Author Topic: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home  (Read 4180 times)

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sandisadie

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wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« on: April 21, 2014, 03:10:11 PM »
My daughter, son-in-law and grown grandson all live in my house together (4 yrs).  We get along fine most of the time.  My son-in-law (age 52) has a habit of wearing earbuds or bluetooth alot of the time.  I don't check first to see if he has them in before speaking to him.  He doesn't appear to be annoyed when this happens, but I am.  Sometimes he is talking on the phone to someone; sometimes listening to music or auto races.  I've gotten to the point that I conciously don't talk to him, even when I need to.  Now I usually just ask him if he has them in before I start a conversation.  I really dislike being in my own home and having to check this out before I can make a passing comment or relay information.  I raised two teens (grandchildren) in the 2000's when cell phones and earphones began to be all the thing, so I know how frustrating getting them to listen can be.  I had house rules for them.  Maybe I have to train myself to accept what I preceive as rudeness from my son-in-law.

TootsNYC

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2014, 03:24:18 PM »
Or maybe talk to him and your daughter about how you don't like this. That it makes you all isolated from one another. And that you understand people need "away" time, when you're living w/ one another, to keep from getting sick of each other.
   But that you would like to minimize this, so that it's not all the time, and so that there -are- times when you are all together simply by virtue of *not* being somewhere else (aurally). And that if he wants to listen to music, or the auto races, you'd be happy in many instances to have that be on the main speakers, for everyone to hear.

I also don't like the secrecy or the "don't you bother other people!" vibe, either of them. This is one of those things I'm going to have to insist upon in my own home. In my case, it's my 16yo (or my 19yo who doesn't use a Bluetooth but sits at her computer w/ her earbuds in).

YoginiSaysYes

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2014, 04:51:34 PM »
I just don't think it's rude at all.

He is in essence in his own home, is he not? Listening to music or sports on his headphones seems like a choice on his part to keep from disrupting you. Bluetooths are for convenience so you don't strain your arm or neck holding a phone.

He's not using these things to annoy you. They're part of his habits, and I don't see anything wrong here.

lady_disdain

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2014, 05:09:41 PM »
With 4 grown people, each with their own tastes in music and entertainment, headphones are a blessing. If he didn't wear them, would you really be happy listening to races or his music choices most of the time?

I agree that there are times when people should be concentrating on each other (meals, sitting down to talk, etc) but if his hobbies are audio based, it is the way he can enjoy them without pushing them on everyone else.

As for talking to him, I would approach it just as I would approach someone reading, playing a video game or watching TV. "Excuse me, SiL." Wait for him to look up, remove an earbud, etc. "I am going to be out on Tuesday. Would you mind doing XYZ?"


Lynn2000

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2014, 05:16:33 PM »
I could go either way. On the one hand, he's in his own home, and using earphones means he isn't subjecting others to his stuff, which is polite. He may find it difficult to get "alone time" otherwise, especially if the household tends to be noisy--TVs on, people chatting, etc..

On the other hand, people can certainly go too far in isolating themselves from others in their household, to the point where other people feel ignored. And, I always found it kind of rude when my dad would walk into the living room to take a phone call, despite having phones all over the house, so that I had to turn the TV down--so if he's insisting that other people be quiet because he's listening to his stuff, I think that's not good.

Maybe the household can establish a "conversation time" when no one is paying attention to electronics but are just hanging out and chatting--meal times are often used for this. You could also think about modifying your communication style--if you have something you need to ask/say to him, maybe you could write a note and leave it for him, for example. (I'm imagining, "Add milk to the shopping list" or "Don't forget to get the oil changed.")
~Lynn2000

Specky

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2014, 09:23:36 PM »
Teen aged sons, here, with lots of earbud use.  I am grateful that they use them.  I have trained myself to get their attention before talking to them.  They readily shed the buds when they realize I need or want to speak with them.  We also have plenty of conversational time.  I, personally, would not want to retrain them to not use earbuds, because I really enjoy the quiet times.

Library Dragon

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2014, 09:32:37 PM »
I just don't think it's rude at all.

He is in essence in his own home, is he not? Listening to music or sports on his headphones seems like a choice on his part to keep from disrupting you. Bluetooths are for convenience so you don't strain your arm or neck holding a phone.

He's not using these things to annoy you. They're part of his habits, and I don't see anything wrong here.

POD

I use headphones to listen to audio books while doing chores.  DH uses them when listening to a recorded lecture.  This is more polite than insisting everyone else listen to our book/lecture. 

How would you approach him if was sitting and reading a book?  Would you just start talking to him? 

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sweetonsno

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2014, 01:47:07 AM »
I waited awhile before posting in order to mull over my response. I tend do agree with the majority of posters… I don't think he's doing anything wrong. This is technically his home as well, right? I think it would be reasonable to ask him to take phone calls in another room, as listening to one half of a conversation can get old quite fast. However, if you can't hear any of it, I don't know that it's a problem.

I also thought along the same lines as Library Dragon. Maybe it would be helpful to think of the earbuds, etc. like another form of individually-enjoyed entertainment, like reading a book or solving puzzles. Would you be upset if you walked into the living room and found him engrossed in a novel or the daily sudoku/crossword? What if you only saw the back of his head and didn't realize that he was doing something until you'd already started speaking?

In my household, we usually do make sure that we have someone's attention (and that now is a good time to talk) before we start a conversation. I'd never just launch into a conversation with someone without first acknowledging them. Even if I just need to tell someone something (like that their timer is going off or that they have a visitor), I will open with their name if I'm approaching from out of their line of vision. We'd consider it very abrupt to just say, "The game starts in five minutes" or "Your timer just went off."

