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The approach to managing ADHD has evolved over the years to incorporate methods like audio sedation. And that is why noise-blocking headphones specifically designed for ADHD patients are an essential part of their treatment plant. These headphones block out any noises, thus allowing people with ADHD to focus on their tasks with minimal distractions.
The best headphones for ADHD are B-Calm 250107 EX Auditory Listening System noise-canceling headphones. These are followed closely by the COWIN E7 Pro. A pocket-friendly compromise is the Mpow 059 Plus active noise-canceling headphones.
This article thoroughly reviews these three headphones, looking at their best features and benefits and also answers the most frequently asked question about headphones for ADHD.
Best Overall Performer
B-Calm headphones are made specifically for people with ADHD, making them the best choice for someone looking to get the most ADHD benefit out of their headphones.
The B-Calm 250107 EX Auditory listening system uses the B-Calm audio sedation to cancel out noise. Audio sedation technology utilizes a noise-canceling blend of sounds that are uniquely designed to mask distracting noises.
This auditory listening system is not meant to be an audio therapy option. Instead, the sounds act as an acoustic shield, controlling the environment of the user. Each B-Calm audio system comes with the specifically designed tracks with special acoustic formulation to calm and enhance the mental state of the ADHD patient.
The acoustics are expertly crafted to mask distracting noises by tapping into the soothing sounds of nature. These live nature recordings are quite relaxing as opposed to music, which is a distraction. The sounds help the mind to reboot and promote mental relaxation.
Sounds of nature are more therapeutic compared to typical white noise. However, this B-Calm headphone utilizes some aspects of white noise, which is used in a measured proportion within the live nature tracks. The white noise is used in line with a 2007 study by the Journal of Child.
Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines found that this type of noise offers optimal cognitive performance.
By combining elements of white noise and live nature sounds, B-Calm has found a winning acoustic formula.
This B-Calm auditory system comes with two headphones (overhead and earbuds), a CD, a USB cable, 100 + pictures, and a case. It also comes with a simple tablet that has a 4GB memory and features a 4.3-inch touch screen.
The tablet utilizes an Android operating system, and it comes with built-in WiFi. The tracks on the 250107 EX are the same as those on the original B-Calm GP which are:
- Spring rain
- Tropical beach
- Summer forest
- Sunday drive
- Country rain
- Evening at the ocean
- Early morning rain
- In the kitchen
- Hot tub relaxation
- Under a canopy
- Sizzling breakfast
- Napping cat
- Wading in a creek
- Refreshing shower
You can customize the screen of the tablet using the pictures or import some of your own for this purpose.
The headband is constructed from plastic, and so are the outer covers of the ear cups. The ear cups also feature a soft faux leather on the inside for a comfortable fit. This headphone has a comfortable clamp to keep the ear cups in place. The headphones have a 20-hour battery life.
Benefits of the B-Calm 250107 EX Auditory System
- Easy use tablet with simple operation
- Comes with preloaded tracks
- Quick and easy charging using a USB cable
- Comes with a manual
- Has a built-in rechargeable battery
- Built-in WiFi ensures that it can be used anywhere with connectivity
- Comes with a 12-month warranty and “no-questions-asked” return policy
If you are using the B-Calm headphones for a child, some accessories are available to enhance their experience. Top of the list is B-Calm hideaway, which is designed to be their special hideaway. It is an extra thick cardboard that is set up to provide the child with a safe hideaway.
It can be taken down and carried around, and set up is easy and fast. This accessory is appropriately sized for children of all ages, and it can be customized with their favorite toys and items.
Another accessory is a carry bag that you can use to hold your headphones and other items. The bag measures 14 x 18 inches and is made from 210 denier nylon, making it durable. It is a stylish design of drawstring cords to cinch the top, and the brand emblazoned on the side.
Although you need to buy these accessories, they are worth considering for children or people who are constantly portable.
Mixed Usage Option
The COWIN E7 PRO are excellent headphones for ADHD, and they can also be used for other uses. They come hot on the heels of their very popular predecessor, the COWIN E7. These headphones are bulkier than other options because they feature larger ear cups. This gives the cups ample room around the ears eliminating the typical discomfort of pinched ears.
