3 Best Headphones for ADHD: These Are The Best Out There!

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Best Headphones for ADHD

Adulting With ADHD Staff

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 the Sony WH-1000XM4. These are followed closely by the Bose QuietComfort. For a budget-friendly option, the Soundcore Life Q30 is a popular choice.

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.

Related: Best Music for Concentration and Focus (& Why It Actually Works)

Best Overall Performer

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones

For adults with ADHD who require a focused and distraction-free audio experience, the Sony WH-1000XM4 wireless noise-canceling headphones emerge as an outstanding choice. These headphones are engineered to offer an immersive auditory environment, essential for individuals seeking to minimize external distractions and improve concentration.

The WH-1000XM4 headphones feature Sony’s cutting-edge noise-canceling technology, adept at blocking out ambient noise. This feature is particularly beneficial for adults with ADHD, as it helps in creating a controlled auditory space, which can aid in reducing sensory overload and enhancing focus.

Apart from their noise-canceling capabilities, these headphones deliver high-resolution audio, ensuring that every note and tone is heard with clarity and precision. This high-fidelity sound can be soothing for ADHD individuals, providing a calming effect and aiding in maintaining focus.

Ergonomically designed, the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones are built for comfort. The soft ear pads and lightweight design make them suitable for prolonged use, which is crucial for adults with ADHD who may use them for extended periods during work or relaxation.

The headphones also come equipped with smart listening technology that adjusts the sound according to your environment, further enhancing the listening experience. The long battery life ensures uninterrupted use, which is essential for maintaining focus without the need to frequently recharge.

A Versatile Close Second

Bose QuietComfort Headphones

For adults with ADHD who need a balance of comfort, sound quality, and effective noise cancellation, the Bose QuietComfort headphones are an excellent choice. These headphones excel in noise cancellation, providing a serene and distraction-free listening experience.

While the Sony WH-1000XM4 also offers impressive noise cancellation, Bose is often recognized for its slightly superior performance in this area, especially in environments with consistent ambient noise.

Known for delivering a balanced and authentic sound profile, Bose QuietComfort ensures that music and audio are clear and natural. Sony’s headphones tend to emphasize deeper bass and offer more sound customization options. If you prefer a more robust sound profile, Sony might edge out Bose in this regard.

Bose QuietComfort headphones are renowned for their comfort, featuring plush ear cushions and a lightweight design that allows for extended wear without discomfort. The WH-1000XM4 is a bit heavier than the Sony WH-1000XM4, yet still comfortable with soft ear pads and an ergonomic design.

Bose QuietComfort offers a commendable battery life suitable for prolonged use, though the Sony WH-1000XM4 boasts a longer battery life.

Budget Pick

Soundcore Life Q30 Noise-Canceling Headphones

The Soundcore Life Q30 uses dual noise-detecting microphones to pick up and filter out up to 95% of low-frequency ambient sound. These headphones offer a customizable noise cancellation experience with three modes: “Transport” for minimizing airplane engine noise, “Outdoor” for reducing traffic and wind sounds, and “Indoor” to dampen the chatter of a busy office.

When it comes to sound quality, the Life Q30 headphones won’t disappoint. With 40mm drivers and highly flexible silk diaphragms, they reproduce thumping bass and crisp treble, letting you hear every detail of your favorite tunes.

These headphones are workhorses, playing up to 40 hours of music in noise-canceling mode. If you switch to standard mode, you can extend the playtime to a whopping 60 hours. Plus, a quick 5-minute charge gives you 4 hours of listening – perfect for those last-minute work sessions.

As far as comfort goes, the ultra-soft protein leather earcups with memory foam padding ensure a snug fit over your ears. And despite all these features, they’re surprisingly lightweight, making them ideal for long listening sessions.

Customers love these headphones for their impressive battery life, value for money, and outstanding comfort. They appreciate the quality of sound and performance, making them a top choice for those with ADHD looking for the perfect pair of headphones to boost productivity.

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.

Office Workers

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.

Field Workers

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

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.

Customer Service

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.

Sound Quality

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. 

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:

  • Hyperactivity
  • 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.

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