When you could consider wearing them
Despite the dangers, there are some exceptions where it might be appropriate to wear headphones, depending on the legality of these exceptions in your home state (see table above).
If you’re using one earbud for a call
If you do need to take a call while driving, wearing a single earbud so you can take the call hands-free is better than picking up your phone. While it’s still not recommended, if you’re going to do it, it’s better to do it in a slightly safer manner.
Many states do allow you to drive with just one earbud in, but know that if an accident occurs, there’s still a chance you could be cited for distracted driving.
If you’re hearing impaired
Hearing aids and any device that helps the hearing impaired are not considered headphones or earpieces, so the wearer shouldn’t be concerned about being fined if an accident occurs.
When you’re job requires it
Construction workers, garbage collectors and emergency vehicle operators often use headsets to communicate with each other in loud situations. They’re often exempt from the headphone rule since their equipment is helping them do their jobs properly.