On a recent trip through the lobby of the Sheraton in downtown Toronto, I noticed these unusual rocking chairs. They have audio plugs and holders in the arm, and speakers behind the headrest. The idea is that you plug in your MP3 player, and you can listen to your music through the speakers in the chair.
While I was taking the pictures, one of the hotel staff told me that the chairs are really popular with guests. They are usually facing the interior courtyard (which has a waterfall and large trees), and guests can look out at the courtyard and relax to their own music.
I think this reflects a desire to be part of the social milieu at the same time as having a very personally engineered sound environment: headphones shut you out a bit too completely.
I noticed something similar while downhill skiing over the holidays. Many skiers now wear headphones, and ski jackets are sold with specialized pockets and wire carriers for this same purpose. But skiing is more social than it appears, and I witnessed several instances where the headphones were interfering with communication in small groups. One woman said to her companion: "I'm talking loud enough, your headphones are why you can't hear what I'm saying."