Headphones are the new rage among Ugandan youths

Samuel Lutwama moves around nodding his head in several directions as if he has been possessed by some demons.

On closer look, one notices that he is wearing a gleaming silver pair of headphones connected to his phone via Bluetooth.

He tells me he’s listening to a song, “Ice Cream” sang by one his favourite local artistes, Sheebah Karungi.

The headphones, he said, have become part and parcel of his daily life and he admits that he can’t live without them.

“They are the first things I put in my back pack when I am heading to work,” says Lutwama, 26, an IT specialist at one of the local TV stations.

He says enjoys listening to music via headphones, especially if they are of good quality.

“They say music soothes the soul. Sometimes, the day can be very hectic and the only way to relax is by listening to some good music,” he says.

This particular set of headphones, Sony, set him back by $50 (roughly Shs 170,000). He has owned other brands before but he believes so far this set is the best.

“The sound quality is great and they easy on the ear,” Lutwama says.

Sarah Katusiime, 22, a young aspiring journalist, too, is fond of her headphones. She says she completed her diploma course two years ago and does some freelance writing for one of the newspapers.

Yet she has found trouble getting a stable job. So when the going gets tough, her set of blue headphones give her a temporary escape route out of her troubles.

“I feel good when I am listening to music through my headphones. I forget my troubles,” she says.

Whether relaxing at home, in a taxi or jogging around her neighbourhood in Naalya, Katusiime regularly wears her headphones.

She says she is a huge fan of Nigerian music and her favourite artiste is Wizkid.

The headphone craze among the youths in urban centres of Kampala has become a phenomenon and a concern for some.

Every where you look, you are likely to spot a young man or woman spotting headphones.

The economic status does not matter because there are so many brands of headphones with varying prices.

The most popular brand of headphones in Uganda are; JBL, Sony, Philips and Beats by Dre.

Some headphones are connected to the phones via a wire but many youth prefer those that can be connected via Bluetooth.

Yet some motorists say these headphone wearing youths have become a menace to other road users.

Tom Kayongo, a taxi driver said on many occasions he has had to quarrel with some of these youths who do not exercise care while using the road while listening to music at the same time.

“Sometimes when you hoot, they don’t hear the car horn. They just cross the road carelessly because their minds are somewhere else,” Kayongo, 45, said.

Health experts however caution that prolonged wearing of headphones can have harmful side effects.

According to www.columbiaindiahospitals.com, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around a billion young people across the globe could be at the risk of suffering hearing loss due to “unsafe listening habits, they practice through earphones.”

This, experts say, is not necessarily caused by the volume of the headphones but also the long duration for which the earphones are used.

Some of the side effects of using headphones for prolonged periods are: dizziness, excessive ear wax, ear infections and effect on the brain.

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