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Why do Autistic People Wear Headphones [Key Benefits Revealed!]

If you happen to meet an ASD patient, you might wonder: why do some autistic people wear headphones? Here’s the truth:

Autism has a wide range of symptoms, one of which is sensitivity to sound. Noise-cancelling headphones help them stay calm. 

Autism or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is a developmental disability where people have trouble understanding and communicating what other people feel or think. According to a study in 2017 by CDC, almost 2.21% of adults in the US have ASD. Autism is a curable disease as the diagnosis is improving. 

In this article, I will discuss everything about headphones for autistic people.

Why do People with Autism Wear Headphones: Preview

Do headphones help with autism?

Noise-canceling headphones are the best survivor for autistic kids and adults from sound. Let’s look at the benefits of noise-canceling headphones.

Let’s start with a situation:

Imagine you are in a quiet place with pin-drop silence. Now add some sound, but not too much. It can be a conversation between two people. This sound is just a noise that can be easily ignorable for most people, but an autistic person with auditory sensitivity may find it very irritating; they can’t just ignore it.

Now, add more conversation, this time at a higher volume. Now, this will create pressure on an autistic person. If you add more and more conversations, it will be very painful for him as autistic people can’t separate the sounds. It will feel like hitting your brain with a hammer.

Loud sounds like fireworks, thunderstorms, a fire alarm, or a balloon popping can make them very anxious as they have sound sensitivity. In case of unwanted sounds (that can be loud noises or chaos, or a humming sound), the noise-canceling headphones are really helpful to opt-out of these noises. 

Also Read: Why Top Podcasters Wear Headphones 

To Prevent Overstimulation 

Autistic people often feel overstimulated by sounds and get overwhelmed. They become anxious and get distracted by noise, as they cannot understand where they need to pay attention.

They can’t understand which noise is vital and which is not. They may not respond to a gentle conversation intended for them but may get distracted by a humming sound of a heating unit. 

More than 96% of children with autism have hypo and hyper-sensitivities in sensory inputs like visual senses, touching, and hearing. Autistic children with hypersensitivity to sounds struggle to relax and concentrate due to the constant distraction they get from the surrounding noises. 

As a result, many autistic kids develop a sleeping disorder as they tend to wake up multiple times in the middle of the night. In these cases, noise-canceling headphones help them relax and concentrate. 

As a friend of an autistic person, I can feel how helpful these noise-canceling headphones are. They have no harmful effects on the condition. Noise reduction headphones help people with Autism Spectrum Disorder control their overstimulation in noisy environments

[Click here to see the real comment of an autistic person]

To Listen to Audiobooks, Music, and Radio

Listening to music is mentally stimulating for everyone. But for autistic people, this can be a more stimulating experience. Listening to music, audiobooks, or radio can help them concentrate on their work. Many autistic people love to listen to music using noise-reduction headphones. 

[Click here to see the real comment of an autistic person]

Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones for Autistic Adults & Kids

Best noise cancelling headphones

An individual with ASD may have hypo or hypersensitivity towards the sound. In hyposensitivity, an individual gets overwhelmed by extreme and loud sounds.

On the other hand, an individual hypersensitive to sound is very aware of sounds, from low to loud. The sounds make them very anxious. 

Most of us don’t even realize how noisy the world is as we can quickly turn out any background sound. If we find a place very noisy, we usually leave that place and go to a quieter place. 

But for autistic people with hypersensitivity, every sound feels like a noisy place. A regular room with 5 to 6 people hanging together can make them feel noisy. Sometimes they even got a sleep disorder due to waking up continuously in the middle of the night.

These issues can change their lives and make their life not unbearable. Unfortunately, there is no natural way to solve this issue. Many autistic people with hypo and hyper-sensitive find noise-canceling headphones, with good noise reduction ratings, handy for turning off all disturbing noises.

A good quality headphone is also comfortable to wear during sleep in case it is necessary. Noise-canceling headphones are the best headphones for autism as they improve the quality of life of autistic people.

Noise-canceling headphones are no less than a “godsend” for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. As a good friend of an autistic young adult, I have bought several noise-canceling headphones. Here are the top 3 noise-cancelling headphones that I find perfect for autistic people:

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 

#1 For Autistic Adults

Bose 700


  • Smart design 
  • Intuitive and responsive touch controls
  • Balanced and clean sound
  • Excellent voice speaking system with 8 different microphones (6 microphones for the sound canceling and the rest of them are for the voice command)


  • The bass sounds are not up to the mark.
  • Doesn’t have aptX HD and aptX support. 

This noise-canceling headphone is best for adults with autism with its active noise-cancellation feature and a wide range of touch sensor input adjustments. Its padded headbands make it very comfortable to wear.

Puro Sound Labs BT2200s 

Best For Autistic Kids

Puro Sound Labs BT2200s 


  • Amazing sound quality 
  • Good connectivity 
  • Passive noise cancellation helps parents to get their kid’s attention when needed.
  • Great customer service in case of any internal damage during the warranty period.


  • The short-length charging cable.

These comfortable headphones have a passive noise cancellation feature which fits better than active noise cancellation for autistic kids. These wireless headphones are easy to use and highly recommended for autistic kids.

Loop Quiet Ear Plugs for Noise Reduction 

Good For Autistic Adults

Loop Quiet Ear Plugs


  • Innovate design and super comfortable
  • Comes in different sizes.
  • Lightweight design
  • Very easy to clean


  • The case is very small.

These noise-reducing ear defenders, with a good noise reduction rating, are beneficial for autistic adults. It can quickly reduce the background noise, which means the background noises will be gone, but you would be able to hear anyone shouting at you.

