Study finds music can provide pain relief. Feel better by listening with these wireless headphones

Alvina Wang/BestReviews

Ease pain naturally with your favorite music and quality headphones

Every music lover knows that music can lift their spirits, invoke happy memories and even soothe a broken heart. Now pain relief can be added to that list. A study last year found that listening to music can relieve physical pain — especially pain that can be classified as chronic. The effect was amplified by being able to choose the music.

If you’d like to give music therapy for pain relief a try, you’ll need quality wireless headphones. These will help you shut out the world and become immersed in therapeutic sound.


Benefits of wireless headphones

In the past, headphones required a wire to connect to any music-emitting device. Even if the sound quality was impressive, the cable often got in the way and limited the wearer’s movement. Thanks to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, this isn’t a concern with wireless models. The result is more flexibility to move about while wearing them, or kick back and relax cord-free.

Types of wireless headphones

There are three types of wireless headphones — in-ear, earbuds and over-the-ear. Often referred to as earphones, in-ear and earbud models are similar in that they are small and lightweight. However, the main difference is that in-ear models fit inside the ear canals while wireless earbuds fit just outside of the ear canals on the conchas. Over-the-ear models have cushioned ear cups that cover the ears during wear.


The term headphones is often used interchangeably for all three models. The one you choose is a matter of preference. There are quality options in all three categories. Each offers a comfortable fit, noise-canceling capabilities and rich, balanced sound.

Features to look for in wireless headphones

Regardless of the type of wireless headphones you buy, there are a few features to consider that will help you make the most of listening to music to ease your pain.


Comfort is key when wearing headphones, especially to reduce pain. After all, you don’t want to add to your discomfort with a device that rubs, pinches or applies pressure. Look for earbuds and earphones that are contoured and have a compact design. Ideally, earbuds will include several ear tips in different sizes for a customized fit. Over-the-ear headphones should have cushioned ear cups that are simple to adjust.

Audio quality

Sound is just as important as comfort when wearing headphones. Top brands can be expensive but are known for producing outstanding sound with balanced treble and bass. Noise-canceling technology is available in many models and helps filter outside sounds that can interfere with music. Easy-to-use controls are important for adjusting the sound and volume to fit your preferences.


Because there are no wires to get in the way, wireless headphones work with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. The best models are easy to connect and pair and don’t easily lose connection. By checking customer feedback, you can get an idea if connectivity drops are a concern with any wireless headphones you are considering.

Battery life

When relaxing to music, your wireless headphones should hold a charge for as long as you plan to use them. Well-made models provide hours of listening time once fully charged, with some brands getting as much as 50 hours of playtime.

Best wireless headphones for pain relief music therapy

Best over-the-ear wireless headphones

These wireless headphones come at a high price but offer high-end sound and unbeatable noise-canceling technology. With thick cushioning in the headband and ear cups, the fit is just right for relaxing to your favorite music.

Soundcore Life Q30 Headphones are affordable compared to other high-end brands but offer similar features including noise canceling technology, transparency mode and nice sound. The padded ear cups provide comfort during wear.


In between over-the-ear headphones and earbuds are models like the Air Bone design. It offers a minimalist structure that’s extremely lightweight and comfortable. Although they don’t cancel noise, they produce notable sound.

Just as you’d expect from Apple, AirPods won’t disappoint when it comes to their amazing sound and ability to cancel outside noise for a memorable listening experience. They are also comfortable to wear thanks to the padded ear cups. The price is high, but it’s acceptable for dedicated Apple fans.

Bose QuietComfort over-the-ear headphones are industry leaders for their impressive sound and comfortable fit. Proprietary Quiet Mode blocks outside sound so the wearer gets the most out of the pain-minimizing benefits of music.

Best in-ear and earbud wireless headphones

When it comes to earbuds, the AirPods Pro stand out in terms of comfort and sound quality. They combine the best of both worlds with reliable sound-canceling technology that produces an immersive listening experience and a transparency mode that makes it possible to hear outside sounds when necessary.

In addition to Spatial Audio technology that produces smooth, balanced sound, Beats Buds feature active noise-canceling capability and transparency mode like higher-priced competitors. However, they are available at a midrange price.

With a lightweight, compact build and ear tips in six sizes, the Everyday Earbuds provide a comfortable fit that works for most wearers. They are a midpriced pair that includes a charging case. They get exceptional runtime per charge.


Dependable Bluetooth connectivity, impeccable sound and useful functions are some of the impressive features of Bose Soundsport Headphones. The lightweight slip-on fit makes them comfortable and easy to wear.

These Sony earbud headphones get high marks for having outstanding noise-canceling capabilities and next-level sound. Although pricey, many owners find them to be a worthy investment for enjoying their favorite music.

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Jennifer Manfrin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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