Take Out Your Headphones And Enjoy Life


It has become common to say that millennials are very reliant on smartphones. More specifically, have we ever paid serious attention to our reliance on headphones? After a little reflection, headphones might just be the essential accessory of New Yorkers.

We plug them into our ears on our commute. We reach for them when some people don’t seem to understand that people go to the library for quiet. What would we do without our headphones? Would we be able to survive without them?

We use headphones to cancel out sounds that we deem as unfavorable. In essence, they provide us some control over our environment. Thus, some contemplation is necessary to figure out how this device that we plug into our smartphones and stick in our ear canals effects our psyche.

First, it may be interesting to note some history about this invention. The first set of headphones was used not for streaming Spotify, but actually was used by telephone operators as early as 1881. Soon, rudimentary headphones were used by the American military just before World War I. By 1958, the first stereo headphones were created.

Over the past fifty years or so, headphones have integrated themselves into everyday life. Everything hasn’t been peachy: for those of you that care about your health, you may care to know that headphones and hearing loss have been connected. Medically, it is advised that one limit headphone use to an hour a day. Volume is also important aspect to consider. Yes, listening to music loudly can hurt your hearing, believe it or not.

It is suggested that the volume be sixty-percent of the max volume possible. If you are using headphones, there’s a good chance that you are listening to music. It is estimated that Americans listen to four hours of music a day on average, so you should probably turn that damn racket down a little bit so as not to get Tinnitus.

This brings us to the intersection between music and headphones. Headphones privatize music. In addition, headphones also compromise the purpose of music. Given the mobility that headphones deliver, one may listen to music through headphones not just for the sake of listening to music, but for the sake of not hearing other noises of the external world. It’s unfortunate that the true purpose of music (enjoying music) has been undermined. I myself am guilty of this.

While some say that music improves productivity, listening to music can actually decrease awareness of whatever primary task is at hand. It may be wise not treat music as an entity in the background. Listening to music is an activity onto itself and ideally should not be treated as secondary.

At times, some might just have headphones in to avoid talking to other people. Thus, the notion of isolation, as a consequence of technology, arises. Headphones practically operate as an escape while still allowing one to “presently” navigate through world, for this device creates the illusion of one “being here” when one clearly isn’t.

Thus, there is an undeniable reliance on headphones and it seems it is unimaginable to envision day to day life without them.

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