Headphones or Earplugs? Both!

Listen up! Today’s world is full of noise. There are few places left where silence is not drowned out by a cacophony of chaos coming from cars, construction and conversations. While many do not realize the damage decibels can do to one’s hearing and attention span, some are more conscientious about their auditory health. Construction workers, shooters, and athletes, etc. usually wear some form of hearing protection to help defend against deafening decibels.

Thankfully, not all sound is considered ‘noise-pollution’. Personally, I long for personal moments of musical escape from the daily doldrums. When I don my iPod and headphones I can choose my noise with poise. It’s my personal reverie against the raucous revelry. A quality pair of noise-cancelling headphones works wonders, too. However, the more noise you need to ignore, the more bucks you’ll have to spend to better block it.

Music and audio-books are also great for inspiration and motivation during the perspiration of a work-out or yard-work. Tunes help tune-out the world while on a bike, hike, road-trip, or preparing for slumber with calming chords to count sheep by.

Emotional noise can be just as distracting and damaging as external noise. It’s often the noise you hear when you yell at yourself for a mistake, or can’t sleep because your mind keeps playing the same sounds from regrets, debts and sorrows—over and over, like a broken record that you can’t seem to shut-off or unplug.

Sometimes, you may allow other people’s broken records to play in your mind and override your life’s encouraging soundtrack. Do not allow yourself, or others to treat you poorly because they lack the ability, or empathy to truly listen. Put your emotional earplugs in and move on. Of course, it’s the nice, empowering things people say when you wish you had a recording of their words to replay whenever the world gets too loud or depressing.

Even with the proper sound-proofing, we all need occasional lessons in listening. It’s easy to hear or block out random noise, but we need to learn to speak and listen deeper, not just louder. When someone is speaking to us, especially during a difficult moment in their life, we need to take off our earplugs and really plug into what they’re saying. 

These are the times we learn to use our heart-phones to make a difference in someone else’s life. Too often, we ignore another’s pain because we don’t want to interfere, or make things worse. And we think that saying, “Call me if you need anything” is enough. That sounds nice, but rarely does it ever suffice.

May we all learn to listen and speak more responsibly, respectfully and confidently. Don’t let the depth of our deafness leave making a difference in this world to deference. No matter who you are, or where you are, you can make a difference. By learning to listen you can lessen the burdens of someone today, perhaps even yourself.

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