Discussing more on the use of headphones

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Earlier during class, we had a very interesting conversation that touched many points. One of the points that stood out to me the most was the use of headphones in public spaces. In today’s age, almost every person riding the train or walking has their headphones on. Even though headphones are a great creation, this has caused face-to-face conversations between people to be rare. I personally think that this might be one of the reasons to why our generation is losing the face-to-face communication skill. Having headphones on has become a way of implying someone does not want to be bothered. I even heard people mentioning that they would put their headphones on without playing their music just so no one would bother them. This brings me to an article that I found that also mentioned this “issue.” https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/05/how-headphones-changed-the-world/257830/

The way we use headphones in public has become a social norm. A point that the article makes is, “We assume that people wearing them are busy or oblivious, so now people wear them to appear busy or oblivious — even without music. Wearing soundless headphones is now a common solution to productivity blocks.” This is also a way of saying “I am physically present but maybe not mentally.”

I wanted to mention this issue because I love listening to music with my headphones on but I am not fully sure of the outcome it is creating in our society. Is the excessive use of headphones making our community more anti-social or is this justified by saying that it is a way of controlling the environment around you?

Pilar Quellet


  1. If a person wants to disconnect with the world around them, headphones would be one of the approaches in doing so. I think at the end of the day the reason that people lack communication skills mainly ties back to that fact that everyone is glued to their smartphones. Headphones wouldn’t be as large as an issue if smartphones (and iPods) weren’t a thing. Since both are portable, there wouldn’t even be a way of using headphones on the go if you didn’t have a wireless device like an iPad, iPhone, etc.

  2. I think you’re onto something here. Headphones may be making us more antisocial but I don’t think there’s any harm done in making yourself seem unapproachable on public transport for example. I think removing yourself mentally on your solo commute makes sense, it’s understandable that people would not want to engage contact with strangers on their way from point A to point B.
    However I think the problem lies when a person is too distracted by their own music to have a general grasp of what is going on around them. For example, I think it is problematic when someone’s music is too loud when they are in public. The idea is to remove themselves from this setting, but they end up doing the opposite and cause an inconvenience for those around them. Another issue I can foresee is when a person is so distracted by their music that they don’t pay attention to the world around them while doing possibly dangerous things like crossing the street. If you are so distracted by your music and you are not paying attention, you may not here sounds indicating danger such as car horns or people talking. Those are the kind of problems I think of when it comes to headphones rather than the ones previously mentioned.

  3. Being able to have headphones wherever you go to disconnect from the world I think is important. However, I do think people need to follow the laws, especially when it comes to wearing headphones while driving. I cant tell you the amount of times people are wearing headphones while driving and I honk or something and they don’t hear. It drives me crazy and is extremely dangerous.

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