Author Topic: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home  (Read 4363 times)

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sandisadie

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #30 on: April 28, 2014, 05:07:08 PM »
Hi!  OP here.  I'm fascinated with the replies!  Point of clarity in my situation - I own the home but my dtr & son-in-law pay the utilities and much more.  We share expenses.  We all have our private areas as well as two public areas.  My 30 yr old grandson also has his own private retreat and pays his way.  He has aspergers, doesn't drive but hold a full time job.  I'm in my 70s, excellent health and do all kinds of stuff.  I have not been able to deal well with people who walk around with earbuds in or a phone up to their head no matter where they are or what is going on.  Could just be my generation I suppose.  I do appreciate all the ideas put forth here and I'm beginning to think differently about the subject.  This is good!

rigs32

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2014, 11:09:42 AM »
Let's say you put a hypothetical ban on earbuds in the shared area of your home.  You get the knowledge that people can already hear you when you speak.  But at what cost?  Will SIL carry his phone around playing the music or races he currently listens to?  Are you OK with that?  With that sound interrupt others in the common areas who may be listening to other music, watching TV, reading, etc?  Will SIL just stay in his room like a sullen teenager as his personally preferred method of entertainment is no longer allowed?

Personally, I see his use of earbuds as polite - he's not subjected everyone else to partake in the same entertainment as he is.  If everyone must, since they are not allowed, whose preference controls?

Before technology, people chatted, played cards, read, etc.  There have been prior EHell threads about the frustration of people constantly talk while they were trying to read as your attention is focused on the book.

Then came radio and TV.  Would you expect someone to mute or turn off either device if you wanted to have a discussion about groceries at that very moment?  Wouldn't you still have to call the name of the person you are speaking to in order to get their attention?

I think the earbuds are similar.  You may not prefer them, but is it that hard to call his name or touch his arm (if close enough to do so) before launching into your thought/statement?

Lynn2000

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #32 on: May 05, 2014, 10:32:44 AM »
rigs32, basically I agree with you. But I just wanted to add this:

Then came radio and TV.  Would you expect someone to mute or turn off either device if you wanted to have a discussion about groceries at that very moment?  Wouldn't you still have to call the name of the person you are speaking to in order to get their attention?

Considering how loud my parents listen to their TV, I do expect/want/need them to mute it before we have any kind of conversation, just so we can hear each other (though I can wait until a commercial break). Even with a book or something, I think you need to have both parties actively paying attention before you can have a "discussion," like, "Here's what you should pick up at the grocery store." I think it's poor communication to have one person blathering on while the other tries to ignore them in favor of another activity, and also for someone to try talking about something important when the other person clearly isn't paying attention.

My friend Amy's husband likes to say, "Any answer I gave while playing a video game doesn't count!" :)
~Lynn2000

TootsNYC

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #33 on: May 05, 2014, 10:53:09 AM »
Let's say you put a hypothetical ban on earbuds in the shared area of your home.  You get the knowledge that people can already hear you when you speak.  But at what cost?  Will SIL carry his phone around playing the music or races he currently listens to?  Are you OK with that?  With that sound interrupt others in the common areas who may be listening to other music, watching TV, reading, etc?  Will SIL just stay in his room like a sullen teenager as his personally preferred method of entertainment is no longer allowed?


Actually, I know that in my home, I'd rather hear what my family members are hearing. It's part of the shared experience, actually, for me to "have to put up with" hearing my teenager's loud music.

It's how we learn about one another; it gives us common experiences.

My situation is a little different in that these are my minor children, not a grown son-in-law, but I find it really, really isolating. And I just hate the "don't you dare disturb me with your noises" mindset (my DD has that a little bit, she complains if her brother makes noise and interrupts her, and I don't like it; now that she's away at college, I'm chipping away at that).

sandisadie

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #34 on: May 05, 2014, 12:48:14 PM »
Last night I was thinking over some of the responses for this question and I realized that this is really what I want to know on the subject.  When someone walks through a room or is in another room and you see them and want to talk to them do you always have to ask if they are engaged in listening to something that is stuck in their ear?  If that person is otherwise engaged in an activity such as reading, looking at TV or have their phone up to their ear or in front of their face then you can assume that their attention is on that activity.  Then you would indicate in some manner that you would like to say something to them and they will respond in some fashion.  To my thinking that is etiquette.  However, when you can't see whether something is stuck in their ear then you can't know that they are listening to sound coming out of that something.  So what is the etiquette for that situation?

TootsNYC

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #35 on: May 05, 2014, 12:49:13 PM »
I think you just speak to them. Hopefully they can hear you over the earpiece, and they can indicate whether they're interruptible or not.

lmyrs

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #36 on: May 06, 2014, 02:32:39 PM »
If you see someone, you can just start a conversation. If they don't respond, then you know that they're not paying attention.

Honestly, I'm a little bewildered at the idea that it is such an inconvenience to get someone's attention when they have ear buds. I've been thinking about it and I think it may be because for me, if I'm listening to a podcast with my earbuds in, I am no more or less accessible than I would be if I were watching TV, reading a book or working on the computer. I don't play my earbuds so loud that I can't hear someone address me in a normal tone of voice. I may not hear every word so I will have to take out the earbud and ask the speaker to repeat herself. But, that is exactly what would happen if I were doing any of those other activities. So, I'm not sure why the big problem with earbuds specifically.


daen

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #37 on: May 06, 2014, 03:55:11 PM »
If you see someone, you can just start a conversation. If they don't respond, then you know that they're not paying attention.

