Noise Cancelling Headphones For Migraines - 5 Best Migraine Headphones

Many among us suffer from regular attacks of severe headaches which are known as migraines. But migraines are not just headaches, they are usually accompanied by vomiting, nausea, and dizziness. Doctors have discovered many reasons why people suffer from migraines, one of them being loud noise or noise sensitivity.

The reason why a particular person may be sensitive to loud noises (also known as phonophobia), while other people may seem unaffected, is because the former has nerve cells in their brains, which are extra active. Also, the sound processing areas in their brains have extra connections. This is the primary reason why they suffer from migraines. In this post, we talk about the best noise cancelling headphones for migraines.

Sound sensitivity and migraine

Sensitivity to sound is commonly reported in people suffering from migraines. Over 3/4 migraineurs experience sound sensitivity. This sound sensitivity can take many forms. For some, it may come from loud sound, while for others it may come from quiet sounds. There are people who suffer temporary or permanent hearing disorder due to sensitivity.

While the research on this topic is still ongoing, researchers have narrowed down the cause of sound sensitivity to heightened impulses between certain brain areas. This heightened connectivity is reported among these three areas: auditory cortices (the processor of auditory information), pons (communication facilitator in the brain), and anterior insula (the region associated with emotional responses).

This type of heightened connectivity in patients who suffer from anxiety, thus explaining why some migraineurs also suffer from anxiety attacks.

Also Read: 5 Best Rose Tinted Glasses For Migraines

Which one to Go for – Wired or Wireless?

When deciding to go for a noise-canceling headphone, many people are faced with the dilemma of whether to go for wired headphones or wireless. Since this is the time when everything is going wireless, needless to say, wireless headphones are the perfect choice if you are looking for an option which helps you with your migraines.

The reason being that wireless headphones are easier to carry around and can give you that perfect noise canceling the effect, whenever you need it. Also, wireless headphones now offer great compatibility options and are compatible with almost every device.

How to Choose the Best Noise Cancelling Headphones?

With so many choices out there when it comes to noise-canceling headphones, it can become tricky when narrowing down to the perfect one. We are providing you some tips on how to choose the best noise-canceling headphones.
•    Comfortable Size: The size of an optimum headphone should be according to the ear size. The headphones should cover the ears comfortably.
•    Noise Cancellation: A good headphone uses noise cancellation in an optimum way. Since disruptive noises are a major cause of migraines, this is a very important feature to look for in a headphone.
•    Functionality: The headphones should be portable and not too bulky. The collapsible design is in vogue these days and the headphones can be folded up easily while traveling.
•    Connectivity and battery life: Not to forget, the headphones should be compatible with major platforms so that even your family members can use them when they want to. It should also have good battery life.

5 Best Noise Canceling Headphones For Migraines

 1. Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones 

This is an ergonomically designed and lightweight pair of headphones, which is collapsible. It comes with a Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity technology, hence is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. For migraine sufferers, this headphone comes with a NoiseGard technology, which is an adaptive noise cancellation technology.

Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Thus, the headphones are free from any type of disruptive noises and offer a superior listening experience, with crystal clear sound. You don’t have to worry if you are traveling by plane, or are passing by a noisy street, you will get crystal clear sound. These headphones also come with a microphone, if you want to keep up with your business needs.

The microphone is of triple array type, which ensures superior voice clarity. Other features of these headphones include -  NFC pairing, touch controls, automatic on/off and smart pause. Indeed, they are perfect to be your travel companion with an impressive battery life of 30 hours in a single charge.

Click here to check it on Amazon.

2. Dolby Dimension Wireless Bluetooth Over-Ear Headphones

These headphones are a perfect choice for migraine sufferers as they come with active noise cancellation technology. The Dolby Lifemix allows you to control just how much you want to hear from your surroundings. These headphones provide a cinematic sound experience, which is both expansive and nuanced.

Dolby Dimension Wireless Bluetooth Over-Ear Headphones

There is also a unique feature in these headphones, one-touch switching. This lets users connect the headphones to up to 3 devices, and switch between them, just with a single click. Another feature which makes these headphones an optimum choice for migraine sufferers is their comfort.

The unique ear-cup design, which comes with progressive foam cushioning, and a well-finished padded headband provides a comfortable listening experience. The battery life is also impressive with up to 15 hours of playback time. It takes just 15-20 minutes to charge these headphones for a 2-hour movie.

Learn more about it on Amazon.

3. Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series I) Wireless Headphones

This headphone has been tailor-made for those people who are looking for world-class noise cancellation technology. A boon for migraine sufferers, these headphones cancel out any unwanted noise which may hamper your listening experience. The sound quality is enhanced because these have a volume optimized EQ, which ensures that the same sound quality is maintained over different volume ranges.

Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series I) Wireless Headphones

The wireless headphone makes connectivity a breeze with both Bluetooth and NFC pairing options. These also come with a noise rejecting dual microphone, which helps you make crystal clear calls, even in windy weather.

The Bose Connect is a one-stop solution for all your headphone related needs. You can easily switch, configure, connect and do other things with your headphones in this app. The powerful lithium-ion battery provides best in class 20-hour wireless playback time. There is also an option to use wired configuration to improve the playback time to 40+ hours on a single charge.

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4. Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH-CH700N

Sony has done it again! With digital noise cancellation technology, this headphone stands out from the rest. There is a dedicated button on this wireless headphones for Artificial Intelligence noise cancellation. This technology continuously analyses the background sounds and adjusts them for a quieter and seamless listening experience.
Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH-CH700N

Whenever you feel that the disturbance is too much, just press the NC button, and feel the difference. The soft oval earpads completely cover your ears and ensure that you listen to your favorite music hassle-free. This headphone is a technological marvel and comes with a Digital Sound Enhancement Engine, which automatically enhances the richness and detail of the music, to provide a crystal clear sound every time.

The 40mm dome drivers deliver a deep bass every time you decide to listen to your favorite music. The battery life is impressive, giving 35+ hours of playback on a full charge. The headphone can be paired using either Bluetooth or NFC technology. This headphone is also highly portable and swivels flat so that they can be packed in your handbag, and taken along wherever you go.

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5. Skullcandy Venue Active Noise Cancelling Headphone

This is the headphone which packs together a host of features and latest technology, in a sleek and portable design. For migraine sufferers, this headphone comes with active noise cancellation technology, which allows you to relax in your quiet state of mind, listening to your favorite music. Also, you don’t have to worry anymore if you have the habit of misplacing your headphones every once a while.

Skullcandy Venue Active Noise Cancelling Headphone

This headphone comes with a state of the art Tile technology, which can be used to track your headphones, whenever you misplace them. Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana are our new friends today. Use Skullcandy’s Venue to activate your personal assistant, just with the touch of a button. The headphone comes with a rapid charge technology which can give them over 5 hours of playback time, just in a 10 minutes’ charge. After a full charge, the headphones let you enjoy endless music for up to 24 hours.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

How noise-cancelling headphones can help with migraine?

With the sound sensitivity mechanism discussed in detail, we can now address how noise-cancelling headphones help with migraines. According to a report published in Neurology (March 2015 Edition), Researchers have concluded the fact that if we are able to reduce certain sounds using noise canceling devices during a headache, it can be prevented from becoming worse. They achieve this through these two ways:

1. Active noise cancellation: In this process, the headphones detect the harmful sound, decode it, and replace it with a signal which will repel it. Thus, the sensitivity producing sounds are canceled out completely.

2. Passive noise cancellation: This basically refers to isolating the sensitivity causing sounds. This can be achieved through well-fitting cups, which seal the ears completely, thus blocking any external noise. A good quality headphone can reduce the passive noise by up to 50 decibels.

How to Use These Noise Cancelling Headphones for migraines for best results?

After having discussed some of the best noise cancelling headphones, the question arises, does use of headphones has anything to do with migraines? If yes, what are the best ways to use these headphones for best results? Here are a few ways to use headphones to avoid migraines:
•    Adjusting for Proper Fit: Every headphone is designed for a custom head size. However, noise-canceling headphones come with an adjustable size, which can be stretched/collapsed depending on the size of the user. To avoid any complications due to uncomfortable headphones, ensure you adjust them properly according to your head size.

•    Reducing Listening Time: This is a very important step to follow if you want to completely cure severe and irritating headaches. If you listen for straight 4 hours, avoid it. Listen for 1 hour continuously, then take a break, and go back to it. This break allows your temples, ears, and muscles to relax.

•    Turning the Volume Down: A sound above 85 decibels can, apart from causing severe headaches, permanently damage your earbuds. So, ensure you do not listen to music at a very loud volume.

•    Make them your travel companion: Most of the times, it is the noise from airports, train stations, and other public places, which is the irritant and may trigger headaches. Make use of the portable design of these headphones, and carry them wherever you travel, so that you can have a quiet time whenever you want.


We have discussed in detail, the relationship between sound sensitivity, and headaches. It goes without saying that these noise cancelling headphones for migraines go a long way in providing relief from migraines. We have also listed the best noise cancelling headphones in the market. So, choose well and live healthily. Don’t forget to follow tips for safe use of these headphones.

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