Improve focus with noise-cancelling headphones

ADHD Business Tips - Use Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Building a small business is a journey that holds abundant appeal for many, but for those of us with ADHD, the path we follow tends to be paved with unique challenges. Distractions, both internal and external, can easily throw off our focus even when we’re ready and willing to get sh*t done!

Amidst the commotion of the bustling business world, one simple investment stands out as a game-changer: noise-cancelling headphones. Let’s dive into how these magical devices work and why they might be the focus-enhancing tool you’ve been searching for.

How do noise-cancelling headphones work?

Imagine stepping into a world where the constant hum of background noise fades away, leaving you with a calm and serene soundscape. That’s the wizardry of noise-cancelling headphones. These amazing contraptions use built-in microphones to pick up external sounds. In real-time, they generate sound waves that are the exact opposite (anti-phase) of the detected noises. When these anti-phase sounds mix with the original sounds, they cancel each other out, effectively reducing or eliminating ambient noise altogether.

Why are they helpful for ADHD entrepreneurs?

In the ever-fluid realm of small business, where focus is both a coveted asset and a constant challenge, noise-cancelling headphones emerge as silent heroes for those of us with ADHD. These clever devices create a cocoon of tranquillity, strategically muting the chaos of external distractions that can so easily derail concentration. When your mind is a bustling intersection of thoughts and ideas, the ability to block out unnecessary noise can offer a conduit to sustained focus. If you’re AuDHD they can have the added benefit of keeping sensory overload in check, especially in noisier spaces.

Whether you’re managing the frenzy of an open office, or jumping onto an important Zoom call, noise-cancelling headphones act as gatekeepers, allowing for the selective admission of stimuli. This auditory serenity can not only transform the workspace into a haven for deep concentration but also provide a visible signal to others that a period of intense focus is underway.

In essence, these headphones become a personalised retreat, offering a refuge from over stimulation, and fostering an environment where productivity can flourish.

Make the most out of your headphones at work

Noise-cancelling headphones can be helpful in many settings including while travelling or commuting, for an immersive experience listening to your favourite tracks or even to make your kid’s piano practice more bearable! When it comes to the workplace though, here’s how to make the most out of these nifty gadgets:

Choose the right pair:

Invest in headphones with reputable noise-cancelling technology. Brands like Bose, Sony, and Sennheiser are known for their effective noise-cancelling capabilities.

Create playlists for focus:

Curate playlists with instrumental or ambient music that enhances concentration. Platforms like Spotify offer curated playlists designed for focus and productivity.

Establish a “Focus Zone”:

Use your headphones as a visual cue to signify your “focus zone.” Colleagues and/or family members will be more likely to respect your concentration, reducing unnecessary interruptions.

Alternative options

While popular big box and online retailers offer options from around $50, a high-end pair of noise-cancelling headphones can set you back over $1k, which is a significant investment. If you don’t have access to a pair right now, here are some workarounds to try that will provide a similar effect:

White Noise Apps:

Explore white noise apps that offer a variety of ambient sounds to mask distracting noises. You can play these through your regular headphones. Read more about how brown noise can help at work.


Simple foam earplugs can provide a cost-effective solution for reducing ambient noise. They might not cancel noise as actively as headphones, but they can still make a significant difference in a moment of need!


If you haven’t tried noise-cancelling headphones before, see if you can borrow some before you invest in a pair yourself. Or, head to the shops and try on a pair so you can see how effective they are at blocking out the noise around you. Now is the perfect time to add them to your Christmas wishlist!

In the sonata of small business, noise-cancelling headphones can be your conductor, orchestrating an environment where focus thrives, even when external conditions aren’t ideal. I’d love for you to tap into the power of this auditory serenity and see if it works for you! Don’t forget to let me know how you go.

I’ll see you back here next week!

P.S. The next Execute Quarterly Planning session is just around the corner – if you want to start 2024 off on the right foot, join us before December 18 to make the call!

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