I never knew how distracting a coffee grinder could be until I started working from home. Now, my noise-cancelling headphones are precious to me in a whole new way. The little piece of tech that once drowned out my crowded subway rides and was at the top of my travel essentials list has become an invaluable workday staple. In fact, as I’m writing this I’m wearing a pair, happily escaping from and eliminating the sounds of both the FaceTime meet ups and livestream workouts of my family members whose work days have already ended. As I quickly learned, going into another room and closing the door doesn’t cut it.

A couple days ago I realized I’d been wearing them the entire day: I slipped them on for a morning meditation session, started work with a motivating playlist and then, after my final Zoom calls (where I also used them), wore them for a livestream dance party (I recommend Forward Space). So, to drown it all out—and take in some couch concerts or FaceTime friends with crystal clear sound—consider 9 of the best noise-cancelling headphones, below.

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