Headphone use shows benefits and drawbacks


Elyse Perry, staff writer

Headphones have been around for a hundred years. They were originally created for the Navy to listen to electrical audio signals. Over the years, their popularity has grown exponentially and it seems that everyone has at least one pair of headphones. It’s the truth— headphones are everywhere. The advantages of headphones are numerous and diverse; they range from keeping music tastes separate to helping people focus. On the other hand, they can also be harmful to our mental state. This comes to the main question: do their pros outweigh their cons?

When walking down the halls, everywhere you look, you see headphones. When asked about it, most people say that they want to listen to music. When you look at studies, you can tell that music introduces quite a few advantages. For example, music is a great way to escape everyday stress. Our headphones also have the ability to help us focus as they drown out distracting noises. They can also allow us to eliminate fear or anxiety in new situations. One of their great traits is that they are proven to remove unwanted attention in public places. For instance, headphones have the power to divert the attention of panhandlers and solicitors. They also have the capability to let separate people listen to different music while still being near each other. This sounds amazing; however, many of these examples have equal disadvantages.

As everyone knows, every good thing has its pitfalls. This principle is not skipped for headphones. In all reality, it might actually be amplified. A huge problem headphones cause is social isolation. Social isolation is when, in an attempt to reduce stress or eliminate noise, someone has cut themselves off from those around them. It can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental problems. This is alarming when study results show that teenage girls, the most common users of headphones, are the most at risk for developing mental issues from social isolation. Headphones also have the tendency to cause distance in relationships and other antisocial behavior. 

Other than those negative effects, headphones also have many physical disadvantages. For example, they can lead to auditory nerve damage since many people turn the volume up too loud when wearing them. This, in turn, can lead to missing environmental cues, which can be especially dangerous when walking, driving, or riding a bicycle, as it can lead to physical harm. Due to this, quite a few American cities have actually decided to ban using headphones while walking. Headphones can also be distractions in the classroom, which could cause dropping grades and extra stress.

Headphones have many advantages and an equally large number of disadvantages. They are great for situations ranging from reducing stress to diverting nuisances. Although, at the same time, they can cause depression and antisocial behavior. However, with this being said, it is very doubtful that they will be going anywhere anytime soon. So, it seems our best option is simply to be mindful of our usage of headphones.