Stranger Days #27: The Soundscape of Work-From-Home

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Welcome to stranger days--my blog series exploring daily life, challenges in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and just sharing insights or thoughts about how to make it through these days.  

So it's been a month--at least I think it's been a month. It's definitely been a long time now that I've been working from home.  And while I've talked about the ways we have rearranged the apartment during this time, what we've been doing in the yard, and what Arlington is looking like these days, I thought I would focus this post on sharing the different headphones that I'm using throughout this.  

Let me first state, I know how entitled and American this may sound--having no less than 4 of the same type of equipment. There's no real justification for this but there are some relevant reasons for having 4 different items.  

The primary reason is that listening conduits like headphones are important to me because I probably listen to about 3-4 audiobooks per week. This is both entertainment and income as I review audiobooks for a few magazines and websites.  Additionally, it's also often research for work or even my dissertation. Therefore, having a few pairs for back-up does make some sense.  But let's take a look at the different versions and reasons.  
A pair of earbuds connected by a black chord.
Blue-tooth earbuds: I've had these for about 2 years. They've lasted much longer than many headphones so I appreciate their durability.  Currently, I largely use them for listening to music when working. Whatever the music is, the earbuds allow me a deeper focus and not as aurally distracted as I might be with others.  Their blue-tooth reception is not great so if I'm in another room, they break up pretty quickly.  However, at my computer, they're gold for getting me to focus and write. 

A gray band and squarish headphones that go in front of the ear, not on it.
Blue-tooth bone-conducting headset: These get the most use of all my headphones and I synch them with my phone. I got them in fall (After a previous lesser-brand failed me) and I use them probably 3-6 hours a day. I used them for working out, for listening to audiobooks, and for phone calls.  I love that they do not go over my ears but in front of them. This is valuable for me as I use them when running or cycling and it allows me to hear my environment and pay attention to the world around me. That's also useful around the house when my partner may require my attention.  

A headset with a microphone. The ear pieces are large and bulky.
Headset microphone: I use these predominantly for Zoom meeting and also recording videos. Like the blue-tooth earbuds, they do block out noise just by their size and coverage, which is nice.  They record sound pretty well but the big challenge is they wear on the ears after a while. I have trouble with back-to-back video-conferencing meetings because they press on my ears a bit too much.  Also, I look like I'm ready to land a plane with them on.  

A pair of ear-buds that are connected by a typical wire plug in.
Wired ear-buds: These sit by my computer and are my faithful back up when all else fails.  Blue-tooth can be annoying in that it might not sync well or it isn't charged.  The head-set plugs into USB, which can also be finicky.  So, these, which are part of a 4-pack that I bought two years ago are still a good option (I think I still have at least 2 others from that 4 pack still in the package as a back-up to the back-ups).

What about you?  What tools do you have and then also have back-ups for?  

Take care. Be careful. Be care-filled.  Welcome to stranger days.

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