Unplug for Safety
Headphones, earbuds and airpods are a fixture in today's society. Whether you use them to make phone calls, listen to a playlist, stream podcast or music, or enjoy an audiobook, these little devices are both handy and potentially dangerous.
Many people have told me that they wear headphones/earbuds at the gym, on public transit, or while walking/running, since they are a visual deterrent that signals, "leave me alone." Others say that listening to loud music boosts their energy or helps them stay "in their zone" while working out, doing yardwork, etc. Assuming the people you encounter when you're plugged in all have good intentions and the same social expectations you do, that works out nicely.
However, you make yourself a potential target by taking away the early warning system your hearing provides. The very method you're using to ensure your personal space can show a potential assailant that you're "tuned out" and may not be able to react quickly to an attack.
If you're in a safe place, enjoy your music or audiobook...but if you're not, forgo the headphones, or at the very least, use a single earbud and keep the volume low.
Staying aware and alert is the best self defense.