The cups are made from faux leather material for a cushioned fit around the ears. They can also swivel at 90 degrees allowing them to lie flat or at an angle. The headband is also adjustable with adequate cushioning to sit on the head comfortably. That allows you to stretch the headband to accommodate both children and adults.
These headphones are made of plastic from the headband to the outer ear cups. However, the ear cups also feature a brushed metallic look giving them a fine minimalist aesthetic. The cups have a strong clamping force that keeps the headphones from sliding off your ears.
They have a 30-hour battery life, and they utilize active noise control (ANC) to cancel out distracting sounds. Their ANC works noticeably when canceling droning noises like traffic sounds and muted office sounds like an air conditioner. Conversations are also muted, but female voices may leak in if they are too loud.
These headphones are great for people who suffer from mild cases of ADHD. They also work well with Bluetooth 4.0
Benefits of the COWIN E7 PRO Headphones
- Offers an accurate bass frequency to drown out the sound
- Has stable connectivity with Bluetooth devices
- Features a powerful built-in microphone
- Has NFC pairing with voice prompts
- Has a built-in 600mAh battery
- Features active noise-canceling technology
- Has skin texture material on the ear cup for maximum comfort
- Has excellent ANC allowing the user a complete immersion into music or calming sounds
- Comes with a regular 12-month warranty with a six-month extension for registered products
When using these headphones, you have to ensure that you take them off for three hours consecutively. The headphones are not offensive to the eyes, and in fact, they are quite discreet, so one can’t tell the main reason why you are wearing them. If you like to listen to music, they can also work very well for everyday use.
You can expect a bit of heft with these headphones despite being made from plastic. They may feel a bit overwhelming for children, but with time they become accustomed to the weight.
These headphones are a compromise when you are looking to spend less. They are an excellent budget option that has adequate comfort, durable construction, and quality sound features. The construction features lots of plastic parts on the headband and the ear cups.
The ear cups are shallower compared to the B-Calm and COWIN headphones, so they may not fit all users. However, they are well padded with lightweight faux leather to make them more comfortable around the ears.
Customers love the fact that these headphones are wireless. The controls and buttons are found on the right ear cup, making it easier to control the audio. The Mpow 059 Plus can be used in different settings from classrooms, the office, or even outdoors.
The headphones have a good battery life of 50 hours, and they are available in a myriad of colors. Their noise cancellation is decent because they feature an active noise-canceling function. They offer sufficient immersion, cutting out external noises that become distracting for people with ADHD.
The ear cups are fitted with memory foam to cushion the ears while muffling the sound as well. They feature a foldable design making them easy to carry around and pack safely.
Benefits of Mpow 059 Plus Headphones
- Portable design for easy transportation
- Offers true to life sounds
- The speaker adjusts the mid to low frequencies
- Has a long battery life allowing extended use of the headphones
- Has excellent wireless performance because of the Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity
- Has exceptional ANC giving user optimum immersion in music or nature sounds
- Offers a regular 12-month warranty with the option of a 24-month extension
The headband features a soft cushioning to make it comfortable on the head. This headset also has an effortless pairing with Bluetooth devices. You can rapidly charge them for 10 minutes, and this will give you two hours to use the headphones.
They do come across as a bit delicate because the plastic feels flimsy. It may not be a good idea to use them in high impact situations like the gym or for sports activities. The headphones are among the best selling noise cancellation headphones on Amazon.
Who Can Use Headphones for ADHD?
Students dealing with ADHD tend to be in motion all the time. They may experience difficulty staying put for any duration of time. During the class, the headphones can be used to calm a student experiencing overstimulation.
The acoustic tracks on headphones for ADHD can be useful in calming a student’s mind allowing them to stay focused. This is a creative way of centering the child during lesson breaks. The headphones can be used during study sessions, gym sessions, or games.
Headphones for ADHD come in handy in the office setting, especially when the person who has ADHD is working in an open office environment. They are especially handy in stressful situations in the workplace. For example, an accountant with ADHD may find the tax season extremely stressful, but by using their noise-canceling headphones, they can concentrate and focus on the task.
They also help you discreetly manage your ADHD behavior. For example, if you typically have many trains of thought going through your mind, listening to the acoustic tracks can help calm you mentally.
