23 votes

It’s okay to leave your headphones at home

21 comments

  1. [2]
    milkbones_4_bigelow
    Link
    There's a tendency in contemporary culture to impress the virtue of picking sides however, I'm not sure this is something that has to be thought of in those terms. I've had experiences where the...

    There's a tendency in contemporary culture to impress the virtue of picking sides however, I'm not sure this is something that has to be thought of in those terms. I've had experiences where the real world and whichever soundtrack is scoring it have converged to offer moments of great clarity and conversely moments of peace and reflection in complete silence. Is there perhaps room for both?

    22 votes
    1. ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      I listen to music a lot (see other comment in this section). I feel no need to judge someone if they don't, or if they listen to music I don't like, or if they listen to it in a way I disapprove...

      I listen to music a lot (see other comment in this section). I feel no need to judge someone if they don't, or if they listen to music I don't like, or if they listen to it in a way I disapprove of.

      As long as you aren't making others uncomfortable – by blaring a track on full volume in public transport – I don't care what else you do with sound or without it.

      11 votes
  2. [11]
    acdw
    Link
    I don't listen to music as I run or bike or exercise; I think it's safer to have my wits about me, and I do agree with the author that it's better mentally. I don't think this is anything fresh or...

    I don't listen to music as I run or bike or exercise; I think it's safer to have my wits about me, and I do agree with the author that it's better mentally. I don't think this is anything fresh or new, though -- I often find myself sitting in a silent room reading. Don't other people do that?

    I don't know where this comment went. I got distracted while writing it and it's sort of disjointed.

    9 votes
    1. [4]
      ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      Probably needed some music to drown out other thoughts. :P I listen to music almost all the time. The world is fucking noisy to my ear, and if I don't drown it out with music, it's going to grind...

      I don't know where this comment went. I got distracted while writing it and it's sort of disjointed.

      Probably needed some music to drown out other thoughts. :P

      I listen to music almost all the time. The world is fucking noisy to my ear, and if I don't drown it out with music, it's going to grind on me, and I'm gonna end up irritated, unfocused, and angry.

      I most certainly listen to music when jogging – unless I'm jogging very early or very late, when the noise is minimal-to-nonexistent.

      Music helps me focus. Not podcasts and not audiobooks: music alone. Podcasts take a special time when I'm ready to learn and need to use public transport for longer than 15 minutes.

      10 votes
      1. [2]
        mat
        Link Parent
        Same. I can't pay enough attention to audiobooks/podcasts to get anything from them if I'm doing something more complicated than driving; but music can often distract my conscious brain just...

        Music helps me focus. Not podcasts and not audiobooks: music alone.

        Same. I can't pay enough attention to audiobooks/podcasts to get anything from them if I'm doing something more complicated than driving; but music can often distract my conscious brain just enough to help nudge me into flow, which is the best way to do stuff.

        It rather annoys me that this means I can't listen to podcasts much because there is some really great content out there that I just can't fit into my day.

        2 votes
        1. ThatFanficGuy
          Link Parent
          I have something like 20 episodes of cool podcasts just waiting to be heard. It's taking up a whole gigabyte of data on my smartphone, but hell if it ain't worth it. It would 21 if Henry Rollins...

          I have something like 20 episodes of cool podcasts just waiting to be heard. It's taking up a whole gigabyte of data on my smartphone, but hell if it ain't worth it.

          It would 21 if Henry Rollins would release any more episodes... The last one was in late April last year. :(

      2. acdw
        Link Parent
        I get distracted by podcasts, as well -- I could never get into them because I'd only want to listen to them while driving, which I don't much. As far as noise/music goes: for me, if I'm listening...

        Music helps me focus. Not podcasts and not audiobooks: music alone.

        I get distracted by podcasts, as well -- I could never get into them because I'd only want to listen to them while driving, which I don't much.

        As far as noise/music goes: for me, if I'm listening to music in a public space/at work, I'm worried I'll miss something going on. I get anxiety(?) from not knowing if I'm hearing someone calling me.

