Why Do Programmers Like To Wear Headphones:The Definitive Guide (2018)

Why Do Programmers Like To Wear Headphones

So you have got a lot of backlinks and source codes to deal with, and yes, you have begun tracing and pulling all the strings together. Suddenly come’s Dear Mr. Sam whistling Katy Perry’s “Swish Swish”? It's not that you do not like the song, but right now your focus is zero, and in fact, you have no idea what codes you should be using or doing.

We can both relate to why a headphone would have practically solved this dilemma in the first place. A headphone is the one crucial piece of equipment that would better tune out every sound around you and keep you focused.

Get the best prices on the best noise canceling wireless headphones today.

Programmers or IT experts everywhere have the same problem to deal with, and you can only realize just why headphones have become an essential part of our wardrobes. 

In this post, I will explain in details about this remarkable phenomenon as so why we do like headphones.

Inside The Brain

When working, you might likely be using your working memory which has been adequately studied by great minds.

The working memory is a short-term memory area in your brain used in processing information at an instant, and it could be quite shorter if your attention is further disturbed. 

For example: 

When you do memorize a random set of instructions and seek to repeat them from memory, you will likely remember them at that instant, but if you did try to learn pages of instructions, it would be impossible to bring that out due to just how short the working memory indeed is.

A Different Outlook

According to Dr. Desimone, director of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the prefrontal cortex, the brain control center will have to work twice as hard to force itself not to process every strong verbal stimulus such as catchy lyrics, laughter and this may compete with the work you are attempting’

The more the cognitive work required to screen out unwanted input the fewer the resources available for the task at hand. This further means that the more you try to concentrate and push away all that irrelevant information’s floating around you, the worse your performance at the task ahead.

"Attention takes mental effort, and we can get mentally tired, "he says

Why Do Programmers Use Headphones When Programming

Some people known as memory athletes do get around this limitation by offloading a majority of memory requirements to spatial memory which in reality works closely with the working memory. 

This technique is called “memory places” and allows them to "walk" around the internal conception of ‘palace” and “place.” It allows them to place certain words in a location that will help them remember each bit at different times; this ultimately means access to huge information that you would not have easily recollected. 

How Programmers Remember Strings Of Codes

Programmers have a similar set of techniques that help then navigate through codes and keep the goal in sight throughout the work. 

However, as with the case of working athletes, there are still limitations. The working memory is still very much used to process this information, and unfortunately, the working memory must keep track of details of everything happening around which might interfere significantly with the knowledge you are trying to process. 

Therefore, when your desk mate begins to whistle, or chatter, laughter even as small as a pin drop can be highly detrimental to keeping the focus on all that source code you were working in the first place. 

Too many of these distractions at the same time will block out all, therefore, creating and increasing the already imposed stress of trying to process information memory from the spatial memory down onto the computer screen, and it can reduce all the fun in programming. 

Using a Headphone As a Programmer As Opposed to Earphones 

So, since it’s all about noise cancellation, you might ask "why not use earplug instead of big and heavy loops around the ears. 

Well, here is why 

Some Earphones may effectively cancel all sounds and maybe decline rich quality music so that you can relax and increase focus. Nevertheless, they are not quite as popular as headphones because most people get so uncomfortable while using the former embedded deep within their ear canals. Also, it can be a bit painful after only a few minutes. 

Headphones offer enhanced noise cancellation functions. They are comfortable around the ears. They also improve concentration because they increase the level of isolation between you and all that is happening around you. 

Also, some headphones come with microphones making it so much easier to keep in the loop with the necessary communication from time to time.

What Are The Benefits For Programmers To Wear Headphones

A lot of research has shown that having to deal with a lot of sounds in the background happens on productivity significantly. 
In programming, you will have to design, write, improve, debugs and maintain source codes. Therefore you require maximum efforts at computing, browsing and record keeping. 

You require an intricate combination of focus, mental ability, and a problem-solving mindset; therefore to eliminate all playoff errors, headphones are necessary. 

According to why.do

They serve as your form of " Do not disturb sign" giving the signal that you do not want to be disturbed and at the same time limiting your sensory awareness of the embroidery, therefore little or no distractions as the ultimate goal. 
It would interest you to know that studies equally expressed that once you get knocked out of the flow of the business at the moment, it can take as far as 20 minutes to get back in sync. 

Given the fact that time also is precious to programming as with everyone else, you will understand just how much 20 minutes is too long a time to be out of depth with your codes. 

In addition to keeping an increased level of insulation with headphones, you also get an extra bit of stability, meaning you can become completely "zoned into” the work at hand with no distractions whatsoever.

What Headphones Are Best For Programmers 

Programming is not a group therapy based work-related case. It critically requires a high level of thinking, and therefore not all kinds of headphones can do the trick.

The best headphone would be the huge ones that fit all around the ears and are fundamentally comfortable. Also, it should have passive noise cancellation with exclusive leather padding for extra comfort. It can also be active noise canceling for those moments when you don’t need music to relax completely. Therefore, my ideal headphones are the Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Headphones vs. Earphones: My Choice 

Whereas earplugs can reduce the likely possibilities to itch around the ears, I would stick with a headphone because sounds of all sorts can be destructive to any thinking ability. Therefore, I prefer a useful noise cancellation tool that will allow me to work comfortably for several hours. 


In conclusion, programmers are distracted easily, since they have just a lot of highly thinking jobs to deal with. So, headphones eliminate some of these distractions keep them happy, sane, and stable all through the coding of the day. I do have an extra layer of non-vocal music to keep me relaxed why I work. For me, it is so much easier to work when I can control all the sounds around me. 

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