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5 Things You Must Know to Find the Best Headphones

5 Things You Must Know to Find the Best Headphones

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” – Maya Angelou

That is precisely my favorite thing about headphones – they let you immerse into a world of your own, a world that is impervious to noise pollution. It has never been easier to enjoy life at your own pace; all you need is your favorite tune and a pair of headphones.

Never has a song sent more shivers down my spine or made my arm hair stand up straight than when I heard it through headphones. Music actually does sound better through headphones, and we can thank our brains and physics for making it happen.

Headphones have become a vital piece of equipment in our daily lives as they have the power of setting the atmosphere we like in everyday chores. As with most people, I find headphones to be most useful while commuting, but the experience applies to almost anything. I’ve seen window washers with headphones, morning joggers keeping the rhythm with the music, even people enjoying a bench in the park while being dazzled by music.

I’ll leave the music choice to you, but when it comes to headphones, there are certain things you should consider to get the best feeling and the best quality to price ratio.

1. Type of Headphones

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    Type of headphones basically translates to the choice between earbuds and over-the-ear headphones. People that have used both can testify to the fact that even though they serve the same purpose, they are actually entirely different.

    Earbuds are, because of their size are easier to store and carry around (i.e. in your pocket). They tend to be less expensive than their counterparts, but their type and size carry along a whole set of problems. Frequently falling out of ears and even ear pain are the reasons I gave up on earbuds. Another reason is that they simply produce lower quality sound even if they are made by well-known companies.

    Over-the-ear headphones are the ones that we all imagine a DJ wearing, and there is a reason behind it. They are bulky and a bit awkward to carry around all day but they more than make up for it by giving you the best sensation possible.

    They are perceived as being extremely pricey, but the truth is that you can get a decent pair for at a lower price. Check out the best headphones under $100 for example. Except for the superb sound quality, over-the-ear headphones are easier to wear and much less harmful than earbuds.

    2. Noise blocking

    headphones-noise-blocking

      Noise blocking is crucial for a quality pair of headphones. There is nothing worse than having to turn the volume up to maximum so you can overpower the sound of the annoying music in a bus. Not only will that hurt your ears in the long run, but you also might not even be able to play it as loud to negate outside noises.

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      Take a look whether the headphones have an open or closed back which will probably tell you the most about the quality of sound isolation. Open-back headphones do have a more appealing sound but are at the same time more liable to unwanted sounds.  Closed-back headphones will give the bass a nice boost, negate the outside effects but will suffer in the quality department.

      I have found that the special noise-cancelling types aren’t really worth the money. It will take at least $250 for a decent pair, and still you will be left with having to turn up the volume wasting precious battery life .

      3. Frequency

      headphones-frequency

        When it comes to frequency, try to find headphones with the largest range possible. Roughly said, human hearing ranges from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, and that is basically your target area if you want to hear the entire spectrum.

        However, headphones differ in the sound curve. The sound curve is an indicator of what the manufacturer meant to emphasize in the sound. High-priced headphones are well-rounded and place no distinctions between the lower and higher frequencies. In practice, this is often not a great trait.

        Less expensive headphones have a U curve meaning that you will probably hear the low and high frequencies better. As oppose to higher-priced headphones this means that you will really feel that bass in a song. Simply put, higher-priced headphones do give a better sound, but at a price of sounding bland and monotonous – something you don’t want when listening to music.

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        4. Impedance

        headphones-impedance

          Impedance is a well-known term from high-school frequently used in electrical circuits and is shown in ohms (Ω). I don’t want to get all boring and technical so let’s just say impedance plays a significant role in playing music through headphones.

          Lower impedance (less than 25 Ω) in headphones means that they require fewer amounts of power to transmit sound. 25 Ω is quite enough when playing music from phones, Ipads, and similar devices but what happens when you need a more powerful sound as a DJ might.

          DJs use headphones that have 25 to 70 Ω of impedance, so they don’t “blow out” their headphones when using sound amplifiers. If you are not going to use headphones professionally, you should stick to low impedance headphones (far less expensive) but keep in mind the devices you are going to pair them with.

          5. Try Them On

          headphones-try-them-on

            This is basically the best advice I can give you about getting yourself a decent pair of headphones. It doesn’t matter if someone gets technical or tries to explain by using their own words; there is no way to present the feeling you get from certain headphones.

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            Ask a friend to lend you his pair (if they are something you would consider buying) and plug them into your device. Have your device ready with music you are most fond of and simply listen to how they perform.

            Another way to test headphones is to try them on at the store. Most audio stores will let you try the headphones without charge so you can decide from your own experience.

            6. The Experience is No One’s but Your Own

            headphones-experience

              Whatever headphones you choose just remember to use them responsibly. Be careful while behind the wheel and try not to play the music louder than you need it to be.

              The wonderful world of music is for you to discover and I bet a quality pair of headphones can only make it better. Let the music set you free and allow me to quote Neil Young – “Keep rocking in the free world!”

