Two sets of my neighbors are quite quiet, but the other two are anything but. Though my building has anti-noise rules, they just state that there can't be loud music after 10pm or before 7am. The after-10pm aspect is definitely not enforced, but the real problem is the annoyance factor. There's no rule saying you can't play the same song 7 times in a row, or play the same half-dozen songs over & over every weekend night for 5 years, but your neighbor will definitely lose her mind if you do. For a long time, I would hide out in my slightly quieter bedroom/kitchen every night, but if there's one thing more annoying than paying San Francisco rent for a tiny apartment, it's only being able to use half of your tiny apartment.
And that's where headphones come in! I'm so glad I was given a pair, because it probably wouldn't have occurred to me to buy any, nor would I have known where to start. As it is, as soon as my neighbor-frustration starts to rise, it is quickly replaced by happy thoughts of my friend's thoughtfulness. And "Hips Don't Lie"-on-repeat is replaced by the sweet sounds of Chuck Bass' scheming.
Wearing headphones around the house still seems a bit ridiculous to me — I shouldn't have to — but oh, it makes my homelife so much happier. Have you ever had to do the same?