Fighter pilots are not allowed to carry electronic devices with them. This includes music players. The chances of a gadget interfering with on-board avionics are pretty slim, but it could happen.
However, many fighter pilots break this rule. Especially on long (and boring) ferry flights. They simply receive headphones that do not conflict with the radio headphones of the helmet.
Lynn Taylor, former A-10 pilot, joint firepower and ALO course instructor at the US Air Force (1995-2005), recalls on Quora;
‘I…um, “someone I know”…had a “patch cord” (courtesy of a savvy comms guy in exchange for a case of his favorite). It plugged between the oxygen hose communication connection and the jet communication socket. There was a toggle switch that allowed me to plug a music player into the headset.
“I’ve only used it a few times, and even then only on cross-country flights where the only thing to do was enjoy the scenery. We had a frequency between flights that I could pass on to share tunes with the wingmen, but it required holding the mic button down all the time. Every time we started to approach congested airspace, I would turn it off to make sure we didn’t miss anything from traffic control Aerial.
“At any other time, you really don’t want anything distracting. Any other type of mission, training or otherwise, takes a lot of work. Especially in combat, you don’t want any more distractions than those already thrown at you.
“Another note…anytime we had an oil tanker dragging us across the pond, it was good when we had a KC-10. They often had music that they inserted into the formation frequency, which really helped on long flights.
Photo credit: Ken Hackman / US Air Force