As far as I know, scientists have not conducted tests about the long-term effects of sustained exposure to podcasts. I don’t need statistics, though, to fuel my suspicions that walking around listening to other people’s voices all the time, and allowing that to become my default cognitive setting, has probably warped my way of thinking and sapped some creativity. How could the constant stream of content not train me to be a more passive thinker, a spectator of life? Listening to other people’s ideas all the time creates a buffer that might be keeping my own ideas submerged in my subconscious. Almost everything I think while mainlining Doughboys or The Dollop or The Daily is a surface-level reaction to whatever I’ve just heard. There had to be a cumulative effect of my brain functioning like a YouTube comments section.
Luckily, there was an easy way to find out whether being at Peak Podcast has taken a negative toll. All I had to do was hang up my headphones for a while. It was time for me to listen to something else: nothing.
The plan was to go on a two-week podcast fast. Two weeks may sound like laughably little time for such an experiment, but I was absolutely dreading it at the outset. It would be the longest I’d gone without a fix in nearly 10 years.
The other day I was watching a video on my iPad in my office, I paused it to go to the bathroom. I caught myself needing to grab my AirPods as soon as I pressed pause on the video so I can listen to a podcast for the 10 minutes I would be without some sort of media to consume.
I also can't fall asleep without listening to a podcast. My mind swirls with ideas, questions, fears, and just randomness that is a carnival in my mind. The only thing that helps me with it is listening to something that will drown those thoughts out.
Needless to say this article came to me at the right time. I've decided to take part in the challenge for two weeks myself starting Monday. I am sure I will write about it on here, but until then the only podcasts I will be listening to are the ones I will be recording and/or editing.