Rhetorical Analysis 1. You did this pap/er for me previously, Just use the professor’s feedback to make a little better. I will provide everything below.

1. You did this pap/er for me previously, Just use the professor’s feedback to make a little better. I will provide everything below.

2. First, I want you to revise the introducti/on from the original pap/er in another docume/nt. Next, chose any paragra/ph from the pap/er that can be revised and copy past it in (Without revising).

Bajunaid 6

Sultan Bajunaid

Dr. Melanie Scriptunas


14 Feb. 2022

Rhetorical Analysis of Virginia Heffernan’s “Against Headphones”

The article titled “Against Headphones” by Virginia Heffernan argues against the use of headphones citing its negative social and biological consequences. Heffernan is an American cultural critic and journalist. Over the years, she has written numerous articles about technology and culture through various publications such as Wired, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. The medium that she used to write “Against Headphones” was a newspaper editorial in the New York Times. The target audience is the general public, with a focus on people who like to use headphones and earbuds for music. In the article, the message being passed across by Heffernan is that the regular use of headphones and earbuds for music significantly damages a person’s ears leading to partial hearing loss and also socially alienates an individual from actively interacting with those around him/her. The purpose of her argument is to ensure more people avoid the use of headphones and resort to listening to music as a social practice rather than an individual one.

Looking at the context of the article, Heffernan points out the startling fact regarding the high number of Americans who have a slight hearing loss. She asserts the origin of this trend to the invention of the headphones. She backs up her claims using facts, expert opinions, emotional appeals, personal experience, and evidence from other reliable sources to ensure that she provides comprehensive support to sway her audience to accept her claims. She gives figures and data retrieved from studies that have been published in scholarly journals to give some scientific backing to her claims as well. She was driven to write the article after observing how the digital culture is causing a lot of negative unintended consequences. Thus, she took it upon herself to educate the public about the dangers of using headphones so that people have more awareness of what they are subjecting themselves to whenever they decide to use headphones.

Heffernan employs the three main rhetorical techniques of ethos, pathos, and logos effectively to achieve the purpose of her arguments. Regarding the use of ethos, a quick background check of Heffernan reveals that she is highly qualified to address the topic at hand. Throughout her journalism career, Heffernan has utilized literary criticism to write several articles on technology and culture. These articles are normally centered on the cultural and human side of technology where she advocates more critical and broader thinking from the public regarding the use of technology. Her extensive experience on such topics coupled with her impressive academic background presents Heffernan as a trustworthy, credible, and authoritative individual.

After reading the article, the credibility and moral character of Heffernan are revealed when she balances between the pros and cons of the use of headphones. Although she advocates for people to use headphones less, she still acknowledges their importance in society. For example, she asserts that headphones are extremely vital for sound professionals such as radio and intelligence workers. These are professions that require the separation of sounds and the selection of which sounds to ignore and which ones to use. However, she appeals to other individuals to use headphones less in order to live a sensory life. She acknowledges that even though escapism is great, it is vital for people to live in the real world where sound thrives amid other sounds (Heffernan 1). Finally, based on the appearance of the text, it is clear that Heffernan went to great lengths to make her article look professional. Her article uses a professional tone and is free from grammatical errors.

Regarding the use of pathos, Heffernan appeals to the emotions of the audience by giving vivid examples of the adverse consequences of using headphones regularly. Her examples are meant to evoke feelings of tenderness from the audience so that they can be swayed towards her point of view. For starters, she commences her article with the statement, “one in five teenagers in America can’t hear rustles or whispers, according to a study published in August in The Journal of the American Medical Association” (Heffernan 1). This statement causes the audience to be simultaneously curious and concerned since it presents startling statistics that they probably never knew anything about. She goes ahead to reveal the cause of this predicament is the regular use of headphones with the slight hearing loss being caused by loud music.

Heffernan goes on to appeal to the audience by stating that the regular use of headphones is a major reason behind the isolation of many people from society. For instance, she equates listening to music to communal eating. She asserts that “the shared experience of listening with others is not unlike the cultural rituals of communal eating. Music may not have the primal necessity of food, but it is something people commonly ingest together” (Heffernan 1). This argument is meant to show the audience that the act of using headphones is pulling them away from their peers and loved ones. She is appealing to their sense of togetherness to make them cease the habit of regularly using headphones. In turn, this will also reduce the number of people who suffer from slight hearing loss.

Finally, Heffernan utilizes the rhetorical tool of logos to prove her arguments. Her argument is logically sound and her premises are warranted. She supports her assertions by borrowing information from scholarly and scientific journals. She also incorporates facts and figures to show the significance of the problem she is analyzing. When talking about hearing loss, she points out to the Journal of American Medical Association to reveal that one in five teenagers have a slight hearing loss, which makes them unable to hear the plinking of raindrops or make out consonants such as Ks and Ts. She notes that since 1994, the number of teenagers with hearing loss has increased by 33 percent. She relates this trend with the emergence and growth of personal media players such as the Walkman and the iPod (Herrera et al., 42).

To ensure she does not totally rule out the use of headphones, she explains the origins of these devices. She notes that the headphone originated from an invention by Nathaniel Baldwin almost a century ago. This individual simply wanted to hear Mormon sermons and eradicate the crowd noises that prevented him from hearing them. Baldwin’s invention was a simple device characterized by two sound receivers and an amplifier. However, his invention went into mass production when the Navy made an order for 100 pieces of his devices. The objective was to find a way of sending one-way communication to soldiers. By going through history, Heffernan tries to show that headphones are still important because they have professional uses. Her argument is against people who utilize them all the time to the point that they become socially isolated and even lose their hearing (Blum-Ross 4).

In conclusion, the article titled “Against Headphones” by Virginia Heffernan presents a compelling argument against the use of headphones citing its negative social and biological consequences. Heffernan makes great use of the rhetorical tools of ethos, pathos, and logos to present a sound argument for the reduced use of headphones. She acknowledges the importance of these devices in professional settings but asserts that when it comes to standard situations, people should listen to music with others. Doing so enables people to listen to music in a social setting where they get to interact with others. Also, it enables them not to destroy their hearing from constant loud music from earbuds.

Works Cited

Blum-Ross, Alicia. “Headphones in or out? (De) prioritizing the social in digital media and learning.” Parenting for a Digital Future (2015).

Heffernan, Virginia. Against Headphones. New York Times, 7 Jan. 2011, www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/magazine/09FOB-medium-t.html. Accessed 14 Feb 2022.

Herrera, Sarah, et al. “Amplified music with headphones and its implications on hearing health in teens.” The International Tinnitus Journal 20.1 (2016): 42-47.

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