Earlier this week, the headphones on my old iPod, the one I gave to Yuko, finally stopped working (they were in pretty bad shape, even showing their inner wiring) and I took the opportunity to upgrade to the new Apple In-Ear Headphones. At first I just wanted to replace them with the same earbuds as before, but since they’re not selling them alone anymore (you can only buy them with a remote, which you can’t use on the old iPods), I got the in-ear ones for myself, giving Yuko the earbuds from my 40GB iPod. I hadn’t realized exactly what it was they did, thinking it was just an improvement in sound quality, but they actually act as sound dampeners, cutting outside noise. This has been so great for listening on the train, where it often gets so noisy that I have trouble hearing anything (unless blasting the volume, which is definitely not a good thing to do), especially when I’m listening to spoken material, or low-tempo music. Had I known how great they work, I would have upgraded sooner.