By Vernon Velasco
THERE seems to be copious amount of distractions wherever I find myself reading a book. A scintilla of noise is cacophonous, even. Often, and sometimes to no avail, I would post a “Silencio por pabor” note on the back of my chair in my home workspace and write down the names of family members on the list of “Noisy.”
It would work, but almost always after a while my sister Nica would sing a familiar song I couldn’t resist. So I would give in to singing with her, as well, and she’d laugh, saying it was I who’s making a lot of noise to begin with. Then we would make an agreement: “From now on we’d be quiet, OK?” But sound is something life offers and noise its facet. I recall, hence, of white noise.
I first heard of it from a schoolmate in college as an effective aid to concentration. Especially designed to induce sound sleeping, a white noise can be a static drone from a TV screen after a station signs off.
But for me it was getting lost in a cacophony of frogs calling out to each other. So to insulate myself I would just plug my earphones and leave it there, with nary a song or the din of a nature simulation blaring from the stereo.
Thankfully, a local representative of a subsidiary of Danish audio products manufacturer GN Store Nord A/S let me test its product, the Jabra Evolve headset.
I found it immediately a handy tool to shut down the noise, owing not just to its active noise-cancellation feature that eliminates unwanted noise and put you aurally in a vacuum.
Its size also helps, boldly communicating the wearer is not in the mood to talk. And as if it isn’t all over your face already, a red light on the earphones can be activated to indicate that to disturb you is deadly, that you don’t want anyone to fall on your wrong side.
The effectiveness of the headset was put to the test when, apart from keeping my sister out of earshot when I’m working on something, my mom went home all ballistic one day and found every reason to get mad at me. I briskly slipped on my Jabra headset and switched on the hazard light. When my mom came in I pretended I didn’t notice, but when I finally did, I pointed to it as if the red light couldn’t already draw an attention to itself. She just nodded and left, sign language for “I’m sorry about that, I will just get mad at you when you’re not busy.”
The Jabra headset also works in a way when you just want to turn invisible when you’re caught amid an awkward conversation or when you don’t want to hear somebody else’s opinion, without, of course, an intention to appear impolite. When my friend went all drama queen on me after breaking up with her beau, she said that all men are the same and, therefore, should not breed. I said “Very much so” before putting on the Jabra headset. I consider that a tactful way to spare her from further making a fool of herself.
What’s rather clumsy, however, is how Jabra integrated an awkward dangling little mouthpiece that makes me look like I fly a chopper when I wear it. But flying a chopper or not, apparently it is something inherent to this technology, for how else voice calls could be this loud and clear, no matter all the ambient bowwow blaring on my end?
I surmise that it was with the Jabra that naysayers discovered what otherwise was taken as a phantom voice in Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud,” as when I listened to it with the Jabra I unmistakably caught it without conscious effort, which wasn’t at all surprising.
There was a time I shut myself in the Jabra listening to Joshua Bell’s encomium to Chaconne and was lost between movements. I was so lost in the music I was convinced I was there in the concert hall among the standing-room-only audience.
Two minutes into the music I heard a delicate cough, which sounded much like by my sister. I searched around the house for the inconsiderate culprit only to realize I was alone. And then it occurred to me the Jabra headset was still wedged on my head.