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My headphones, my self

Global headphone sales hit new highs as privacy-loving urbanites spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for the perfect listening experience

The experience of intense private listening via earpieces in public settings goes back to the 1950s and 1960s, but the latest round of headphone popularity may be an expression of today's disaffected times.

New York

YOU see them on every block: people being propelled through their routines listening to their own individualised soundtracks, with the outside world serving as a stage set.

Headphones are now fashion statements. Status symbols. Fetish objects on a par with luxury watches...