Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Work In An Office?

The advancements in noise cancelling headphones technology make it possible for people to enjoy good music and audiobooks in different contexts. However, some still wonder if noise cancelling headphones work in an office environment.

Maybe you are concerned about constant noise from office coworkers, street traffic, or machines used by other businesses around your workplace.  Such concerns often lead people like you to search for the best noise cancelling headphones for work. Whether you are working in your home office or committing to work with other people in a different office, this post will help you get the clarifications you need.

Check out this guide to find out more about noise cancelling headphones and how they can help you stay focused at work without sacrificing your peace of mind.

What Are The Benefits of Noise Cancelling Headphones?

#1: Higher Level of Concentration At Work

Regardless of where you work, constant noise can decrease your concentration level. Interestingly, how you concentrate is directly related to your productivity. Consequently, if you want to improve your productivity, you also need to improve your concentration level.

And that is what the best noise cancelling headphones can help you to achieve. When noise is drastically reduced, you’ll have more mental energy to spend on your work. Even without knowing the intricacies of how noise cancelling headphones work, you’ll experience the specific benefit discussed when you buy one.

Related: Home Office Headphone Buying Guide For Remote Workers

#2: Immersive Audio Entertainment

If you are the type of person who pairs and enjoys good music while working, buying a cheap noise cancelling headphone with great sound quality will add more pleasure to your work experience. Many people have hinted at the pleasure of getting into a flow state with good music, from writers to programmers, designers, marketers, and every other remote worker in between.

Unfortunately, this is something we are very likely not to experience in a noisy work environment. Instead of using this type of headphone exclusively for entertainment, most remote working professionals often get into productive work mode with the best noise cancelling headphones and good music.

Make a handy selection of your favorite tracks, and you’ll experience the most attractive benefit of noise cancelling headphones.

#3: Better Online Meeting Conversations

Engaging in online meetings in a noisy environment is rarely desirable to anyone. When the noise is so loud and constant, it interferes with the flow and clarity of what is being communicated in an online meeting. In such cases, the people on the other end listening to your presentations will also experience the noise, which distorts the sound and words in your online meeting conversations. With the best noise cancelling headphones, you can elevate your online meeting experience to a higher level.

And the best part is that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to make it happen. Look into the best headphone price comparison, and you’ll certainly find a few models that will fall within your budget.

#4: You Can Work In Any Noisy Environment

Remote work doesn’t mean you have to be stuck at home all day. It is also possible to schedule your work in various contexts. However, if you get into a noisy environment that is not within your control, getting some work done with maximum concentration will be hard for you. But if you buy one of the best noise cancelling headphones, you can leave home and work in any environment you choose.

In addition to affordable headphone, consider signing up for one of the best noise cancelling software for remote workers. With a simple free trial of such software solutions, you can experience the true benefits before going for a premium plan.

Related: Best USB Headset For Working From Home 

How Can Noise Cancelling Headphones Be Used In An Office?

Instead of wearing noise canceling headsets, which can distort your hearing and completely remove you from your environment, try to wear earbuds that fit comfortably into your ears. You’ll still be able to hear coworkers, but you’ll also be able to enjoy your music while blocking out extra noise. 

If you are thinking about trying noise-canceling headphones in a noisy office setting, try bringing them into work with you on a trial basis. Wear them for short periods of time each day (15 minutes?) until they become more familiar. You might find that they help improve focus or productivity but, at the same time, cause discomfort or disrupt team communication. When it comes to listening to music, don’t use them as a crutch. 

Remember that you are there for work. It is important to stay alert so that you do not miss important information or details being discussed around you. When it comes down to it, if noise-canceling headphones will help make working in an open office easier on your ears, then, by all means, use them. Just remember—noise canceling doesn’t mean distraction-free!

What Are The Drawbacks of Noise Cancelling Headphones?

If you find your office too loud or don’t want to listen to someone on a call while working on something else, noise-canceling headphones are a great solution. However, like most solutions, they come with a few drawbacks, which include: 

  1. They don’t play well with some microphones (you might want to leave them off for conference calls). 
  2. If you rely on ambient sound for typing feedback (i.e., if your keyboard beeps when there’s no sound), it can be distracting to hear that sound coming from your headphones instead of your computer or phone. 
  3. They’re not really designed for listening to music at all times—if you try to use them as your primary pair of headphones, you’ll likely get ear fatigue and headaches fairly quickly. 

So if possible, I recommend using noise-canceling headphones only when needed. 

Can These Headphones Be Shared?

Several reviews of these headphones say they’re great for shared spaces, but others caution that they might not be suitable. 

If you purchase these headphones, your best bet is to take them with you on a test run to see if they’re worth returning to your office. If several of you work in an open space (or even in nearby private offices), try sharing headphones before buying a pair for everyone. That way, you can each discover if noise-canceling works as well for one person as it does for multiple. 

Your investment will pay off by allowing some employees to hear their music and your phone calls better or allowing everyone access to premium ear protection from noise and distraction. 

Everyone has a different listening preference, but most audiophiles believe that personal headphones offer more freedom than pairs shared between co-workers. However, business and sales professionals use whatever tools get them through their day. Hence, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give these particular headphones a chance – especially since cheaper models are designed for continuous daily wear. 

Related: What Is The Best Headset For Zoom Meetings?


Research has shown that wearing noise-canceling headphones does not improve your ability to pay attention at work. For example, one study of air traffic controllers found that those who wore headphones had a 17% failure rate on their tests. 

The reason: when you wear noise-canceling headphones at work, it masks out all ambient sounds—including both important and unimportant noises that can help us determine what we need to do next. 

If you’re looking for ways to increase your focus and improve productivity at work, invest in an office headset instead. Office headsets tend to reduce sound rather than filter it out entirely and can help us stay focused by amplifying key sounds and voices that could otherwise be missed. While they won’t block out everything around you, they will ensure that there’s always something for you to listen for—whether it’s your boss’s instructions or client requests. 

Donald Felix

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