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Headphone Therapy

Dianna is a writer with a background in education and business. She writes to inspire and encourage others.

Listening to positive music allows for self-reflection, improving our mood.

Listening to positive music allows for self-reflection, improving our mood.

How much do you value solitude? I put a high price on solitude. It rejuvenates my mind and soul. Coming from a large household, private space was scarce in the home and life-related sounds from family activities threatened my peace. When I needed to think, I went outside. Nature provided the calm I needed to sort through my thoughts, especially after enduring personal conflicts at school.

Some people mistake loneliness for solitude which are two different states of mind. Loneliness is negative, representing a lack of connection with others. Solitude is a positive mindset that allows one time for self, a time for inner reflection of their soul and a method of listening to our deeper being. In short, It helps us form who we are. Is there any question to as to why Jesus did this often; to pray, sing (musical sound) or even dance?

As I mingle with the masses today, I observe people walking around with headphones or ear buds, cocooned within their invisible fences. Most look unperturbed, tranquil—as if they have found the secret to privatizing public space. At times, I can hear their upbeat music or feel sound pulsating the place around me. I am inspired. If headphones had existed when I was a child, I would have worn them quite often!

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

— Luke 5:16

A Matter of Choice

"I Am Here. I Am Separate."

Nathaniel Baldwin, the inventor of headphones for the U.S. Navy, believed headphones were an avenue to escape reality yet remain intact within the present time frame. His quote "I am here. I am separate" summed up his feelings well.

When I need space I listen to Chopin. His music soothes my spirit as I listen, shedding the day's irritants like peeling the bitter rind off an orange to eat the sweetness beneath. I go about my housework waltzing through the rooms while my husband peers at me from behind his wire-rimmed glasses. Although he finds it amusing, he realizes I need this therapy to regain harmony, to survive. You may know this to be true for yourself as well.

Headphones are a form of environmental control and music played through the wires temporarily shields us from the harshness of the here and now. As we meld with the melody, withdrawing from all conversations and noise, we are free from the onslaught of the forces of society that long to shape us into mindless androids.

Next time you find yourself among the general public, take a look around. How many earbuds do you see? Those who wear them are in their private place, separate from others yet very much among us. Hopefully, they are inspired and positively motivated by what they hear through those tubes.

The Heart of It All

Music lovers understand the importance of listening to tunes that inspire and motivate.

Music lovers understand the importance of listening to tunes that inspire and motivate.

Choice is the key factor. By choosing the music, you reclaim some of the world - it's no longer dominated by messages pointed at you.

— Dr. Micheal Bull, reflecting upon the use of electronic devices.

Gamer Focus!

Gamer concentration is intense. Keep the volume down and take breaks often.

Gamer concentration is intense. Keep the volume down and take breaks often.

Usage and Safety

According to Sharon Sandridge, PhD, Director of Clinical Services in Audiology at Cleveland Clinic, young people (teens are the highest users) as a general rule of thumb, should tune in with "eighty percent volume for a maximum of 90 minutes . . . . It really is an inverse relationship between how long and how loud. If you are listening for an amount of time longer than 90 minutes, volume should be reduced so that the longer you listen, the lower the volume.”

Some experts recommend listening at 60% volume for an hour and then taking a break for a long while. They also believe over-the-ear headphones give better sound quality leading to users listening with lower volume.

As a rule, use these devices where physical safety is not a concern, especially when walking or in traffic. Serious vehicle injuries, even death, have resulted from people listening to their device while wearing headphones. This is due to sensory deprivation where a person's ability to hear sound, such as a car horn, is blocked by the sound coming from their device. Keep an "ear" and eye open for obstacles and outside noise indicating a concern. Most important: Keep your volume down!

Hearing loss can result from using headphones at a high volume over time. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states Americans (15%) between the ages of twenty and sixty-nine demonstrate hearing loss possibly caused by exposure to loud noise at or above 85 decibels during leisure or work activities.

Lastly, referring to gaming activities where headphones are a must, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition that can result in pulmonary embolism. In simpler terms, sitting for long periods of time causes blood clot formation in the legs. If these clots break loose, they travel through the bloodstream and may eventually block an artery.

Dr Michael Go, Assistant Professor, Vascular Surgery at Ohio State University, expects to see the number of DVT cases increase with the growing popularity of gaming activities. On average, the risk will be higher in gamers spending over 48 hours per week playing video games.


The term escapism is often viewed as a negative fallback of the mind, an avoidance of reality. However, it is a also a method providing reprieve for those needing to recharge. When you watch a movie, play games, listen to music (wear those headphones to boost your experience) or daydream you are participating in escapism. It allows you to take a moment for yourself, to clear your tangled thoughts and unwind.

