Soapbox: When one side of earphones break

Image Credit: Laoise Tarrant

I’ll be honest, there are few things keeping me sane right now, and music is one of them. So forgive me if this may sound just slightly melodramatic, but I have completely lost any and all patience for earphones which break in one ear.

I’m sure you all know the story. You buy some wired earphones somewhere and one day you wake up to the surprise reveal that, unless you have the cable at just the right angle, the music can only be heard in one ear. Switching them around to rule out selective deafness, this situation usually ends with me trying to tie the cable in a knot around my phone so that the perfect angle is maintained as long as possible. Pretty soon though all hope is lost, as nothing short of atomic precision has music flowing to both ears.

I will say, there was a time when all this was still a novelty to me. One of those unfortunate facts of life, like when the bus disappears off the app and never shows up. But recently, after giving it some thought, I have decided that this situation is altogether unacceptable. I looked into tangle-free, durable earphones, going above and beyond the 15 euro limit I had historically set myself for something as small as earphones. Expecting that the price would mean quality. I was, of course, sorely mistaken, and all that increased was my unrelenting rage as I was once again unable to listen to more than half of a Beatles song. I researched repair shops, but couldn’t find anything even close to affordable. In a moment of madness, I even looked into learning to repair them myself, but ultimately stopped short when I caught myself with a basket full of repair tools costing far too much, and neither the time nor patience to follow through.

Of course, all these issues have only been made all the worse recently as it seems the whole world has switched over to wireless earphones. Now I can’t even complain about my woes without someone dismissing my ire with a remark about AirPods or some cheaper alternative. But I like the cable. I want to be able to plug my earphones into my laptop or old mp3 player or whatever else I damn please without worrying about Bluetooth connectivity or battery drain. If we can make earphones that don’t even need cables then surely, surely we have the technology to make earphones that just don’t fall apart after a month of use. There are robots on Mars and people orbiting the planet in a box of aluminium, and yet my earphones can’t be made to survive a few trips squished up in my pockets. I refuse to believe this is the case. I refuse to believe that this problem could be caused by anything other than a massive conspiracy. A nebulous scheme to have me constantly buying some new pair of earphones, desperately hoping that this time they might just last me till the end of the year. Knowing in my heart of hearts, that they never will.