Earbud Buddies

music_11000118724-1013intWhen your music loving teenager shares his earbuds with a friend, does this provide fertile ground for germs to blossom into a nasty infection? Lisa Sturm, director of Infection Control and Epidemiology at the University of Michigan Health System, decided to investigate this waxing scenario.

Sturm cited a 2008 study in India that followed 50 medical students as they shared earbuds. The research found that among frequent users of earbuds, bacterial growth was significantly higher in the ears and on the earbuds, compared with people who used the earbuds infrequently. Even though this type of sharing can transfer bacteria to another person, Sturm says, “that study did not look at infections, just the presence of bacteria—which our bodies are covered in (WSJ).”

Sturm suggests that before sharing earbuds, they should be wiped with a disinfectant such as a cotton ball soaked in isopropyl alcohol. Thinking about Sturm’s suggestions, I wonder: Should we also disinfectant what we hear?

The Mayo Clinic sees a correlation in positive thinking and optimism on good health. These benefits include:

• Increased life span
• Lower rates of depression
• Lower levels of distress
• Greater resistance to the common cold
• Better psychological and physical well-being
• Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
• Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

The value of filtering what you hear and say is some of the practical wisdom found in Proverbs: “Listen, my child, and accept my words, so that the years of your life will be many. I will guide you in the way of wisdom and I will lead you in upright paths (Proverbs 4:10-11).”

Solomon also said you should incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding (Proverbs 2:2). He contrasts this for us in Ecclesiastes: It is better for a person to receive a rebuke from those who are wise than to listen to the song of fools. For like the crackling of quick-burning thorns under a cooking pot, so is the laughter of the fool. This kind of folly also is useless (Eccl. 7:5-6).”

What fills your ears? Do you listen to the “song of fools” or the rules of righteousness?

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