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At many organizations, the use of headphones by employees is very common. In fact, many studies have found a positive relationship between music and work performance. However, there are also many negatives associated with headphone use including distractions and safety concerns. If you’re wondering whether you should use headphones at your workplace, there are many factors to consider.

Growing Popularity

First, it’s important to note that earbuds playing music and noise-canceling headphones are becoming increasingly popular, especially for employees who work at desks in cubicles for most of the day. Many people enjoy the ability to tune out the world around them, block out noise from co-workers and concentrate solely on their work. According to this article in The Wall Street Journal, noise-reducing headphones can be a “strong aid to concentration” and “screen out as much as three-fourths of office noise.” If you tend to be easily distracted, headphones can be very valuable in improving your ability to focus and productivity levels.

But, What About the Dangers?

However, even with the benefit above, headphones can be dangerous in many work environments, especially if you work in an industrial or manufacturing setting. Headphone usage can easily become a safety hazard if you operate large pieces of machinery, putting you at risk of injuring yourself and others. They can also impede your ability to be aware of your surroundings, as you won’t be able to hear the sounds around you. Therefore, if you work in manufacturing, headphones can certainly do more harm than good for the safety and productivity of your work environment.

Understanding the benefits and dangers of headphone usage in the workplace will help you determine what is best for you. As you evaluate your own job performance, make sure to take this important issue into consideration.

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