I see them everywhere… People trekking across campus, oblivious to the world because theyâ€™ve got their headphones on and their iPod rocking. From the year 2005 to 2006, the number of people who own digital music players more than tripled, booming from eight percent to 27 percent.
And why wouldnâ€™t we love them?
They allow us to escape life for a few minutes and enjoy something we loveâ€¦ while not having to do anything but press a button.
The danger comes when we escape for longer than a few minutes.
In fact, experts say that listening to music through earbuds for more than an hour a day can damage ears in a hurry.
Earbuds are particularly harmful because they are inserted into the ear, dangerously close to the fragile inner ear.
They are a far cry from resting on the outside of the ear like the foam-covered phones we all wore in the 90s whilst rocking out to Bon Jovi on our Walkmans.
Aside from the impending hearing loss however, there lurks a larger and more disturbing issue in this writerâ€™s opinion.
It concerns me that my generation seems so desperate to escape the life that goes on around it.
Everybodyâ€™s either got their ears plugged by earbuds or their mouth running to a friend over the phone.
Iâ€™ll admit, I tend toward the organic.
I believe that God intended life to be a certain way, and that way makes people the happiest.
And I believe weâ€™re very far from that way.
We regularly consume MSGs and preservatives. We take the elevator instead of the stairs.
Our children are obese while others around the world die from starvation daily.
I sit for hours and stare at the television when I could be biking, gardening or just enjoying a sunset.
I know itâ€™s crazy to think someone might experience life in such a romantic, mindful way, but I believe that is what life is all about.
By pumping high-decibel music into our ears all day, we are causing literal deafness in addition to the deafness of soul from which we already suffer.
And while the damage we suffer from abusing our bodies might be permanent, the abuse our souls have undergone can be reversed over time.
As The Verve would have it, itâ€™s a bittersweet symphony, this life. Letâ€™s unplug our ears and listen for it.