Like many people, I have used headphones for years, originally with my hifi, then with my DAW, and now with my phone. The phone works best with bluetooth headphones.

But many bluetooth phones have an almighty problem, for me. When worn, they have a visible blue flashing light.

To me, a blue flashing light is used by the emergency services to tell people to get out of the way whilst they save lives. They are not emotionally neutral. That bluetooth headphones use blue flashing lights to announce their wearer is listening to those headphones is not, how shall I put it, a polite choice of signal.

image: headphones

Such lights are not discrete. They draw attention in an uncomfortable way. They say urgence, they say look at me, they say get out of the way I’m more important than you. They do not say calm, they do not say nothing to worry about, they do not say their wearer has an adult ego.

They show off their wearers’ choice. They show off their wearers’ taste. Compared to real blue light users—the police, the ambulance, the fire—they are cheap, fake, and unjustifiably attention seeking. I cannot and will not use a pair of headphones that is the technology equivalent of a short skirt and no knickers.

One common solution is to tape over the look at me I’m a tart light. Unfortunately, that blue light can be useful. It tells you whether you’re connected. It tells you how a connection is progression. It tells you, when you hear no sound, whether the problem is the bluetooth connection, or something else. A tart in the bedroom is quite different to a tart on the streets.

Fortunately, not all bluetooth headphones are quite so tawdry. I’ve used, and continue to use, the Jabra Halo, and now the Jabra Halo 2, with my phone. These headphones are portable, they are pocketable, they are discrete, they are not embarrassing to wear in public.

They have a blue flashing light, but it sits on the inside when the headphones are worn. The light flashes its me–me–me at my ear, where it can’t be seen, not at random strangers. It is the only model of headphones I know that has this necessary requirement.

Most of my Halos have been black, but my current device is white. I prefer black. But I will happily wear a white pair if the alternative is none.

The headphones are small and slim. They fit on the ear. I can wear them for hours without discomfort. The sound quality is perfectly good, although I’m interested in the music, not the headphone’s dynamic perfection. The model also includes a microphone for phone calls, although I prefer not to.

The Halo is delicate, and rarely lasts with daily use for more than a year. The model has two problems: the power connection is fragile, so, after a lot of use, the phones stop taking power unless they and the power cable are connected in precisely the right way. The cloth covering the speakers tends to fall apart after a few months. If I was comfortable with telling the world that, in my own small way, I’m a self–centred, egotistical, me me me, I’ve have long since switched product.

But I keep buying them, despite these annoyances, because I’m no tart.