They who have an ear, let them hear (you don’t have a choice)

There is a new humanitarian crisis plaguing us.

We know that wars, rumours of wars, and the resulting displacement of human souls is a crisis.

We know that the careless treatment of Earth, our home, and its streams and oceans and forests affects human health and the health and safety of our non-human friends.

We know that pockets of human civilization lack food, clean water, and clothing.

Did you know that there is yet another humanitarian crisis to be on our hands?

Many humans now lack headphones and earbuds.

How can this be? Headphones and earbuds are available in nearly every shopping mall, airport lounge, and online catalog. They often come packaged with $1,000+ iPhones or even the most gaudy or gimmicky smartphones.

But, it’s true – there is a stunning shortage of headphones and earbuds on this planet. And this fact is evident if you pay attention when out and about in public places. Actually, you do not even have to pay much attention at all to become alert to this issue – the crisis forces itself upon your conscience.

To find this crisis, do this: sit on a bench, or on public transportation, or a cafe – any public place – and you will hear the crisis, screaming, and begging for help. You will hear the abrupt start and stop of clickbait videos, foreign chants and prayers, or FaceTime chats erupting from mobile devices; you will hear – yea, you may be a participant of – a FaceTime conversation between one person within you immediate sphere of comfort, suffering without headphones, and the other seen through the mobile device, often shirtless and likely still in bed; you will hear the bells and whistles, tingles and tangles of Candy Crush or other imitation games, and by hearing you will recognise that the sufferer is a very, very bad mobile games player.

The crisis has been working in the shadows for so long that the sufferers are unaware they have succumbed to the social and mental side effects brought by the absence of headphones. They cannot be brought to shame when auto-playing vulgar- or lowbrow-humour-ridden videos from their Facebook feeds. No stones are left unturned and no skeletons remain in the closet when video chats are publicly displayed for all to hear. Despite this, ironically, there is still unbearable embarrassment and panic when Miley Cyrus announces to the world through her 2013 hit single Wrecking Ball that that soccer mom sitting behind you has an incoming phone call.

Help me bring attention to this crisis; together, we can alleviate the shame and noise pollution beset upon us. Gather your unused and tangled iPhone earbuds, part ways with your overpriced Beats headphones and give them to a person in need. Give them to that poor soul who is forced to play Forge of Empires on full blast. Lend them to the bereaved who do not have the privilege of carrying private conversations through the privacy of their own headphones (they may even be so physically weak that they cannot hoist the six ounce phone to their ear – spot them a lift).


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