More to school headphones ban than meets the ear

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Headphones have recently been banned in our schools. Students have been walking around the hallways with their earbuds, headphones, AirPods and so on, and faculty has had enough. But what students and faculty don’t know is that there are pros and cons to the use of headphones.

Let’s get the bad out of the way first and start with the cons. If headphones are allowed in the classroom, the students with a one-track mind might be more interested in their music than their teacher, especially if their music is too loud. This could cause other students to be distracted as well.

Studies show that listening to music while reading could potentially damage a student’s reading comprehension. And that’s just in English class. Serial recall, which is the ability to recall numbers, can also be affected while listening to music. So of course headphones are banned in class. Why wouldn’t they be?

Well, because music is proven to be a motivator. Music stimulates the brain and helps some students to focus, often increasing efficiency and helping them get their work done quicker.

For some, headphones may be the cure for — not the cause of — classroom distraction. Maybe other students are being noisy?

A theory posited by Canadian composer Glenn Schellenberg called the Arousal-Emotion/Mood-Activation Hypothesis claims music that puts you in a positive mood can have a positive effect on your performance. Schellenberg co-authored a 2002 University of Toronto research paper on the “Mozart effect” published in the journal Music Perception.

There is also talk on background music improving endurance during long study periods.

In some cases, music helps out with memorization, likely by creating a positive mood. This indirectly boosts the memory formation. Music can also help with stress and anxiety, which students often have enough of.

So maybe it depends. Maybe faculty should view students responsible enough to know whether or not music will benefit them or distract them.

Personally, I love to listen to music while doing my work, but it also depends what the task at hand is.

I wouldn’t listen to music while trying to read my novel that’s due next week, but I would listen to music while I’m doing a couple of math problems.

Every person is different. What do you prefer?

Myaaja Coley is a senior at Hunt High School.