Honestly, I'm a little bewildered at the idea that it is such an inconvenience to get someone's attention when they have ear buds. I've been thinking about it and I think it may be because for me, if I'm listening to a podcast with my earbuds in, I am no more or less accessible than I would be if I were watching TV, reading a book or working on the computer. I don't play my earbuds so loud that I can't hear someone address me in a normal tone of voice. I may not hear every word so I will have to take out the earbud and ask the speaker to repeat herself. But, that is exactly what would happen if I were doing any of those other activities. So, I'm not sure why the big problem with earbuds specifically.

I've been trying to figure out why I see such a difference between earbuds/bluetooth and... well, anything else. And I've come to the conclusion that earbuds are mostly a non-issue for me. If you have them in, I assume you're listening to whatever, are somewhat distracted, and I will alter my approach accordingly. (All yous general)

On the other hand, if you're wearing a bluetooth headset, it's very possible that you are not listening to anything on it; you just have it in place from the phone call that ended a while ago or the call you're expecting. On the other hand, you could be listening to a long-winded friend on the other end, or something else that doesn't produce obvious cues that you're actively engaged in something. That changes my approach. If I know you're not doing anything beyond what I see (housecleaning), I will be much more likely to say something to you. If I know you're involved in something that can be paused (book, music, netflix), I will feel more free to interrupt you than if you're doing something that can't (broadcast TV, phone call).

Bluetooth could be any one of those possibilities at any given time, and my unwillingness to possibly interrupt a phone call by making a random comment (Whose turn is it to wash the cat bowls?) means that any time you're wearing your headset, I will be loath to say anything unless it's vitally important. And that makes me feel that I have to tiptoe around you, whether that is actually the case or not.

TootsNYC

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #38 on: May 06, 2014, 06:01:33 PM »

Then came radio and TV.  Would you expect someone to mute or turn off either device if you wanted to have a discussion about groceries at that very moment?  Wouldn't you still have to call the name of the person you are speaking to in order to get their attention?


One thing w/ radio and TV: Because I can hear what's going on, I know when I can interrupt without messing up their listening experience. If it's a song that's common on the radio, I'll just interrupt; if it's a newscast, I'll wait for a commercial. For TV, I'll wait for the commercial, or I'll see how involved they are.

Arila

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #39 on: May 13, 2014, 06:15:33 PM »
Every time this thread gets bumped up, it reminds me of Toot's observation that it's the little comments and conversations when you're physically together but maybe not actively conversing - those times when you randomly and sporatically make a comment here and there - that makes up the fabric of relationships and families. None of the comments are individually worthy of the additional effort it takes to get someone's attention -- nor even repeating, but in aggregate, make up a closeness between two people.

There are lots of times now that people in our house or family might be pursuing separate leisure activities while in the same space. It's an illusion of "togetherness" but you're not actually sharing an experience.

Just today, Mother and I were sitting together in the surgery waiting room waiting for the doctor to come out to talk to us. We each had our waiting "entertainment". Mine was working remotely, hers was a book on tape and stitching. I found the ear buds to be hugely isolating during a very stressful morning. Yes, she was RIGHT there, but we were having very different experiences of the situation. I was hearing things that were going on, or occasionally thinking of things like, "Oh, what about xyz thing that we should ask the doctor when he comes out?" but it felt like I may as well have been sitting there alone - and actually worse, that there was a wall up, like I wanted/expected to easily converse because she was there but also at the same time not.

TootsNYC

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #40 on: May 13, 2014, 06:18:38 PM »
Would it have felt different if she'd been reading her book, and absorbed in it?

(for me I think it would have; I feel that I can interrupt someone reading for a short comment)

Arila

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #41 on: May 13, 2014, 06:23:25 PM »
Would it have felt different if she'd been reading her book, and absorbed in it?

(for me I think it would have; I feel that I can interrupt someone reading for a short comment)

Yes, totally, because if her ears had been free, then just from the first syllable, she would have heard me, rather than a whole phrase/sentence getting out before I had her attention, she frantically looks for the pause button, and pulls out the earbuds (she is very responsive, I will give her that). It just feels like too much activity and disruption for a small comment.

daen

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #42 on: May 13, 2014, 11:49:40 PM »
Would it have felt different if she'd been reading her book, and absorbed in it?

(for me I think it would have; I feel that I can interrupt someone reading for a short comment)

Yes, totally, because if her ears had been free, then just from the first syllable, she would have heard me, rather than a whole phrase/sentence getting out before I had her attention, she frantically looks for the pause button, and pulls out the earbuds (she is very responsive, I will give her that). It just feels like too much activity and disruption for a small comment.

That reminds me of something a friend of mine told me. She was going through a long stretch of laryngitis, so she was getting accustomed to saying little. Then her doctor told her to stop speaking entirely - not even whisper. It was extraordinarily isolating for her, even though she was used to saying little, and only to people who were physically close to her. Now that she had to write down (or occasionally act out) anything she wanted to say, all of the small comments just seemed like too much work. It's one thing to see the sunset and say to the person beside you "Look at the beautiful sunset." It's entirely another to see the sunset, find a pen and paper, write it out, hand it to the person beside you... by which time the sunset has changed and it's no longer the same beauty you wanted to point out.  The weeks she couldn't talk made her very aware of the connection that's created by those seemingly insignificant comments.

Sorry for the threadjack.

TootsNYC

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Re: wearing earbuds or bluetooth at home
« Reply #43 on: May 14, 2014, 12:09:30 AM »
I don't think that's a threadjack! I think that's really interesting insights into why earbuds or bluetooth might be rude. If you wear them too much, at the wrong times, etc.