The outdoors has been recommended for ADHD patients because nature reduces stress and anxiety. However, the outdoors can be very distracting for people with ADHD working in field-based professions like surveyors, forestry, archaeology or ski guides, among others,
Working in the field where there are many distractions can be quite challenging, but having the headphones helps center the patient. The live nature tracks help reduce distractions in the environment. Interestingly, the combination of being in nature and listening to nature tracks could be a winning formula.
Children and teens with ADHD can use these headphones in any over-stimulating environment like a restaurant, airport, bus or train station, and any other community events. They are a better physical fit for smaller heads.
What to Look for in the Best Headphones for ADHD
Battery life is crucial in these headphones because it determines how long you can use them for on a given day. The battery life is quantified by their run time on a full charge. The audio processor and the microphone are the main components that need to be powered.
Some sets will come with an indicator that shows the battery level and a warning beep when it is completely out of charge. The best battery life in a headphone should typically last between 20 – 40 hours daily. Some headphones come with an even longer battery life of 50 hours, allowing you to use them on long flights.
Look for models that continue to function even with the noise-canceling circuit turned off. This allows you to keep the noise blocked out using the headphone’s passive mode.
An active noise-canceling pair of headphones features electronic components that can fail. These parts may need to be replaced or repaired, so make sure that the manufacturer offers a comprehensive warranty for them. A 12-month warranty is sufficient with headphones, but some companies go-ahead to offer a no-questions-asked return policy while others have stricter return policies.
If you are going to use the headphones regularly, it is best to opt for a set with the best warranty possible even though they may cost a bit more. Make sure the warranty covers defects in the materials used or the workmanship, which is standard coverage. It should state whether only the parts will be covered or the entire unit and who will incur the cost of shipping.
The manufacturer’s customer service is important when dealing with faulty headphones. If the company has poor customer service, they will probably not place adequate emphasis on ensuring that you are happy with your purchase. Because these headphones are used by highly sensitive people, you need to be sure that your concerns about the product they are using are adequately addressed.
Online reviews help ascertain the level of customer service to expect from the company you are purchasing from. Also, before purchasing a set, call the product’s customer service and have an interaction verifying what they claim. The interaction will help you gauge the reliability of the company to deliver on their product promises.
Choose a set with advanced features to help with organization and reminders. A set with Google Assistant will help you keep tabs on important scheduled meetings and appointments even though you are immersed in your work. For example, they will remind you of the flight details that may slip your mind.
You can also use the headphones to make meeting appointments, reservations, and send a text or select songs.
Also, consider whether a wireless or wired option works well for your purposes. Some of the most popular noise-canceling headphones are wireless because of the convenience in portability and ease of use. Look for Bluetooth headphones, which tend to have excellent sound quality when it comes to wireless headphones.
The fit is very important, and most sets prefer to use the over-the-head design to provide a tight seal to the ear. The seal keeps out the noise, so the tighter the fit, the better the noise cancellation. Of course, the headphones are bulkier compared to earbuds, so if you don’t like the additional heft on your head, they may not be a suitable option.
It is important to be able to adjust the noise cancellation to your surroundings. If you are in a quiet environment, you can tailor the noise cancellation. Some models adjust themselves depending on the level of ambient noise they detect.
On other models, you can double-tap on the ear cup to activate the headphones to pick up ambient sound when you need to consider safety.
The best ADHD headphones have excellent sound quality with a powerful range of frequencies. There are three main categories of audio that work for noise cancellation:
- Bass-heavy audio which has an emphasis on the lower range
- Balanced neutral sound with all frequencies on equal ranges
- Bass and treble balanced sound providing lively dynamic audio
For even better sound output, find headphones that have an amplifier to help you set the volume and tone of the audio. Headsets allow the sound to be optimized on both ears, but only if the sound is balanced on both ends.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Difference Between Noise-Isolating or Noise-Canceling Headphones?
Noise-isolating headphones work by blocking out the external noise physically. They utilize passive noise cancellation by creating a seal between the headphone cup and your ear. The types of earphones have a snug fit with the ear cups completely surrounding your ear in their thickly padded interior.
