Listening to other people’s headphones

In which I hear tsh tsh tsh tsh tsh.

Hand reaching out from some headphones

We no longer seem to be able to surround ourselves in silence. As I sit here on the morning train all I can hear is the ambient “tsh tsh” noise you would associate with a ride on a locomotive. Except the “tsh” noise does not come from the rhythmic chatter of the tracks as the wheels pass over them, but from the sound of the numerous headphones leaking noise into the carriage.

I’ll do a quick survey, of the three people’s music I can hear I’ll see what brand of headphones they are using. So we have Apple, Apple and oh yeah, Apple. It seems the bog standard set of ear speakers you get with your iDevice have an aural seal factor of zero. I’m surprised that anybody who uses them finds that any sounds reach their inner ear as all they seem to do is leak treble and bass into the surrounding soundscape.

As a community we need to decide if this is something we tolerate?

I know somebody is watching an episode of Game of Thrones (which for a train ride is ambitious as do you really want others seeing what can be at times softcore porn), and another is listening to some form of hippity hoppity.

They are all around but must be one of the worst pieces of technological crap around. In fact as I write this another person has pulled out the ubiquitous set of ear speakers to add to the ambient tshing.

It will be the same scenario when I get in to work.

I am employed by one of those liberal employers that doesn’t mind if you sit there with headphones in and your music on. The workplace can be a difficult place to sit and concentrate so being able to shut out the noise can often help when you need to get your brain around a particularly tricky spreadsheet.

I managed to appropriate two decent pairs of headphones off Mrs G that do a great job of making sure all the bass and treble, and everything in between, go straight from their little speakers to my ear drum with very little leakage. Not so the case with some of my colleagues.

There is a wide spectrum of musical tastes within my team but all of them sound the same with crap headphones, tsh tsh tsh tsh tsh with varying degrees of tempo. Due to the fact that the ear buds they use do a poor job of getting the sound down their ear canal they have to turn the music up to compensate. Which means even more tshing leaking out. It is a sad day when I forget either my phone or headphones and have to listen to tsh.

What is quite ironic is the fact that although we can hear their music, they cannot hear us when we ask them a question. It does mean that rubber stress toys have took on an additional use, they are now used to get someone’s attention by aiming them squarely at their head.

As I have a set of headphones that fits firmly in the ear with the rubber seal I tend to get more than my fair share of squidgy houses and cricket balls bouncing off my bonce.

As a society we seem to have come to accept this daily annoyance. When driving to work I was not really exposed to this aural menace, but now I commute I have to endure with regularity the tsh plague. Fellow commuters seem to have become resigned to putting up with this social discourtesy. Perhaps scare stories in the media of those who were disobliged to turn their music down and reacted disproportionally have put us off from dealing with this audio thugs? Who wants to be another subject of a column by Richard Littlejohn on our ‘broken’ society?

Wouldn’t it be perfect if companies like Apple could provide a decent pair of headphones when you purchase an iDevice? You spend enough on the slab of technology the least they could do is make sure that you, and those around, enjoy it to it’s upmost. Almost universally the set of headphones you get in the box are terrible, but then the business model is built around you buying all the expensive additional extras. How much could a small ring of rubber cost to ensure a tight audio seal cost though?

The price of my sanity.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Community Service.”

Your entire community — however you define that; your hometown, your neighborhood, your family, your colleagues — is guaranteed to read your blog tomorrow. Write the post you’d like them all to see.

Author: geekergosum

Ah, so you worked out the riddle. You just needed to use dwarfish and the doors to Geek Ergo Sum opened. Or perhaps you just used Google. Either way you are here, on my little corner of the Internet.

2 thoughts on “Listening to other people’s headphones”

  1. I reckon you haven’t travelled in Mumbai’s local train system yet. The tsh tsh will sound like music to your ears when you hear about the crap our aural system puts up with everyday…

    Liked by 1 person

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