I just recently purchased good noise-cancelling headphones to block the roar of motors and the general noise whenever traveling on planes. The headphones are simply brilliant because, not only do they block in-coming noise so that the sound from on-board systems can be clearly heard, but they also block other passenger from being distracted by what I am listening to.

Without these headsets I found that I was forced to turn up the sound controls to full volume and was constantly adjusting earplugs so that I could hear. Neither is a good solution for hearing. Now I can hear clearly hear any sounds from on-board systems or from my mobile devices: messages, music, videos, audio books, podcasts or any application with sound.

The headphones actually cover the ears. I find that this has two effects. One it cancels out external noise almost completely and it also sends an indirect message to those around me – ‘please do not disturb’.

Immediately it occurred to me that this hardware is an essential for students in schools seeking ‘quiet’. Quiet spaces are difficult to find. Libraries have become hubs of activity for those who want to collaborate. On the other hand, those who want to engage in quiet activities, the change has become a challenge. Also students often want to work or read in other places which may not be quiet – malls, cafeteria or even outside. Noise-cancelling headphones will create these quiet spaces and do not require students to be listening to music or turning up the sound to create their own personal quiet space.

The following video shows an example of the features to look for in a noise-cancelling headphone. There are many manufacturers who offer noise-cancelling solutions. This video demonstrates only one example.


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In the article How to Make your Classroom a Thinking Space, Suzie Boss says, ‘Sometimes students need “cave” space, a place quiet and free from distraction.’ Noise-cancelling headphones can help create “cave” spaces or  virtual quiet spaces where physical space may not be possible.