I don't think you need to specifically ask whether your son-in-law is listening to music or on the phone, just say his name with a little bit of an up inflection at the end: "Bob?" If he's on the phone, he'll either ask you or them to hold on for a sec, and if he's not, he'll let you know that his attention is available.

sandisadie

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2014, 11:45:47 AM »
Thanks for all the replies so far.  I don't necessarily think that my Son-in-law is doing anything wrong.  I mainly want to be able to accept the fact of earbuds, etc.  in my daily life.  And, as some suggest, earbuds can be nice when others are present and doing other things.  I hadn't thought of the idea that I could treat earbuds as I would if someone was reading or watching TV.  I hope others will chime in. 

NyaChan

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2014, 02:07:37 PM »
I'll offer another perspective (I don't know that I agree with it, but I understood when my mom explained it to me).  She finds that it is contradictory to be in the communal area yet put off solitary vibes to the people who are there.  Putting in the headphones to her shuts out everyone else, which is fine if you are in public with strangers who have no expectation of communication or if you are in a separate room for alone time.  However, if you come and are sitting in the living room where people in the house gather, she feels bad when you then don't "gather" with the others who are there. 

It's like eating dinner as a family or at a dinner party - there's a social expectation that people will participate in conversation and carry their weight.  If you joined the dinner table and then expected to just eat your food while not interacting, it would put others off for sure.

squeakers

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2014, 03:11:48 PM »
I wear earbuds at home because I sit next to our Cockatoo.  The earbuds are saving my hearing.  Most of the time I don't even have music or a show going... they are just in to blocks the dbs his screaming sends my way.

I try to keep my eyes on people when they come near me in case they do start talking to me.  My DH has the bad habit of walking past me (I look at him) and then he goes further into the kitchen (my back to him and his back to me) and starts talking then.  Which if I do happen to be listening to a show while clicking on farmville means I don't always hear all of what he has said.

We have 5 pcs in the house.  3 are in bedrooms and 1 in the living room and 1 in the kitchen.  I am so glad my youngest son is playing a game that requires a mic/headphones because that means I don't have to listen to Dr.Who* or his anime while trying to hear what I am listening to and any conversation pointed my way.

While I wish earbuds gave an actual cone of silence to me... most of them don't.  They give about the same amount of noise reduction as I get when reading a great new book that I have sunken into.


*I love Dr.Who and have watched all of the shows on Netflix.. 2 or 3 times.  Now he is addicted and has watched the same episodes over and over and :D
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Yvaine

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2014, 03:28:28 PM »
I'll offer another perspective (I don't know that I agree with it, but I understood when my mom explained it to me).  She finds that it is contradictory to be in the communal area yet put off solitary vibes to the people who are there.  Putting in the headphones to her shuts out everyone else, which is fine if you are in public with strangers who have no expectation of communication or if you are in a separate room for alone time.  However, if you come and are sitting in the living room where people in the house gather, she feels bad when you then don't "gather" with the others who are there. 

Maybe this is a matter of having lived in houses with fewer rooms, but I haven't found it at all uncommon for the living room to be used communally at some times and solitarily (is that a word?) at others. Sometimes everybody might be hanging out in the room together talking; other times Bob is reading a book in his comfy chair and Sue is playing a video game on the computer and so on. The living room also doubles as the most comfortable just-generally-doing-stuff room.

auntmeegs

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2014, 04:42:06 PM »
I just don't think it's rude at all.

He is in essence in his own home, is he not? Listening to music or sports on his headphones seems like a choice on his part to keep from disrupting you. Bluetooths are for convenience so you don't strain your arm or neck holding a phone.

He's not using these things to annoy you. They're part of his habits, and I don't see anything wrong here.

POD.  I don't think there's anything rude about it.

TootsNYC

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2014, 04:46:09 PM »
I'll offer another perspective (I don't know that I agree with it, but I understood when my mom explained it to me).  She finds that it is contradictory to be in the communal area yet put off solitary vibes to the people who are there.  Putting in the headphones to her shuts out everyone else, which is fine if you are in public with strangers who have no expectation of communication or if you are in a separate room for alone time.  However, if you come and are sitting in the living room where people in the house gather, she feels bad when you then don't "gather" with the others who are there. 

It's like eating dinner as a family or at a dinner party - there's a social expectation that people will participate in conversation and carry their weight.  If you joined the dinner table and then expected to just eat your food while not interacting, it would put others off for sure.

There's also thE fact that you cannot share what you're doing with other people. They can't hear your music, or watch your TV show with you. Both of those things would help them learn more about you, create shared experience (which bring people together).

It's a very isolating thing. And inside the family, that's really awkward. And it's extra awkward if you're doing it in the shared space.

lady_disdain

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2014, 05:27:02 PM »
I'll offer another perspective (I don't know that I agree with it, but I understood when my mom explained it to me).  She finds that it is contradictory to be in the communal area yet put off solitary vibes to the people who are there.  Putting in the headphones to her shuts out everyone else, which is fine if you are in public with strangers who have no expectation of communication or if you are in a separate room for alone time.  However, if you come and are sitting in the living room where people in the house gather, she feels bad when you then don't "gather" with the others who are there. 

It's like eating dinner as a family or at a dinner party - there's a social expectation that people will participate in conversation and carry their weight.  If you joined the dinner table and then expected to just eat your food while not interacting, it would put others off for sure.

There's also thE fact that you cannot share what you're doing with other people. They can't hear your music, or watch your TV show with you. Both of those things would help them learn more about you, create shared experience (which bring people together).

It's a very isolating thing. And inside the family, that's really awkward. And it's extra awkward if you're doing it in the shared space.

The same can be said for reading a book, writing, solving a puzzle, drawing, etc. There is a time for social interaction but there is also a time for more individual activities. Doing them in a shared space (as long as it is not disturbing) is a wy to make it less individual, not more.