Anyone who has watched professional athletes warm up before a game has likely seen the large, noise-canceling headphones that have become all the rage in the sporting realm.

These headphones, in particular the brand "Beats by Dr. Dre," have become so popular and widespread among athletes that they caused somewhat of a stir at the London Olympics.

And no athlete is more associated with beats than Miami Heat star LeBron James, who has been wearing them for more than four years.

In a recent ESPN The Magazine feature on James' partnership with the "Beats" brand, J. Freedom Du Lac notes that James' stats have improved noticeably during the seasons that he's worn beats:

"In fact, James has been better, according to almost every statistical measure in the four-plus seasons since he began wearing Beats, than he was in his first five in the league. He has won all three of his NBA Most Valuable Player awards in that period, and he has played in the NBA Finals twice, winning once."

Du Lac spoke with Jimmy Iovine, a co-owner of "Beats by Dr. Dre," who says the noise-canceling headphones can help athletes focus and better prepare themselves for competition.

Even Dr. Greg Dale, the director of sports psychology for Duke athletics, told Du Lac that there might be some merit to the idea that athletes can improve their performance by plugging in to noise-canceling devices.

"The headphones could enhance your ability to drown out external noise and help you focus on what's relevant to you," Dale told Du Lac. "That's critical to consistently high levels of performance. But just because you use this equipment doesn't mean you're going to lock in like LeBron James. He's disciplined himself to get into game mode using music."

So while James was naturally talented before he started listening to "Beats," it appears that if they're used properly, these and other noise-canceling headphones can be advantageous. And in a day and age where some athletes do anything to get ahead, it's not hard to see why everyone wants a pair.

(H/T to BuzzFeed)