The first time I came across the idea of noise-cancelling headphones, I thought they were a gimmick, a feature thought up to sell more units. It wasn’t until I tried on a friend’s pair that I snapped out of this attitude. It was magic, one-second you can hear the ambience of an environment – people talking, cars vrooming, and footsteps – then they disappeared. At that point I was intrigued, and when the audio started playing, I was sold. It was the most perfectly sounding audio I had ever heard, and put my Apple EarPods at the time to shame. I went out and bought a pair (Sony WH-1000XM3) that very week and haven’t looked back since.

With noise-cancelling, any setting can be one where deep work can be achieved. This was the biggest win in my book. No matter where I was – cafΓ©, park, foyer of a building at University – it was so simple for me to tune the world out and focus on whatever was needed. Those that have never tried a pair, not least the Sony WH-1000XM3 will find this claim perhaps more than a little debatable. I don’t know what to say other than to try a pair one; I am so confident of how amazing they are that I would bet the house on it (if I had a house). I am not exaggerating in calling it game-changing, at least for me. As a result of being able to focus into deep work anywhere, I saved a lot of time searching for a quiet spot at uni – I could work from anywhere.

The audio quality is leagues better with the noise-cancelling on. Listening to audio without noise-cancelling means that it is contending with the sounds of the world around you. I never thought this an issue before I had noise-cancelling, but now that I do, I realise how much of an impact it has on the quality of the audio. As someone who listens to lot of music, it made the simple pleasure of listening to it that much more satisfying. While this added enjoyment is not something I can quantify, it is such that I would easily be willing to pay $1000 for a pair of headphones that can deliver this audio quality.

I credit noise-cancelling headphones for elevating the quality of my life. They are a gift in a work or university setting making deep work so much easier to get into. They are also a saviour for when I want to relax, being able to tune out the world and jam out to my favourite tunes with unparalleled audio quality. The price tag might look scary, but given that I use them at least five hours a day most days and the added quality of those hours, it is worth every penny.


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