This year’s hot Christmas gift – suitable for all ages – is news-cancelling headphones.
Unlike the more familiar noise-cancelling headphones, the new device can improve your mental state and lift your mood by filtering out all the news you really don’t want to hear any more. I have tried them and they are absolutely brilliant.
The headphones offer a range of settings, so that you can customise your listening experience. These include settings for age, celebrities, and politics, for example.
The celebrity setting can be adjusted to filter out news about all the Kardashians and anyone associated with them, Katie Price, Harry and Meghan, Donald Trump, Fred West, people who are only famous because of reality TV shows, and so on.
The age setting filters out the stuff that annoys different generations. When set at over 50, the headphones block stories about funeral plans, varicose veins, stairlifts, leaving gifts in your will and overpriced jumpers. The teenage setting filters out anything about screen time, tidying your room, homework, STDs, and anyone really old (over 25).
The scary setting filters out news about anti-vaxxers, climate change deniers, climate change zealots, Donald Trump, spontaneous combustion, all stories about aliens however ridiculous, all natural disasters caused by earth, wind, fire or water (including ice), and transport disasters – planes, trains, automobiles and the Northern Line.
The politics setting gets rid of speeches by ranty politicians, news about wars and human suffering, problems in countries that you’ve never been to, Donald Trump, terrorism, substandard politicians on so-called TV news channels, Scottish independence, and speculation about the date of the next election.
The science and medical setting is also very useful if you don’t want to hear about any of the following: cancer, things that cause cancer, things that might cause cancer, celebrities with cancer, dementia, suicide, suicide cults, anything poisonous (snakes, spiders, Dominic Cummings), Michael Mosley, those twin doctors, pandemics, women’s problems, NHS waiting lists, medical procedures with graphic detail, men’s problems, alarming new illegal drugs, microplastics, mad treatments such as drinking bleach or blowing a hair drier up your nose, and ultra processed food.
The headphones are a British invention and profits are forecast to be in the hundreds of millions. This is very welcome news for the Netherlands Antilles, where all profits will be reported. On the plus side, there is a setting to tune out news stories about tax havens.