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Escapism is dangerous for those who use it as a way to avoid facing life's situations. If it causes you to lose connections with others, you may need to delve into why you desire to withdraw into your shield of silence.

Remember to set goals for participating in real-life experiences with others. Keep active socially. Your "me" time is necessary but getting out into the real world is essential. It keeps you human!

Combating Emotional Drama

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Dianna Mendez


Devika Primic on December 12, 2019:

Headphones are not for me and I do not like anything on my ears. It works for some people and not for everyone. This is interesting and worthy of those who like their space. I prefer to walk or be on my own to have my space.

Luis G Asuncion from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines on November 22, 2019:

If I have something to do much important, I love to use my headphones. Thanks for sharing this article.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 29, 2019:

RTalloni, I know my mind needs a good rest and soothing music helps me relax. Give it a try. May your week be a good one.

RTalloni on April 27, 2019:

A neat look at using headphone wisely. I like my space. Have thought about using them and now I just may give them a try. Sometimes one does just want to meld with the music and give the mind a rest.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 24, 2019:

I agree, Nithya, headphone can be distracting when walking out in public. I suggest people find a quiet place to sit while using them.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on April 21, 2019:

Dianna great article about the pros and cons of using headphones. Headphones used responsibly can be a wonderful experience. It is scary to see people using headphones and walking without paying attention to their surroundings. Thank you for sharing this interesting and informative article.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 16, 2019:

Linda, you have the right idea on wearing earbuds for pleasure, yet keeping safe. Enjoy your walks.

Linda Chechar from Arizona on April 15, 2019:

I wear earbuds and listen to classical or jazz while walking around the neighborhood. Along the road I keep the volume low so I can hear vehicles passing by.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 15, 2019:

Rajan, it does take some practice getting them on and being comfortable wearing them on your head. Glad you stopped by today. Enjoy your week.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 15, 2019:

I do not headphones, frankly, I cannot adjust to something clamping on my ears but I guess it does provide a personal space where one can relieve stress.

Thanks for the safety tips.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 14, 2019:

John, sounds like you have the right mindset on using headphone (pun intended!). Thanks for your kind comment and support. Have a blessed week.

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on April 13, 2019:

A very interesting read Dianna. I wear earbuds mainly when I am on the computer or iPad, usually to listen to some music as I am writing or while watching football etc that my wife isn't interested in. Besides the computer's sound is lousy without them. Great advice here and I love your last paragraph:

"Remember to set goals for participating in real-life experiences with others. Keep active socially. Your "me" time is necessary but getting out into the real world is essential. It keeps you human!

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 12, 2019:

Louise, sounds like you have a great set of headphones. I enjoy mine at night for listening to music and different media broadcasts. Enjoy your weekend.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 12, 2019:

Chitrangada, young people seem to be in their own world when using these devices. Guess it's all right as long as they are connected to the real world the majority of time.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 12, 2019:

Rochelle, I would agree with your mom. Headphones are wonderful but in moderation. The song is a sweet one.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on April 12, 2019:

I do have a pair of the large headphones which I use for when I'm on my PC. I use them mainly for listening to music. I only wear them in the evenings for a couple of hours at a time. I live on my own so don't mind the solitude. But I also chat to people online, so the headphones are handy for that as they have a little microphone attached, which is why I bought these. =)

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on April 12, 2019:

Wonderful article about using headphones as a therapy. I can see many people using it, including my children. They love it, and use it almost regularly.

You made some important points about being lonely or being in solitude.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Have a wonderful day!

Rochelle Ann De Zoysa from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka on April 11, 2019:

Interesting point of views Lady Dianna :) I don't know whether my mom would agree to this. she often gets annoyed with my brother when he won't respond when she call him as he's always wearing earphones. enjoyed the song as well :)

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 11, 2019:

Shauna, I agree - had to post those important cautions for those who would overuse these helpful devices. Enjoy your solitude!

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 11, 2019:

Genna, there are appropriate times for headphones and listening to classical music is always my preference too for those moments. The outdoors needs our full attention, walk and enjoy!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on April 10, 2019:

Interesting article, Dianna. I don't use headphones but you've given me an entirely new (and sensible) perspective on those who do. Creating a zen zone with headphones when in a crowd is a wonderful use of technology. However, I wonder about prolonged use and the effect on the body.

I agree with you regarding loneliness versus solitude. I enjoy my times of solitude, but in no way am I lonely.

Wonderful article, Dianna!