The idea behind noise-isolating headphones is to create a tight seal around your ears that doesn’t allow any external noises from penetrating through. Because of this, the volume levels of noise-isolating headphones are much lower for safety purposes. That is because the sound being fed into the ear does not compete with outside noises, and if it is too high, it may become uncomfortable and even harmful.
Noise-canceling headphones, on the other hand, work using DPS (digital signal processing) technology. This technology actively cancels out the sound waves of ambient noises. The headphones have an internal audio processor and microphone that processes the external sound and plays back an opposite acoustic to counter the distracting sounds. This is known as destructive interference.
The technology uses the inbuilt microphone on the headphone to pick up low-frequency noises and neutralize them before they reach your ears. It generates a 180° inverted sound that cancels out the sound picked up.
In general, noise cancellation is more effective in keeping distractions out than noise isolation. The problem with noise isolation is that the isolation is only as good as the ear cup seal. If the seal between the ear and the headphone ear cup is broken, then the headphones can’t block out ambient sound.
And that is why the best headphones for ADHD utilize active noise cancellation.
Do I Need to Use Noise-Canceling Headphones on a Device Featuring a Built-In Noise Cancellation Function?
Yes, you do. This is because even though the device you are using has a built-in noise-canceling feature, the function will not be activated when you use standard headphones. It, however, becomes activated when you use the originally bundled headphones that come with the device.
If you use a different set of noise-canceling headphones with the device, the headset will cancel out the noise independent of the device’s noise-canceling function. This means that noise-canceling headphones can be connected to any device to block the noises and sounds.
Do the Best Headphones for ADHD Cancel Out the Noise Completely?
It is impossible to completely cancel out 100% of the ambient noise around you even with the best noise-canceling headphones. High-frequency sounds are more prone to penetrate the acoustic shield. However, you can come close to a 100% cancellation if you use the headphones to listen to music or live nature sounds.
For a long time, the noise-canceling headphones on the market have had a hissing sound of their own that can be distracting in its own right. However, with new technology from sound innovators like Bose, the headphones are now more muted. You will find this technology in the form of QuietComfort headsets, an offering from Bose. Bose has been a leader in audio innovation for decades and they pave the way for other companies in the industry.
What Is Better for ADHD: Headphones or Earbuds?
The difference between headphones and earbuds is typically around the construction. Headphones have an over the head design while earbuds are created to fit within the ear canal. Both the headphones and earbuds can be wired or wireless.
Headphones are considered a more comfortable option because of the way they sit on the head. They have padding, and they also do not interfere with the ear canal. However, headphones can be uncomfortable for people who wear glasses because the temple tips get trapped between your skin and the ear cup.
Also, headphones can be cumbersome to carry around even if they are foldable because they take up more space compared to earbuds. Headphones without an adequate seal around your ear allow the ambient sound to seep through. At the same time, the sound can seep out of the headphones, becoming a distraction to others around.
Earbuds come in different sizes so you can easily find the correct fit for your ear canal. They are small, making them very portable wherever you are traveling or commuting to whether wireless or wired.
Earbuds are actually excellent when it comes to noise isolation if you prefer passive noise cancellation. They create a tight seal in the ear canal, preventing noise from leaking in or out.
Earbuds can be uncomfortable when they sit in the ears for too long; however, some brands are making the buds more comfortable with foam padding. It is hard to find the correct fit of earbuds because they do not quickly conform to the ear canal shape.
In terms of sound quality, it all depends on the technology and high-quality materials used on either the earbuds or headphones.
ADHD is a manageable condition, but it requires several approaches to adjust to its presence in your life. It is characterized by three main issues:
- Lack of concentration
- Impulsive behavior
You may not know whether you have ADHD because everyone experiences these behaviors at one point or another. But the following symptoms can give you a clue about the disease:
- Self-focused behavioral issues
- Emotional turmoil even in calm situations
- Lack of focus on simple tasks
- Constant forgetfulness of important things
- Restlessness and the inability to patiently wait your turn
- Too many racing thoughts in your mind
- Inability to recognize or respect other people’s time, turn and feelings
These are all symptoms, but they don’t conclusively diagnose you with ADHD. However, if you suspect that you have this condition, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible.