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The Pioneer

Headphones, Earbuds, and a Connection to Reality

Martin Parr / Magnum

We all know that feeling. You spot your friend in the hallway and call out to them. But they did not hear you. You call again, and again, and still no response. Embarrassing! Now you had to run up to them and tap them on the shoulder to have them turn around and notice you finally. And what was standing between you and your friend? Their earbuds were blasting at 100%. 

With technology being at its peak, our generation is losing its connection with reality. In the hallways, most students walk around with earbuds or headphones at max volume completely oblivious to their surroundings. For some, music may be essential to their day, but it can be dangerous to always be plugged in. And if students are always listening to music at school, then it is only imaginable that they are outside of school too. 


Dangers of Headsets


Although overhead headphones are safer, the duration of usage can still do damage and is irreversible. When sound waves enter the ear, the fluid in your ear vibrates, making the cilia, tiny hairs in your ear, vibrate. When those hairs are repeatedly exposed to loud noise, it causes loss of vibration sensitivity and in turn can damage your hearing. Predictably, long usage will lead to symptoms like tinnitus, hearing loss, cerebral blood vessel rupture, excessive earwax, and even fatigue, a lack of focus, and ear infections. 

For some, these risks should be alarming, but for others, you’re probably thinking, “That’s not the worst,” but in the long term, you will pay for it so it is important to be aware of such risks now and to know how to monitor such audio usage. 


Attention to surroundings is important and with your earbuds blasting you lose that awareness. Even if it seems unlikely, you should always be alert. Especially when crossing the streets or walking when it’s dark, you need to be proactive and alert because anything is bound to happen. Taking out your headsets for a few minutes to cross a street or two could save your life. 


Food, water, and social interaction. These are innate necessities for a human being. But our technological advancements have only strained our relationships with one another and our awareness of ourselves in society. Social interaction is fundamental to growing a stronger understanding of oneself and others. It decreases our likelihood of feeling lonely and can increase our happiness. In school, it’s important to stay engaged to stay educated, and learn that happiness can come from a simple interaction with a peer. 


So what? 

With an ever-changing society, we must stay alert at all times and value our social interactions. Headsets have their benefits, like helping one stay focused while doing an assignment or providing a space of happiness from their music, but we must be able to disengage from always being plugged in and retrieving that connection to the world around us. 

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