An Argument For Headphone Use Moderation

image from Headphones have become a fact of life for many of us. They accompany us at home, at the gym, and even to the grocery store. Now that gyms have TVs mounted on the workout equipment, everyone is wired into their world. Apartment dwellers like myself have had to stow away our 505-watt 5.1 surround sound speaker system and settle for headphones. As much as I love my speakers and how they sounded, I’m also not a fan of having the neighbors come over and inform me that their wall is thumping. However, once they moved out and a new set of people moved in, I got a taste of my own medicine. They constantly played loud music.

Then I finally saw the light. No one wants to hear drum solos through their walls.

Since then, I’ve learned to love my Koss PortaPro Headphones. In reading a recent article on the New York Times website though, I was reminded why I had resorted to listening to my speaker system in the first place. Fear of hearing loss.

I am a writer and it’s not uncommon for me to blast music while I’m in the groove, putting an essay or blog post together. But I had read about the rise in hearing loss in people that liked to play their tunes too loud and I decided that I didn’t want that to happen. So I started doing much more open room listening during the workday and inevitably, that’s what got me into trouble in the first place.

Here I am again, listening through headphones, not too loud, but close. These days, there aren’t many activities that I don’t wear headphones throughout.

Virginia Heffernan thinks otherwise. She says headphones must be set aside.

At least some of the time. Now I’m not really in a position where I have a wife or kids that are socially isolating themselves through headphones, but you might.

Heffernan makes an interesting case for headphone moderation:

“In the name of living a sensory life, it’s worth letting sounds exist in their audio habitat more often, even if that means contending with interruptions and background sound. Make it a New Year’s resolution, then, to use headphones less. Allow kids and spouses periodically to play music, audiobooks, videos, movie, television and radio audibly. Listen to what they’re listening to, and make them listen to your stuff. Escapism is great, and submission and denial, too, have their places. But sound thrives amid other sounds. And protecting our kids’ hearing is not just as important as protecting their brains; it is protecting their brains.” (Read on.)

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