        1 vote
    2. [6]
      benoliver999
      Link Parent
      I don't like to listen to music when out and about either. I like hearing what's going on, whether it's traffic, people, sirens, buskers - I've never felt the pull of having to have music on all...

      I don't like to listen to music when out and about either. I like hearing what's going on, whether it's traffic, people, sirens, buskers - I've never felt the pull of having to have music on all the time.

      I've been without headphones so long that when I'm in the street I feel like I'm blindfolded with them in.

      9 votes
      1. [5]
        acdw
        Link Parent
        YES! Especially when I'm walking or biking, it's a safety thing.

        YES! Especially when I'm walking or biking, it's a safety thing.

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          mat
          Link Parent
          Can I just give a shout out to bone conduction headphones for cycling with. You can hear the traffic around you perfectly well, but you can also (in my case) hear the hard and fast goa trance...

          Can I just give a shout out to bone conduction headphones for cycling with. You can hear the traffic around you perfectly well, but you can also (in my case) hear the hard and fast goa trance music that helps you keep your cadence high as well. Sound quality isn't amazing but it's certainly good enough.

          I'd never wear traditional head or ear phones while riding, but I love my bonerphones. Ahem.

          6 votes
          1. acdw
            Link Parent
            Oh that sounds really cool! I didn't know they had those. For all my big no headphone talk earlier, I'd probably use them sometimes if I could hear stuff around too.

            Oh that sounds really cool! I didn't know they had those. For all my big no headphone talk earlier, I'd probably use them sometimes if I could hear stuff around too.

            1 vote
        2. [2]
          joplin
          Link Parent
          The newest version of AirPods has "transparency mode" which mixes in sounds from the outside. I hear it's quite nice, though I haven't tried it myself.

          The newest version of AirPods has "transparency mode" which mixes in sounds from the outside. I hear it's quite nice, though I haven't tried it myself.

          2 votes
          1. benoliver999
            Link Parent
            I see the idea behind this and judging by the sales figures people seem to love them. However, I couldn't help but laugh when I heard about headphones that are made so you can hear outside when...

            I see the idea behind this and judging by the sales figures people seem to love them.

            However, I couldn't help but laugh when I heard about headphones that are made so you can hear outside when they are in. It's like some dystopian AR stuff. I'm sure the reality is not that bad...

            1 vote
  3. Akir
    Link
    What a weirdly judgemental title. Personally speaking, my headphone usage has changed rather dramatically over the years. When I was young, I had them on during most of my free time. I've...

    What a weirdly judgemental title.

    Personally speaking, my headphone usage has changed rather dramatically over the years. When I was young, I had them on during most of my free time. I've mentioned a few times that I've had a shitty childhood; taking the time to just sit and think about my life would just make me spiral deeper into depression. Music, books, and video games were not only helpful distractions, but also reminders that there was more to life than where I was at. They acted as a source for the only joie du vivre I could find. And part of that was wearing the largest "don't talk to me" headphones I could find.

    Now I rarely wear headphones. If I'm listening to music, it's going to be on speakers because I want the people around me to be able to interrupt. I spend plenty of time alone without distractions, and I know exactly what the author is talking about. But at the same time I think that they're going too far in the wrong direction. The next step isn't about turning off the music while you're walking, it's in the ability to sit and do nothing for a moment but to experience the moment and reflect on what's happened to you recently.

    6 votes
  4. UniquelyGeneric
    Link
    I suppose I find value in both listening to music and nothing at all. I used to listen to podcasts in the morning when I had a more passive commute, and it helped me turn my brain on for the day....

    I suppose I find value in both listening to music and nothing at all.

    I used to listen to podcasts in the morning when I had a more passive commute, and it helped me turn my brain on for the day. Afterwards, I would listen to music on my way home, as it let me turn my brain off a little more. While I tend to find I listen to music more frequently nowadays, I think that’s intentional.

