, improve your focus, and even help you sleep. Sleep is important for retaining information, so deep and restful sleep can help you improve your grades too. You can put your headphones on at night when you’re relaxing before sleep and use a playlist to de-stress. They can also block outside noise while you’re trying to accomplish different tasks like cleaning up your room or exercising.

You can also use headphones to help you feel calmer when running errands or doing tasks like grocery shopping. On-ear headphones are a good choice for productivity because they are comfortable and have long battery life. If you’re interrupted by other people when you wear earbuds, a pair of on-ear headphones are also a good visual indicator to people around you that wearing headphones means you are focused on a task.

Blocking noise is only the beginning

Listening to your favourite playlist and blocking outside noise are strategies you can use right now to help you improve your grades and day-to-day life.  If you’re struggling to stay connected to your courses or are 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, as research has shown, they can help in so many different ways.

Check out the full selection of noise cancelling or sound isolating headphones on bestbuy.ca.

Shelly Wutke
Editor TV & Home Theatre
I'm a Vancouver freelancer and tech enthusiast. When I'm not writing you'll find me on my farm with my alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. Visit my website Survivemag