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on April 10, 2019:

What a great article -- and so true. I find that at work, I put them on to listen to classical music such as Bach; it closes off the din, so to speak, and helps me to focus. But for other activities, if I can, I go outdoors and tune in to nature; there is no greater headphone in the world.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 09, 2019:

Hey, older persons or senior citizens have little use of the headphone.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 09, 2019:

Peggy, the younger population are the highest users. They can be very useful as tools for rejuvenation but harmful if used to ignore life, especially those who are wanting to connect with you.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 09, 2019:

Dora and Ruby, solitude is vital to our keeping sane, it helps us contemplate at our own rate. Whether is listening to soothing music through headphones or sitting out back on the porch sipping tea. Find your sweet spot, gain you momentum.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 09, 2019:

Bill, I walk without headphones because I enjoy hearing the birds sing and hearing "life" around me. I limit my buds to workouts and occasional inspiration around the home. Great advice!

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 09, 2019:

Eric, they are excellent tools for keeping privacy, both for you and others. I agree that limiting their use is important. You are going to miss out on life happenings if you keep them on all the time.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 09, 2019:

Like Bill Holland, I am in the minority as to owning and using headphones. Last year we purchased some earbuds that we could plug into some of the machines in the gym so that we could watch and hear the news as we were using the treadmills and stationary bikes. When walking I like to listen to the sounds of birds, croaking toads, rustling leaves, etc., so have never been tempted to buy headphones. They sure are popular!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 09, 2019:

Thanks for recommending a balance. We need privacy but we also need to maintain connection. I learned to consider the therapy aspect.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on April 09, 2019:

I have never had headphones, but I do need time away from people to gather my thought's, etc. I wonder if I would like them? maybe? I enjoyed reading your article. Thank you.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 09, 2019:

Here's an oddity: I've never owned a pair of headphones. Does that make me strange? It sure makes me a member of the minority, judging from what I see in public. Interesting article, Dee....I'm not sure how I feel about them....I would like to see more people interacting and absorbing life with all senses, I guess.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 09, 2019:

It is my intention to follow comments. I can understand a thing or two more. Thank you all. Best wishes.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on April 09, 2019:

Dianna this is an excellent write up. I have a really good set to go with my lap top. I used to wear buds when walking/hiking. I loved it. But then I realized that the sounds I was missing were more important.

My use is normally so that I do not bug others with my music.

That is why my boy uses them also. Volume is limited to your ability to hear a slightly raised voice

Gaming or online is limited to 20 minutes at a time. On weekends that could add up to about an hour and a half but then earphones are limited and only used partially

These a beautiful and wonderful additions to our lives. But like coffee to much is too bad.

Now I was rocking out the other day before bed. Oops. Ear ringing for half an hour ;-)

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 08, 2019:

Hello Dianna, your response to Harish is something ought not to be missed. How true indeed. Many thanks, and enjoy the day.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 08, 2019:

Harish, the younger crowd does take advantage of these devices best. At school, they love that they are allowed to listen to their music quietly as they study. For them, it helps them think. For me, I would find it hard to concentrate. Good point.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 08, 2019:

Hello, it is useful indeed. Taking time apart for a break helps. Not only does it recharge a person as the recharge of a phone or laptop as to make a call or connect online. It rejuvenates the human person. Thanks again, and have a nice day today and always.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 08, 2019:

Jackie, if it weren't for my ear buds my workout would lack some motivation. I use a playlist that has both warmup music and upbeat tunes. Happy you now have a way to enjoy your music.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 08, 2019:

Flourish, I think maybe the ear buds have a snug fit in the ear and channel sound better? I am not sure why but I use both styles, ear buds for my workouts. I found the quote to fit my style!

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 08, 2019:

Miebakagh, most of us need solitude to recharge. Glad you found it useful.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 08, 2019:

Pamela, you have my thoughts on solitude using headphones. I put them on and can just soak in the calm. Try soothing sounds such as ocean waves. Works great!

Harish Mamgain from New Delhi , India on April 08, 2019:

Hi Dianna , what a beautiful write up on headphones. The younger lot are very crazy about it. I like hearing old melodious songs , and I prefer using headphones. You described everything beautifully , both pros and cons. I also liked what you wrote about escapism. People need a break to rejuvenate them.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on April 08, 2019:

I have been thinking of this lately too. I see others while exercising or walking and it would be a great thing to do to add energy I think and happiness. I love music and never have time for it, or so I thought. But I do exercise at the Y and walk which is two perfect excuses to drag out the music!

Thanks for pushing this decision through for me Dianna.

Great to see you back!

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 08, 2019:

It's interesting that the old school over-the-ear headphones are thought to give better sound quality. I like the quote about being here but separate.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 08, 2019:

Hello Dianna, my pleasure in reading your article "Headphone Therapy." So much to learn from it like solitude. Thanks for sharing anyway.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 08, 2019:

You make several good points in this article. I like solitude, and I don't get much of it these days. I use to have a lot of alone time, but that is not the case now.

I enjoyed this article immensely as this is a current stuggle for me. I like the ear buds for listening to music, and I need to do that more often. Thank you for making me think about my situation.

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