No Headphones

Get a pair of earbud headphones and attach it to your computer or iPod. Jam the buds deep in your ear. Then put on a song you really like, something high energy where both channels are the same. Turn the volume up so you can’t hear anything else but the music. Now listen for a minute.

Where in your head is the sound coming from? If you are like me it’s being “simulated” somewhere in the middle of your head behind your eyeballs. When you hear something out of one ear it is not because you hear it just at that ear, it is because your brain is telling you that it is probably being heard in that ear. (It can be tricked, like with firetruck sirens in a city corridor.) Your ears just contain vibrating organs—the sound is processed in your brain and then made to feel like its coming from your ears. But when you put on headphones, you can bypass this locater function so it’s almost like the sound is coming from the same place as your thoughts, which have no choice but to take a break. And that is the reason why I don’t wear headphones. It blocks the world around me, limiting my observations and thinking. I will never understand why many owners of mp3 players choose to kill their thoughts at every opportunity they can. Assuming, of course, there is something to kill.

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inowpronounceyou
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inowpronounceyou
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Personally, I like having a soundtrack to my life going when I’m commuting. My mind wanders all over the place when the iPod is going…and whether I’m listening to Tool or MoTown has a lot to do with what I think about.

On the other hand, sometimes that’s exactly WHY I’m blasting it at those volumes. So I don’t HAVE to think.

Jay Gatsby
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I’m not sure that people are trying to kill their thoughts, but rather kill the world around them. They want to lose themselves in the music and the feelings that music evokes. If I want to THINK, the last thing I’m going to do is listen to anything, including the outside world. That’s why libraries and other “quiet zones” appeal to me so much. I can sit in one with my laptop, or even a pen and paper, and think without anyone or anything invading my conscious mind (or competing with my thoughts for the attention of my conscious mind).

namaste
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This is the reason why I wear soft earplugs when trying to think. The the outside world is shut out and the thoughts originate from within. I find that it helps to silence to mind and actually hear the source of my own inner voice. But you’re right–music forced deep into the brain like that is just a distraction.

contrapunktus
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Is there something wrong with me if I have no trouble maintaining a rigorous hike through the paths of my thoughts even while listening with headphones? In fact I have the opposite problem: when I need to really focus in on and pay attention to some music for a period of time, I inevitably get distracted by some element of the music and end up thinking on something else, without processing what I’m listening for anymore. Maybe it’s partially because I have no hope of escaping the ceaseless music originating in my brain, with or without headphones.

elsa
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hmm. you should definitely Not purchase the recently released “headphones” that work by vibrating your bones.

the ability to think while listening to music through headphones varies from person to person. there’s no question a lot of people don’t function very well while listening to their i-pods, but i bet half of them don’t realize it.

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To Do: Our Town…

Party for “the artist who … many recognize as one of the leading forces in the movement that is dragging glass from the confines of craft and firmly plants it in the conceptual realms of contemporary art.” [DC Art……

Nabs
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When I want to focus on something I find boring I put on music, it keeps my mind on the task at hand. However, if I want to think or immerse myself in some project, concept, etc. which I’m interested in then I have to have pure silence.

Oh and there is no better way to listen to a lecture or a podcast than through headphones.

BAL
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I definitely wear the headphones to block the world out–or even to avoid thinking. I find them particularly useful on the metro. When I’m reading or generally just walking around the city, I am much less likely to wear headphones at all.

entropy
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Wait a second. Did Wonkette sign up to post comments only to spam you?!

Personally, I find anything that I have to jam down my ear canal to be unpleasant and painful (yes, I have used said earplugs). However, I do use regular ones sometimes while doing cardio…

turbocargado
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how your brain perceives the origin of sound is somewhat more complicated than that but i guess thats why god invented google. i use my ipod everyday on the metro, the days i forget it are the ones the hs kids get extra loud. though i do wish they didn’t exist when that cute girl has her headphones on and face in the express.