Opinion: I’m all ears


We’re about to travel to the West Coast and I dread the long plane flight. I have some interesting audio books but listening to them requires either headphones or earbuds. Mary Ellen says if I wear headphones, it will look like I’m making fun of the guys who flag the plane into the gate.

My earbuds are terrible. I’ve lost the foam covers, so now they don’t stay in place. If the right one falls out and dangles alongside my neck, the left one loosens and lands in my beverage. Often, when I’m riding my bicycle, the entire wire falls and gets tangled in the greasy chain. Once, when I was driving my car, I leaned over to get something out of my glove compartment, hooked the wire on my gear shift and almost strangled myself.

I thought I was alone in my plight but apparently there are others suffering in silence. Literally. According to a New York Times article, many people have a disorder called “earbud cartilage deficiency syndrome,” known as ECDS. If you’re looking for a good laugh at a cocktail party, you really need to say all those complete words out loud. My wife doesn’t have this problem, by the way. She is cartilaginously well-endowed and, I am proud to say, it is all natural.

One techie website reports that people with this problem lack an antitragus in the ear canal, which is “a small tubercle that points anteriorly and is separated from the tragus by the intertragic notch.” Sorry to bore you with the obvious.

I want these earbuds, as described on eBay: “Full metal housing, cold forged from solid aluminum, anodized, with a full spectrum of hyper-balanced micro drivers.” Or, were they describing a lunar module?

One website sells a pack of earbuds in three assorted sizes. OK, some people have two different-sized ears — I get that. But the market for three mismatched ears has limited sales potential.

I should stop obsessing about this. I’m already dealing with failing vision, sinus problems and a receding hairlineI don’t need to be distracted by side issues.