So, Headphones Help to Cure Autism, Right? 

Puro sound labs for autistic kids

No, no headphones can cure autism. Even according to the majority of the experts, there is no cure for this disease. 

For this reason, many experts suggest taking an approach to reducing the symptoms of ASD and developing support and skills by providing educational, psychological, and behavioral therapy. Every doctor who treats autism agrees that starting these skill development therapies is very important as soon as autism is diagnosed. 

ABA, or applied behavior analysis therapy, is widely used by healthcare providers, schools, and therapists for treating autism. Other treatments for ASD are occupational therapy, sensory integration therapy, and social skills training. 

Autistic people with sound sensitivity find headphones very helpful. A pilot study conducted by a group of researchers has shown that sound-blocking or sound-canceling headphones that reduce external noises to a manageable level and noise-canceling earphones that block sound are helpful for autistic children. 

Although they found in their study that noise-canceling headphones might not work for autistic kids as these types of headphones are unable to omit loud human voices.

But if you want your kid to concentrate on their work in a noisy situation, noise-cancellation headphones might be helpful. 

For autistic adults, noise-canceling earmuffs and headphones, with a good noise reduction rate, are helpful for noisy situations and individual symptoms.

Autistic people need special attention to feel comfortable and included in every environment as they have sensory processing difficulties. If you have anyone know who is suffering from autism spectrum disorder, you can opt for these approaches to make a friendly environment for them:

  • Ask them how you can help them. Ask people with autism whom they want to include. 
  • Disorganization and clutter make autistic people overwhelmed. So, if you have an autistic family member, always keep your house organized and clean. If you invite an autistic person to your house, try to get your house organized.
  • Autistic people suffer from sensory processing difficulties, where they get overwhelmed by sensations like smell, sound, touch, or sight. Make sure that the furniture has a smooth surface to sit on. If there is no smooth area to sit on, find a cushion and place it down to make your autistic friend feel comfortable.
  • Sometimes autistic people struggle to encounter bright light. Using ambient light like table lamps is better than any bright light. In the daytime, open the curtains and let the natural light fill the room. 
  • Try not to make a very loud sound- keep the level of noise to a low level. When playing music, try melodious songs instead of loud beats. It will help your autistic friend or family feel calm and relaxed.

Also Read: Hearing Loss From Headphones 

Why Do Autistic People Wear Headphones: FAQs

Q. Can people with autism like loud music?

Loud music can be painful for autistic people as they suffer from Sensory Processing Disorder. They may struggle to concentrate on the work when the noise levels in the music are too high.

Always avoid loud music if you have a friend, family member, or an autistic person, who is sensitive to sounds with you.

Q. What is overstimulation in autism? 

External sensory stimuli or stimulus is too much for an autistic individual’s brain to process and integrate properly, which is called overstimulation.

It causes an uncomfortable sensation of being overwhelmed, so much so that it evokes a strong physiological response and as a result, they feel a strong urge to escape that stimulus. If they can’t do that, autistic people scream or cry to express their pain. 

Q. How does music affect autism?

Most autistic people find music pleasing until it gets too loud with powerful bass. Many autistic people are fond of music. Research has shown that music therapy for autistic kids helps to communicate with them. 

Q. What kind of music is best for autism?

Melodious music, like classical music, is best for autistic people. It helps autistic people to calm down if they get agitated or anxious.

Rhythm instruments like xylophones, small bells, or finger cymbals are also helpful as these instruments have a therapeutic sound.

Q. Do earplugs help autism?

People with Autism Spectrum Disorder often get sensitive to sound. They may find it challenging to counteract loud and very minimum ambient noises. In this case, sound-blocking earplugs are a helpful tool to turn down the noises and make them calm and relaxed. 

About the Author

Why Do Autistic People Wear Headphones

Rach Wellard

Rach Wellard is the driving force behind Sound & Solitude. Her mission is to help you discover the profound impact of sound in your daily life and to explore the beauty of solitude. With a deep passion for the connection between soundscapes and emotions, she brings a unique blend of expertise and personal dedication to our platform.

Rach understands that every individual's auditory journey is unique, and she’s here to guide you every step of the way. As a devoted audiophile, Rach’s discerning ear carefully selects the most exceptional products that align with your desires for Sound or Solitude. In a world filled with noise and chaos, Sound & Solitude serves as your sanctuary.

Rach’s journey as an autistic individual with a heightened sensitivity to sound fuels our commitment to creating an inclusive space where everyone can find solace while enjoying the meaningful sounds in their lives. Her understanding of diverse sensory needs enables us to offer personalized recommendations and insights, ensuring that your chosen audio equipment not only meets technical criteria but also resonates with your unique sensory preferences. And if you simply seek the best sound possible, Rach has you covered.

At Sound & Solitude, authenticity is our foundation. We provide unbiased reviews and comparisons because you deserve nothing but the truth. Our reviews are meticulously crafted, drawing upon Rach’s deep understanding of audio technology and the human experience in the Sound and Solitude realms. Whether you're searching for noise-cancelling headphones to immerse yourself in music or seeking a gaming headset that transports you to virtual worlds, you can rely on our reviews and personally tested comparisons to find the best equipment for your specific needs. Explore our carefully curated content, from the latest wireless audio advancements to tips for creating your ideal auditory retreat.

Let Sound & Solitude be your companion in your quest for perfect sound, rich experiences, and beautiful serenity. Join Rach as she redefines the way you listen, connecting you to the power of Sound and the Solitude it brings. Together, we'll evolve into your trusted platform for all things related to Sound & Solitude.

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