    Every now and then, though, I find myself in a wistful mood wherein I purposely put no music on and choose to walk home (I typically bike). There’s something about the sound of the city, and being a part of it that is calming and reassuring. Not the sirens and squabbles, but the floating conversations and the hum of traffic.

    Sometimes I need to get away from the city, and sometimes I embrace it. Neither seem more necessary than the other, but that doesn’t stop me from getting annoyed when I forget my headphones :)

    4 votes
  5. Atvelonis
    Link
    I generally only feel specifically inclined to use headphones when I have to spend a lot of time walking in poor/cold weather; it drowns out the pain of the journey. When it's nicer out, as it has...

    I generally only feel specifically inclined to use headphones when I have to spend a lot of time walking in poor/cold weather; it drowns out the pain of the journey. When it's nicer out, as it has been lately, I simply don't feel compelled to do so. I think that there's a great deal of value in appreciating the natural ambiance of your surroundings, barring such annoyances as the weather. I listen to music during lift and while running, but I never, never listen to music while hiking, canoeing, etc. These are times to think!

    3 votes
  6. [2]
    cardigan
    Link
    I don't use headphones on public transportation, in coffee shops, or anything like that. It's important to use that time to think for yourself and not be bombarded by other minds, whether that's...

    I don't use headphones on public transportation, in coffee shops, or anything like that. It's important to use that time to think for yourself and not be bombarded by other minds, whether that's in the form of a podcast, love song, or video. That's also the reason I tend not to read on public transportation either. It's a good and productive time for thinking.

    1 vote
    1. calm_bomb
      Link Parent
      I guess it depends on how busy the transport system and the city are. I can't stand hearing all the noise made by 20-30 people in the tram talking on their phones - yes, this is the reality for me...

      I guess it depends on how busy the transport system and the city are. I can't stand hearing all the noise made by 20-30 people in the tram talking on their phones - yes, this is the reality for me in Romania. Also, kids listening to their shitty modern pop at high volume. And don't me started on the insane traffic in Bucharest, where you can hear a siren every 30 seconds. This is why I prefer to listen to my death /doom/progressive /grindcore/metal albums while reading a good sci-fi in public (transport or otherwise).

      1 vote
  7. crdpa
    Link
    When I'm going somewhere and it's 30 minutes or more walking, i love it because it gives me time to listen to an entire album. Having the time to listen to music is getting rare, specially because...

    When I'm going somewhere and it's 30 minutes or more walking, i love it because it gives me time to listen to an entire album.

    Having the time to listen to music is getting rare, specially because i moved away and don't have good speakers now. I plan on buying some soon, but headphones is the only way i can listen to high quality music right now.

    I'm going to my boardgames group meeting right now, it's 30 minutes away and it's the time i have to listen to music.

    1 vote
  8. elcuello
    Link
    One thing I've noticed about myself is that if I feel offended or triggered by an opinion it's usually because somethings big or small rings true. I can't speak for other people but it seems like...

    One thing I've noticed about myself is that if I feel offended or triggered by an opinion it's usually because somethings big or small rings true. I can't speak for other people but it seems like people here are really taken aback by this article and how the author criticizes the use of headphones. Makes me wonder. Either way I think it's a great thing to reflect upon your own use of headphones. I bike to work everyday and I listen to music and podcast maybe 25-40% of the time deliberately. I want to give my ears a rest now and then and I want to experience sounds around me too.

    1 vote
  9. tomf
    Link
    One morning I was taking the train into work. Everything was bothering me. I texted my then-girlfriend and said that I felt like Patrick Bateman, but I didn't know why... then I realized that I...

    One morning I was taking the train into work. Everything was bothering me. I texted my then-girlfriend and said that I felt like Patrick Bateman, but I didn't know why... then I realized that I had forgotten my headphones at home.

    I don't mind being in certain places without headphones, but public transportation, busy areas, coffee shops, restaurants (if I'm alone), etc all need that personal sanctuary.