Like many students, I often found urgent need to do laundry or organize the closet when it came time to study or write a lengthy essay. When I would finally sit down, I was endlessly distracted by anything and everything and seemed to have superhuman hearing for incessant noise; birds chirping, neighbours chatting, and distant music in someone’s backyard. While I had to use a fan to create white noise to help distract myself, today, it’s much easier to isolate your brain: use headphones with technological power.
For some students, wearing noise cancelling headphones can help drown out distractions, and increase focus on the study material. Some people want music inside those headphones; some need soft lyrical tunes, while others focus better with instrumental tracks. Still others find music distracting (when you start singing along in your head you’re not reading the text book, right?) and prefer to play ambient white noise like ocean sound effects, a rushing river, or wind.
Whatever your personal preference, a set of good noise cancelling headphones can help you concentrate.
What is ‘Noise Cancelling’?
Noise cancellation technology can ‘hear’, measure, and analyze the noises around you. It then matches the sound with an opposite signal which serves to, in effect, cancel those outside noises to prevent you from hearing them, so you can focus on what you really want to hear.
Top headphone picks for students
Premium choice: Bose QC 35 II
These headphones are perfect noise-blockers for study, yes, but they’re also great for traveling, commuting on public transit, or watching videos without disturbing others in your house. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones block out pretty much any unwanted noise so you can fully immerse in whatever you want to listen to. These headphones are widely considered to be the gold standard (and the original when it comes to noise cancelling headphones) with superb audio quality.
Comfortable ear cup cushions allow for hours of listening while providing an extra level of quiet.
In-ear option: Jabra Elite 65t in-ear noise cancelling headphones
I absolutely loved these headphones when I tested them. Jabra’s audio quality is second to none, and I can say that these are a fantastic set of in-ear headphones that shut out the world and let you focus. The Jabra Elite 65t headphones fit really well into your ears, sealing off all noise that might distract from school work, open office noise, or even pounding techno and bass from the spin class at my gym.
If you prefer in-ear models to over ear, these will be a great set of headphones that will allow you to focus on studying, cramming, exercise, or reading.
Beats by Dre Studio 3
A perennial favourite of teens everywhere Dr Dre’s eponymous headphones are stylish and popular, yes, but they also do the job. These get consistently great reviews, and they’re wireless so you can ditch the cable clutter. These cans can also take calls, plus allow you to skip songs, and change the volume right from your headphones.
Beats by Dre Studio 3 use ANC or Adaptive Noise Cancellation, which is, essentially, noise cancellation by a different name (and it was the subject of a patent infringement lawsuit between Beats and Bose, though it was later settled for undisclosed terms. But I digress…)
The stylish Beats phones have a rechargeable battery that offers up to 12 hours of wireless use and up to 20 hours when plugged into your audio device.
Sony WH-CH700N noise canceling headphones
The audio quality on these is amazing, and they are super comfortable, with cushy pads that fit over your ears so there’s no audio bleed. They are perfect for vegging out to a movie, or blocking out the rest of the world while you focus on your studies. The Sony WH-CH700N also sound great, no matter if you’re listening to music, podcasts, or recorded lectures. Read my full review here.
Hi-fidelity pick: Sennheiser Momentum in-ear headphones
Another option for the people who love that super seal you get from in-ear phones, the Sennheiser Momentum noise canceling in-ear headphones have a sleek brushed metal housing that gives you hi-fi stereo sound with “incredible sonic accuracy and clarity,” as Sennheiser explains it. Sennheiser is another audio giant known for great quality and durability. I had a chance to test these headphones too, and you can see the full review here.
If your study style is to block out external distractions, consider picking up some quality headphones with noise cancelling technology. They can help you focus, avoid distractions, and maybe even improve your grades.