Close this search box.

Why headphones might help with ADHD


There may be one thing that can help people who have ADHD focus while studying or completing work tasks: headphones.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defined people who have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder as those who have difficulty concentrating in distracting environments like shared office spaces. Distractions can include a ringing phone, overheard small talk or noises like hearing someone make coffee.

“Someone without ADHD might not even [notice] a little background sound — like the printer going off — but an individual with ADHD might focus in on it,” Justin Puder, Ph.D., said to Health. “So, in environments with different noises that pop up and disappear, it can be difficult to stay focused.”

Some people with ADHD can experience trouble focusing during conversations, lectures, reading, finishing chores, workplace tasks, staying organized, managing time and meeting deadlines and other activities related to their jobs.

“For those individuals, concentration is getting broken more easily, and remembering what they were doing before getting distracted can be really hard,” Kendra Mathys, Psy.D. said to Health.

Thus, the recommendation for noise-canceling headphones. Things to play in the headphones can be trial and error, experts said. A person can play music they’re familiar with or white noise.

If a person has been diagnosed with ADHD by a licensed provider, their place of employment might be legally obligated to provide accommodations that are easier to work in.

A 2020 CDC study revealed that ADHD diagnoses are found the most in Black children, as 17 percent of Black children were diagnosed with the condition, while 15 percent of White children and 12 percent of Hispanic children were diagnosed with it. The same study also showed children who lived below the federal poverty level, 19 percent, are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than children who lived with families above the poverty level — 19 percent and 13 percent, respectively.