General Question

SergeantQueen's avatar

Is it weird to not want to go places without headphones?

Asked by SergeantQueen (12874points) November 14th, 2022

I was going to go to a new store today but I said I forgot my headphones. When I explained why that mattered I was told I was weird.

Well, The new store was very overwhelming and I am pretty sure headphones would have helped. Also, I wear them all the time even in school I needed them for lunch/bus rides because all the talking overwhelned me. Especially at lunch with all the people, and talking, and smells.

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24 Answers

Mimishu1995's avatar

What was the reason you gave them?

Zaku's avatar

You’re sensitive to overstimulation, which is unusual but not weird except from the perspective who has little/no experience of that sort of thing.

Being aware of that sensitivity, and developing methods for compensating for it, are good approaches. And also “not weird”.

SergeantQueen's avatar


I get overwhelmed with the noises, and other people, and talking. It distracts me from what I need.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@SergeantQueen while I completely empathize with your struggle, I can understand why they think that way, especially when you said it’s a new store. Sensory overload can be a really foreign concept to people who have never experienced it. I’m sorry that they weren’t able to empathize with your problem.

Next time maybe just do what you do and don’t give them any mind. They may never be able to understand and you don’t need their approval anyway.

gorillapaws's avatar

I’ve had this with smell before. In the early aughts I remember being dragged into Bath and Bodyworks for Christmas shopping. The combo of all of those colors and smells totally overloaded my brain and I had something akin to a panic attack, but not really. My breathing wasn’t affected, but I had this feeling of being completely overwhelmed and anxiety that consumed me. I had to leave and chill out on a bench outside the store.

I’m not sure if that’s the kind of feeling you get from excessive auditory stimulation, but if so, then I’d be doing exactly what you are. It might be a little weird, but fuck ‘em—you’re not affecting them so it’s none of their damn business what you’ve got in your ears.

JLeslie's avatar

It could be a symptom of:

- Autism
– Damage to your ear (usually older people)
– Hangover
– High anxiety
– Or, it could be simply that you are sensitive to a lot of noise.

You could look those up and see if you have other symptoms of those things or get evaluated.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I don’t think it’s weird, a lot of younger generations wear them often. You could just say your music relaxes you, no biggie.

I have to give my husband a xanax on a rare trip to Walmart or other public stores. It’s not unusual for us.

JLeslie's avatar

I think for young women it’s a safety issue in some circumstances. It’s important to be aware of one’s surroundings. Our hearing is a big help with that. Just something to keep in mind.

@KNOWITALL Not unusual for you, but it sounds like your husband is in treatment if he has Xanax, the OP is self medicating and probably needs to be diagnosed.

I hate when my husband has earbuds in at home or in general, unless he is working and on a zoom. He doesn’t “need” them though, so I respect that some people really need to block out other noise.

jca2's avatar

My daughter wears headphones when we’re in the car and she’s watching YouTube or other social media. The annoying part, for me, is I have to repeat myself or make a motion that I am talking to her, so she can move the headphones and hear me.

For you, if that’s what makes you feel good, go for it but keep in mind that if someone is talking to you or there’s some emergency going on, unless you’re looking directly at it, you might not know. They also say headphones can be the cause of hearing loss, but that would only be if you listen to it with the volume on high. As for what people think of you with headphones on, who cares. Their opinion of you is on them, not you.

cookieman's avatar

Not weird at all. I’m not overly sensitive to sound, crowds, etc., but I’ll often choose to put my air pods in and listen to music while out running errands. Helps me focus and is relaxing.

I would think for those who get overstimulated easily, wearing headphones in public would be essential.

KRD's avatar

I don’t wear headphones or earbuds when I go to places. But it seems like you are sensitive to talking.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

I hate not having headphones with me. I usually have one earbud in when I’m out running errands. I don’t like the overstimulation either.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie In treatment? Lol, just a sleep disorder. Xanax is mainly for anxiety so possibly it could be a solution for the OP, but not with alcohol consumption.

Cupcake's avatar

Totally normal in our family, but we all have some combination of ADHD and/or Autism.

SnipSnip's avatar

Yes, to me it is. If headphones help you function, then don’t worry if people think you’re weird.

gondwanalon's avatar

Your need to wear headphones isn’t weird to me.
I never go places (bus, plane, restaurants, down town, sports events, concerts, plays, etc) without my earplugs. I have very sensitive hearing. Can’t handle even moderate level of sound.
I even sleep with earplugs. Some people talk too laud. It can be so uncomfortable to me. So I will back away and nonchalantly slip my earplugs in.

Good health!

Blackwater_Park's avatar

I sleep with headphones in as well. I’ll put on a documentary and drift off to sleep. If the TV is on though I can’t sleep. I suppose it’s the light.

JLeslie's avatar

I always have ear plugs with me. I use them around loud noise, not average daily noise. That’s different to me than ear buds or headphones, because regular ear plugs don’t block out hearing everything around you completely. I assumed headphones means listening to something and not being able to hear the works around you.

cookieman's avatar

@Blackwater_Park: I also sleep with headphones. Usually music or nature sounds. Sometimes a podcast.

JLeslie's avatar

Typo: World around you not works around you.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@cookieman I do podcasts a lot. I don’t know why it helps me sleep. I guess it keeps my mind from going bonkers with thoughts.

cookieman's avatar

@Blackwater_Park: Same. If I try to sleep in silence, my mind races and eventually becomes nothing but dark thoughts and anxiety. Then I’m up all night.

Listening to something calms the brain.

anniela's avatar

I always wear headphones if I go out alone, they make me more comfortable on the streets in shops. Obviously, I don’t think it’s weird :) Though, I believe that sleeping with headphones on is not useful, it will certainly come to the point when you can’t fall asleep without them at all.

cookieman's avatar

@anniela: Oh, I am well past that point.

And hey, welcome to Fluther!!

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