About 6 months ago I stopped using my headphones. The reason, or rather the motivation, for this undertaking was that I wanted to have more contact with my environment. After all, who doesn't know it, you put on your shoes and jacket, put your headphones in your ear and leave the house. What sounds so commonplace suddenly struck me as a bit odd at some point. Of course, I understand the argument that listening to your own music or a podcast is enjoyable. But what's so bad about devoting yourself to your own thoughts, listening to the birds in the park or simply enjoying the silence?
Another incentive to leave the headphones at home was that I think headphones further distance us from each other as humans. Everyone lives in their own little world and just wearing headphones signals a rejection of everything that is happening around you. It's not for nothing that you often see memes on the internet whose content refers to people putting even turned off headphones in their ears, just to have to attend less social happenings.
When I decided to let the headphones collect dust in my drawer half a year ago, I didn't realize what I was getting myself into. Funny enough, just the other day I was looking into the potential damage of headphones. For example, did you know that after just one hour of wearing headphones, the bacteria in your ear increased elevenfold? Another fact I only found while doing research for this article is that listening to music at low volumes can also cause irreparable nerve damage in the ear.
The 60/60 rule
Experts recommend the so-called 60/60 rule, according to which headphones should not be used for longer than 60 minutes and not at more than 60% of the volume. In addition, it is recommended not to use headphones that are inserted into the ear, but to use those that are placed on the ears. Source: www.nydailynews.com and www.sciencedaily.com
According to WHO estimates, around 2.5 billion people, or a quarter of the world's population, may develop hearing impairment by 2050. Not particularly surprisingly, hearing impairment is almost non-existent among primitive peoples, even in old age. This means that the problems of old-age hearing loss are not due to age but to the environment, and are thus mis-titled. Source: Time Online
But enough of the doom and gloom, after all, I didn't leave my headphones in the drawer because of the health factors. I did it to get a little more life into my life. My conclusion after half a year is that I will continue to keep it that way. The daily way to work and back, which is about 45 minutes, any errand as well as train rides and whatever else there is, will continue to be done with naked ears.
The everyday offers much less distraction and as a result more time to think about what you have experienced. It helps you understand yourself better, or rather, it gives you the chance to understand yourself better, because you are not permanently distracted by music, podcasts or audio books.
Since I'm making a lot of personal development changes in my life, it's difficult to pinpoint the benefits of giving up headphones in isolation. In my opinion, however, a general reduction in stress, especially at work, is a result of going without. After all, I already have 30-45 minutes in the morning to think about the day and set my goals for the day, when I would otherwise have been distracted by music.
Another clear advantage of not having a permanent sound system is that when you do listen to music, you appreciate it much more. Just as you appreciate a beer on a Friday night more when you've gone the whole week without beer, it's much more satisfying to listen to music when you get home after work.
I hope I was able to give you a good description of my point of view in this article. Perhaps I have also given you an incentive to try it out yourself for a while without headphones. Or if you have a completely different opinion, then let us know in the comments.