Being unproductive is fatal, especially when it’s because you lack work headphones.

If you’re a business owner, it means your employees are unproductive and can’t deliver; it means you’re losing money, losing happiness, you’re constantly depressed and anxious; you’re on the verge of losing your business, you’re about to lose your house, and your car is about to be repossessed among other things.

In simple terms, things are falling apart for you. It looks like a losing spree.

And sometimes lack of productivity is only caused by overlooking simple questions such as, is your office space designed in a way that promotes distractive workplace noise?




There are tons of research that show how noise drags you from the realm of productive to the unproductive and keeps you there for as long as you allow it to.

But that’s not the point of this piece.

In this piece, I want to show you how noise canceling headphones can make you more productive.

How do noise cancelling headphones help at work?

Some offices give you the feeling that distractions are inevitable–even when they are well intended.

You wrote a computer program but it didn’t run. You’re confused and having trouble trying to debug long lines of code and just when you feel you’re onto something that’s when a colleague calls your name from across the room and decides to walk by to ask your advice about a certain project.

You certainly do not appreciate the disturbance, in fact, you’re annoyed by it, but nonetheless, you swallow your bitterness and give him an audience. While you’re talking to them, another sees an open opportunity and decides to have a brief chat with you about the next meeting you’ll both soon have with the top management.

marshall headphones

By the time they are both done with you, 45 minutes to an hour is gone. You get back to work but you’re unable to “get in the zone” until the next hour.

Do the math and you’ll realize you have wasted a good 2 hours.

None of these would have happened if you’d worn noise cancelling headphones, because apart from blocking out noise, it sends a message to your colleagues that you’re plugged-in and wouldn’t appreciate any form of distraction whatsoever.

How noise cancelling headphones help during air travel

Almost everybody travels by air these days, the few who don’t are those who have a genuine fear of flying because they experience acute forms of flight-induced anxiety (flight phobia). But they are in the minority and there are medications to help them.

The majority of people have to fly for work purposes; you need to travel to attend conferences where you can learn, network and promote your business; and sometimes you need to travel to close a deal or sign new business.

If you’re taking a long flight (4 hours and above) then your experience in the flight is going to affect how productive you are when you arrive at your destination.

Imagine being invited as a keynote speaker at a major conference and you go there to perform at a sub-par level because you couldn’t get enough rest during the flight.

Simply investing in suitable NC work headphones would help you solve that problem. It cancels the never-ending noise from the aircraft engine and blocks out noise from the cabin.

Most people say when they wear their headphones, they find it easier to fall asleep or just simply relax. And that they usually feel fresher and more rested than they would after a nap without those.

How noise cancelling headphones can improve your sleep

Long term sleep deprivation comes with a litany of side effects, from poor memory to poor wound healing and all the other scary things in between. Even short term lack of sleep has been shown to make us feel tired, irritable and unproductive the next day.

There are a lot of noises that interrupt our sleep but one of the most annoying for most people is snoring. Some snoring can be loud, and I mean really loud.

A loud snorer can reach up to 70-80 dB (that’s not as loud as a lawn mower but it’s pretty darn close). Now imagine sleeping next to a person snoring that loud and realizing that they are sound asleep but you, on the other hand, are finding it difficult to as little as doze off even if for just for 30 minutes.

That’s where noise cancelling headphones come in handy, a lot of people find it helpful to play white noise through over-the-ear noise cancelling headphones.

audio-technica headphones

That way the work headphones cancel out the lower-pitched parts of the snoring, and you can effectively crowd out the remainder by playing the white noise at a moderate volume.

And since they come in a lot of designs now, you can find one that’s suitable for your sleeping posture whether you sleep on your side or your back.  

What to look out for when buying noise-cancelling headphones

Unless you’re among the top 20% richest people in the world, you’d also want to accomplish what the economists call maximum utility whenever you make a purchasing decision.

The concept simply explains that in a purchase decision a consumer attempts to get the greatest value possible from the expenditure of the least amount of money. In other words, you would love to pay the minimum price and get maximum value.

Apply this principle to buying work headphones and you’ll want to buy one that meets your need but does not force you to break the bank.

There are a few things to pay attention to however:

  1. Weight: The heavier it is, the more cumbersome it is to carry around and the weights add up pretty fast when you’re carrying it with other things say ipads, your camera and so on. So it’s better to choose one that isn’t too heavy.
  2.  Cable length: If it’s not wireless-enabled then the longer the cable the better as long as you’re careful not to allow it to get tangled.
  3. Battery life: You want to invest in a piece that has a long battery life. But no matter how mindful you are, at some point, you’ll accidentally leave the work headphones on and run down the battery. So you want to pick a headphone that allows you to switch to a spare battery pretty easily.
  4. Price range: High price doesn’t always equate to high quality, so don’t be swayed by the heavy prices. Be more concerned about functionalities.

How do you measure your productivity

One of the best-known ways to measure results is to take the before-and-after approach. How much did you get done when noise and its attendant distractions used to reign free and how much do you get done now that you’ve nipped them in the bud?

headphones make you more productive

Here are a few ways to track your productivity:

  • Input against output: Decide on your input figure, this could be anything you want, it could be the hours of labor you put in or the amount of starting materials you use.

You can choose any output you want, say, the number tasks completed, for instance. The key here is to see if your output is increasing compared to back then

  • Feedback from co-workers: Your co-workers whether your peers or bosses can also give you valuable feedback which tells you whether they perceive you to be more productive now that you use NC headphones.

But to be able to do that they must have at least a basic understanding of the tasks that make up your work

  • Time tracking: You can track how much time you used to spend on a task now and compare it to the average you used to spend before investing in headphones


So to answer the question, do noise cancelling headphones make you more productive? Yes, they do. And when you start using them, you’ll wonder where they were all your life.

Your turn, ever used NC work headphones to improve concentration and get more work done? What changes did you have to make? I’d love to hear them in the comments section.