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              Last Updated on February 18, 2019

              13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride

              13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride

              Fear. I spend my life talking about fear — fighting fears, fixing fears and understanding fears. And yet I doubt I get 10 calls a year from people saying “Mandie can you help me fix my fear?”

              Why is this so critically important to you?

              The realization for me is that fear is not the fundamental driving force in your life it’s what regardless of whether I’m talking to a doctor, a teacher, a CEO’s, a senior citizens or teenager – every single one of those conversations has a direct correlation with your world.

              Fear can range from the overwhelming desire to look away or stop in your tracks to literally fleeing your country and the life you knew. In this article, I will share you with 13 tips to face your fears and enjoy the ride.

              1. Know That Fear Is Real, but Can Be Overcome

              Right now around the world people are facing fear — real fear. Fear that I pray my children and I will never experience. Does that lessen my fears or your fears in your relativity safe 21st century life?

              When I look at the world we all live in, I find that fear like so many other emotions can mean so many different things to so many different people:

              • The child who has to be physically dragged to their first day of school.
              • The man facing the judge.
              • The woman with her hand poised over the buttons over her phone because she has to walk down a dark corridor late at night alone.
              • The man as the surgeon says “count backwards from 10 Mr Smith.”
              • The woman that’s told “We are sorry, we can’t help you.”
              • The man that faces the empty circle of a gun and prays for his very existence.

              These and a million more (Portrayed in every kind of movie, book or song you could imagine) are what make us human. We face fear and somehow move forward or are stopped in our tracks.

              Like the rabbit in the headlights of the car that veers off through the field away from the tyres of the car or stays still praying for salvation. Like someone will save them. Sound familiar?

              Fear is huge. Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

              2. Accept Your Fear

              Firstly if you aren’t facing the barrel of the gun, atrocities that make the news or impeding death, that’s a good start. However it doesn’t mean your fear is any less real.

              We are quick to say “I can’t moan, my life is not as bad as X.” While in theory, that’s honorable your appreciation of Mr. or Mrs. X’s horrific life won’t change anything directly. So accept your fear is relative to you.

              And here’s what can be done.

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              3. Get Some Perspective

              I found myself asking anyone that would answer “what is your worst fear”. The answer that intrigued me the most came from my daughter (15 years old and she usually has a copy of Fight the Fear – my book – in her school bag so she can help someone else be as positive and confident as her. No matter what life throws up.)

              And her fear, surprised me — heights. I pointed out that we live in a sprawling bungalow (one storey) and the highest she goes is two storeys’ at school! She laughed but added, fear isn’t like that Mum. I know it’s not a real fear, but it’s like when you stand on a chair and feel unsafe.

              That girl will go far. Because she truly gets fear.

              We know something is scary and yet we still do it. Why? Because we have a perspective to the fear. When you lose perspective, it can feel too big, and too scary.

              So look around you to get some perspective on your fear:

              • Are you really at risk?
              • Will this kill you?
              • Which leads us on to..
              • If the worse was to happen what would it be?

              4. Hold a Hand

              As a coach, it is my job to holds someone’s metaphorical hand and help them face a fear.

              Like the child petrified of the thunder storm or the teen that can’t get back in a car again after failing their test, your job as a parent is to reassure, encourage, enable and motivate someone to face something that ideally they never would choose to again.

              We know many of our fears aren’t real. However, it is only when someone guides us with love, respect, lack of judgement and safety are we able to get through fear. And trust me, you can get through your fears. I’ve seen it so many times.

              Ask yourself:

              • If the worse were to happen, what would that be?
              • Could that really happen?
              • If the worse did happen, how would you recover?
              • If the worse were to happen, what would you need to do next?

              By seeing fear as not the end destination but part of being human, you can see through it’s wily evil ways and move forward.

              5. Know Whose Hand You Hold Either Physically or Emotionally

              This helps with fears for the rest of your life.

              Think of someone you can always rely on (and ideally you won’t just answer yourself because that adds a lot of pressure to your existence!) And you will find that you’ve already found a way to get through fear.

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              The beauty of this is that it means that fear becomes part of life not something to be feared and shied away from.

              It means you know you can turn to your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling and say “Right I need to deal with this, and I’m going to need you to help me.”

              For one moment, think about it from the other person’s view point. When we get to help other people we feel valued, loved, respected and lots of other positive emotions and we get a good dose of positive chemicals setting off in our bodies too.

              Your fear, and your determination to fight it, helped someone else too. Now that’s cool right?

              6. Understand That There Are Some Things Fear Will Never Touch

              I like to find role models in life — people who have faced heroism, history changing moments, war, atrocities, miracles, life saving inventions.

              Not everyone was looking for greatness, however they all found it. And one of my favourite books to date is written about Alistair Urquhart, the forgotten highlander. If this doesn’t get turned into a film in the future, then no man’s story is likely to.

