Please don’t use headphones when working

There are lots of good reasons why you’d want to don headphones and listen to music while coding. They block out noise and help you concentrate. There are also a number of compelling reasons why you should not.

Disclaimer: Below is based on my own experience and may not be scientifically correct.

Here are three reasons why you should leave those headphones off:

  • Increased sensibility to noise: If you wear your noise reducing head phones all the time, eventually the noice free environment will be the new normal for you. It will be much harder for you to concentrate without your headphones.
  • Missing out on networking: At you workplace your colleagues will be talking, sharing knowledge and joking around. If you are wearing headphones you will miss out and you will create an invisible barrier between you and your peers making it harder for them to involve you.
  • Hearing loss: This is the most important point. I know I sound like your father but using headphones will dramatically increase the risk of hearing loss and tinnitus and neither can be cured. When I started coding for what seems a very long time ago I would put on my headphones to block away noice and concentrate. Sadly, I now have tinnitus. It is not something that bothers me in everyday life but it gets worse when I am tired or stressed out and then it is very annoying. I know that when you are young you think that you are invincible but please be careful.

Putting on headphones may be a great help if you work in an open office and the noise gets overhand. But please, please please, listen to this grumpy old man, and do it as little as possible 🙃

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