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Coding In Headphones [ Reasons for Silencing Noise ]

Coders or hackers, clicking away on their keyboard with a pair of headphones or earphones on their ears is a common sight in movies, cartoons and videogames. And, that is pretty much true even in real life. If you’re around coders enough, you might’ve noticed that and wonder, why do coders wear headphones?

Coders wear headphones during work to eliminate all of the unwanted noise of their surroundings. This gives them a suitable work environment where there are no distractions which is essential for such mind tasking work as coding.

Well, that’s basically one of the reasons why coders wear headphones and it’s pretty obvious. But each individual is different. And different people may have different reasons for having headphones on while working. So, to learn more about coder culture, keep on reading.

Reasons Why Coders Use Headphones While Coding

Coding doesn’t involve any sound. You have to wear headphones when watching movies, playing games, music composition, etc. So, why do coders always have a pair of headphones on?

There are numerous reasons behind this. Here are some reasons why programmers wear headphones when working:

  1. Block Surrounding Noises

Noise from your surroundings can be really annoying at times. When you try to focus on your work like study, gaming, painting, writing, etc. noise can throw you off concentration. An intricate task like coding requires utmost attention. Any sound from your surroundings can ruin the hour-long exertion.

So, the headphones work as a barrier to block any noise. Even in the quietest room, sound might intrude. It could be your pet dropping something, or your partner calling your name. A good pair of headphones will block everything from entering your ear.

  • Signal to Others that You’re Working

When you are wearing headphones, no one knows what you are listening to. What they do know is that you are engaged, you are not free for small talks. The headphone is a great way to drive away all sorts of unwanted interactions.

You don’t always work from home as a programmer. You can bring your laptop anywhere and start working. It could be your favorite restaurant or a park in the neighborhood. If you work in a software firm, then the office will be your workplace. All these places can be full of interruptions. Headphones can isolate you from everyone and everything.

  • Listen to Music

Many prefer listening to music while working instead of dead silence. Music helps to concentrate, enhances creativity, and thus, boosting production. In fact, there are special types of music to listen to when programming. So, it’s not uncommon for coders to turn on some Lofi-beats while crunching codes.

All coders don’t necessarily listen to songs. They can sometimes listen to soothing instrumentals or even natural sounds like rain, sea waves, etc. As long as the music soothes them, doesn’t cause irritation, and helps them focus, it’s all good.

Why Does A Coder Need A Quiet Environment?

A quiet environment is free from any distractions. So, coders, working with extremely intricate tasks, require to be highly focused. And that is why they need a quiet environment.

Not only coders, but programmers and many other people also prefer a quiet environment while working. Especially the types of work that require creativity and strong focus like painting, writing story, designing, and of course, programming.

A quiet environment helps you to focus on your work, dissect the problems and find solutions.

Not only that, a quiet environment means there is no distraction. A subtle diversion from the work can be quite impactful.

Programming is not like writing a few hundred lines one after the other. Lots of mathematical formula and problem solving is involved throughout the lines of a program.

It’s like solving math, humongous math. If someone calls your name, you are sure to mess it up. In coding, the problems are related to each other. You have to keep all of them in mind and work in a coordinated manner.

If anything distracts you and you forget maybe one or two of the problems that you were supposed to work with, you may need to rewrite the entire program. Because all of them are interconnected, not one will function without the other.

To avoid any disturbance and focus fully on the work, coders need a quiet environment. To get a quiet environment, there is nothing better than good-quality headphones.

What Type of Headphones Should You Get?

If you are a coder and considering buying a pair of headphones, then there are two types of headphones in terms of noise cancellation. Passive noise-cancelling headphones and active noise-cancelling headphones. You should definitely go for active noise cancelling headphones.

I will briefly discuss each of them to help you understand why active noise cancelling headphones are much better. Let’s go:

Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones

Passive noise cancellation means the headphone is acting as a physical barrier between your ear and all unwanted noise.

No technology is concerned here. It’s like putting your fingers in your ears to get rid of sounds. The headphones block your ear canal and prevent sound waves from entering.

Active Noise Cancelling Headphones

Active noise-cancelling headphones are the yield of technology. They have a tiny microphone that detects external soundwaves. The headphone emits opposite sound waves to cancel the first, thus neutralizing the ambient sound.

Active noise-cancelling headphones require a battery since they need to produce and emit their own sound wave. As you can already understand, active noise-cancelling headphones are more efficient in their job. These types of headphones are used in airlines, eSports, tournaments, and much more.

You already know the answer to which one is better from the above discussion. If you have the budget, go for active noise-cancelling headphones as they are pricier.

Top 3 Headphones for Coding

I have taken the freedom to mention the three best headphones for intense coding sessions. Of the three, one is an earbud since many do not prefer over-ear headphones. Let’s go:

Sony WH1000XM2

Sony WH1000XM2 is one of the best noise-cancelling headphones in the market. Despite being a three-year-old model, it has Sony‘s industry-leading noise-cancelling technology that eliminates all the unwanted sounds from the environment.

Its built-in AI determines the degree of noise cancellation judging from your activities. Its touch control is impressive.

The sound quality is pretty good. Its fast charging allows you to get 70 minutes of battery life with just 10 minutes of charging.

Bose QuietComfort 20

Bose QuietComfort 20 earbuds is a high-quality earbud well known for its noise-cancelling ability. It runs on a rechargeable battery which takes only 8 hours for a full charge.

It has an active mode that instantly turns off or turns on the noise-cancelling to let you hear outside sound.

Despite being on the expensive side, it’s worth every penny. It also comes with many accessories for better convenience when using.

Sennheiser PXC 550

The PXC 550 by Sennheiser is a king of both music and noise cancelling. Its battery life is quite impressive. You can use it for 30 hours after a single charge.

It uses three microphones to pick up sound from all directions. Thus, providing the user a precise noise-cancelling experience.

It is lightweight and very well-designed. You can wear it comfortably for prolonged periods. The foldable designs let you carry this easily anywhere you go.


A top-notch noise-cancelling headphone can boost your productivity as a programmer. If you are new to coding, you are not going to always understand why programmers wear headphones.

You may have seen your coder friends or colleagues wear it all the time, but you never knew the answer. Well, now you do. Thanks for reading and I hope this article was able to quench all of your curiosities.

Amazing Headphones for Coders on Amazon

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Martin Sanders

Tuesday 17th of May 2022

I've coded for so many years wearing headphones, that it's become exceedingly difficult for me to code unless i'm wearing earphones.

We are all pavlov rats.

Josh Koop

Wednesday 18th of May 2022

I honestly fully agree, to get in a zone headphones help so much. Especially as corporate environments continue to get noise by dropping cubicle walls and "space sharing"!