              Alistair went through the most horrific experiences in the 2nd world war. If you think of one of the awful things that happened back then in our world, Alistair went through at least 3 of them! Asked afterwards how did you cope? He talked about how whatever they did to his body, no matter how they starved, tortured, threatened or mocked him, they couldn’t have his mind. In his mind he was free.

              Of all the people’s voices I’ve heard in my head over the years, this is one of those statements that reminds me anything is possible if you have faith and hope.

              Look for the things in life that fear can’t touch. They will create confidence and faith for the future, whatever you face. And they will give you a sense of why being you is awesome.

              Of all the billions of people on this planet, no one will have an answer identical to yours!

              7. Process Your Fears to Carry on with Life

              Being brave is not about sticking your chest out and smiling regardless of what hell you endure. It is about finding a way to emotionally process your fears to be able to keep going.

              I have a tool kit of things I can rely on – tools, strategies, techniques. They include people to hug or talk to, music. hobbies, walks on the beach and even my favourite food. It sounds mad but at the times where I have questioned “how will I get through this?” I’ve found immense joy in doing the most unlikely of thing that makes me smile.

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              It may be a short lived moment of happiness. However, it reminded that nothing stays the same and I can find away.

              One client told me that it was crazy when it felt like their world was falling around their ears to run a bath to the brim (you don’t waste water) get the best bath oils, light too many candles, lock the door and drink a glass of bubbly (champagne is only for special occasions.)

              Did that moment fix the disaster that my clients life felt? No, however it gave them a moment of calm and the brain is far quicker to find solutions, resolve and motivation to keep going when you do that.

              It may feel like madness to do something you love, however it can be a powerful way to help you find solutions to the fears you face in life.

              8. Assume the Worse

              If you read the statement from the client above. Notice how they assumed it was wrong to fill the bath up to the top? How bubbly is only for special occasions?

              Think how naughty they felt to be doing something that was not allowed?

              • Think about what age it may have made them feel?
              • Think about how they feel about champagne?
              • What special moments it’s been a part of in their lives?

              And you can see how the assumptions they made about their “right” to have these things was not healthy.

              When I drag the assumptions out of people’s words for them to see, they are often struck by how negative the words make them feel.

              Don’t assume your words aren’t impacting on you. You can go through fear and actually enjoy the ride when you take the time to understand how you are letting words get to you.

              9. Take a Fear That Feels Insurmountable Right Now.

              If you were to repeat it to me out loud, what would you say?

              Would you have blame on yourself in there? Would you assume others can do it and it’s just you? Would you feel small, unsuccessful, useless, unworthy?

              Usually, when you do this exercise, you are able to spot the untruths that run wild in your head convincing you that you are doomed. And rarely when we are faced with our assumptions is there is a lot of evidence to them.

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              10. You Are Not Defined by Your Fear

              One fear does not define your life – be mindful of that. It is likely to lead you to thinking of all the times you’ve succeeded and bring a moment of calm, confidence and faith back to you.

              11. Go with Fear

              When you learn to go with fear, you could find yourself actually having fun, no seriously – having fun.

              I have a few amazing clients I’m working with right now who would describe themselves as life long worriers, or pessimists. In the past that has served them well, enabling them to keep safe, steer clear of risks and even develop strategies in the event of disasters. However, now they find it’s becoming hard to break the cycle and they really want to because it’s holding them back.

              Notice how they’ve found their hidden fears and want to face them?

              One client said “I knew this was going to be tough, and I knew I couldn’t fight it alone and I knew you would be the one to help me.” Before I sat an incredibly successful, confident, capable business owner with a family and a social life to die for.

              However, I’ve learned that the most successful looking lives can hide things that impact on life, success, love, happiness and business.

              We didn’t start with the fear that they felt was holding them back, we broke the fear down, and found lots of little obstacles that had been deemed as “life” and “unchangeable” and “that’s just the way it is” by developing awareness to the little steps on the road to their obstacles to happiness and success they were able to tackle them in a different way.

              12. Discover Great Skills in Your Scary Moments

              And in that clients words “I came here to work with you to grow my company, and my own personal skills. I didn’t expect to get the children to be cleaning up after themselves and my partner being more attentive! It all feels a little magic.”

              The moral is that out of the scariest of moments, we can find great skills we didn’t know we had. Find better, healthier, happier ways to live and find ways to enjoy life more. (And have a bit of magic!)

              What a great place to be in ready for the next fear that thinks it’s going to get in the way of you, right?

              13. Own Your Fear

              Think back over these tips and come up with at least one example for each one. Write them down. Put them on your phone. Turn them into a piece of art. Turn them into a poem. Frame them. Go for a fast walk across the fields, beach, down town and repeat these things in your head to the sound of your feet on the ground.

              We rarely take the time to appreciate how far we have come, how much we can achieve or what we are capable of – by really owning the tips in this article you will have given your brain a big fat dose of “Damn right I can do this!” and the motivation and accountability to say “Let’s find a way” through any fear.

              You can’t help but feel good when you see that can you? And fear doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

              More Resources About Fighting Fear

              Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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