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George and His Search for Earphones

2024-04-09 00:00:00 / episode: 381


I’m going to tell you the story of George and his quirky and suspicious search for the best earphones. Along the way, I want you to pick up some new vocabulary that I used in this story.

Hi, and welcome to the Les Perras podcast episode number 381. Today’s episode is about earphones, told as a story about George.

Gain and Loss

A couple of weeks ago, George got himself a new smartphone. He was pretty happy with it but about a day after getting it, he lost his earphones. Now, George likes to think he is a very intelligent consumer but he overlooks one thing: he is a bit neurotic but I’ll tell you more about that later. Anyway, he noticed that earphones were becoming pretty stylish. He wanted to get earphones with great style to complement his personality.


He looked at some of the wireless earphones first. He thought they would be great because they looked so convenient. He did a bit of research on them and then found one of his fears was true: they were easy to lose. He had already lost one pair of earphones. As I said, he was a bit neurotic, and he thought if he got wireless earphones he would lose them too. So he started looking at wired bud earphones.


He soon found a problem with the bud earphones. It wasn’t that they were too small to be stylish. In fact, he rather liked the minimalist style of the bud earphones. The problem wasn’t that they didn’t fit well. His last earphones were bud earphones and he knew they fit well. And it wasn’t the cost. Most of the bud earphones he was looking at were pretty reasonable.

The problem was infection. The bud earphones fit right inside the ear canal. He read that as the popularity of bud earphones increased, so did the incidence of ear infections. There was no hard proof that the bud earphones caused infection.
But in fact, some hearing aids that fit in the ear canal have been proven to change the ear canal flora and increase the risk of infections. Like I said, George was a bit neurotic. This was enough to provoke his anxieties, and George stopped shopping for bud earphones. He confirmed his fears when he read about hearing loss.

Hearing Loss

George read that sounds of 80 decibels or higher can cause hearing loss. The higher the volume the faster you lose your hearing, he read. And earbud earphones are like fire hoses pumping the sound directly into your ear. So he looked for a solution to prevent hearing loss. One of the better ideas he found was the bone conduction earphones. They don’t even put the sound in your ear. They conduct the sound into your hearing centre through the bones in your skull. George also realised they were safer because of this: if he had bone conduction earphones,he could still hear things in his environment like cars or signal sounds or other people talking. This safety feature was a big plus for George.

Big Style

But George didn’t buy the bone conduction earphones. He thought there had to be some drawback, some problem. Then he found it. Hi fi sound aficionados did not like them because the quality of sound was lower. George discovered that these high quality sound fans only used headphones to listen to their favourite music. George’s neurotic thinking made him feel if he got bone conduction earphones, he would suffer from poor quality sound. The headphones were not quite as safe as the bone conduction earphones, but they were safer than bud earphones. And almost like a bonus for George, headphones were making a stylish comeback. That was it. George found the answer to his problems and bought the headphones. He felt good.