5 Tips to Extend the Lifespan of Your Headphones

So, you love your new headphones. Then the thought crosses your mind, These werent cheap. I do hope they last!. Well, there is good news! By following these basic tips, you can extend the life of your favorite cans.  

How Headphones and Earbuds Die

First, lets look at how headphones look and behave at the end of their days.

Headphones usually meet their end due to one of the following circumstances:

Battery degradation: All devices with built-in batteries lose the ability to hold a charge over time. 

Water damage: Headphones and Earbuds without water resistance often die from exposure to humidity and water.  

Physical damage: All rough handling such as wire yanking, throwing, dropping, or over-extending the headband can lead to the early death of your headphones.  

They were never built to last: headphones and earbuds made with cheap plastic, rubber, or foam simply dont last long.

At this point, users usually experience one of the following:

  •     Crackling sounds
  •     Reduced maximum volume
  •     Reduced battery life
  •     Unexpected shutdown
  •     Connectivity issues: Bluetooth dropouts, digital artifacts in the sound

To avoid all of the above, here are tips to avoid the early end of your favorite headphones.

Tip 1) Handle with Care – Use the Case!

To extend the lifespan of your headphones, its crucial to handle them with care.  

The best thing you can do is to store them securely in a dedicated case to protect them from physical damage. Remembering to do this will extend the life of your headphones more than anything else you do.  

Always store them in a dedicated case that fits well, ensuring its not too tight or too loose. A hard case provides the best protection against physical impacts, while a soft case can only prevent scratches and dust accumulation. Try not to tightly wrap the cables; instead, use the over-under coiling method to prevent stress and tangling.

Secondly, be gentle with them. If your headphones or earbuds are wired, avoid pulling on the cables when unplugging; instead, kindly grasp the plug to prevent strain on the internal wiring. And, obviously, avoid dropping them or placing heavy things on top of them.  

Additionally, ensure the hinges and moving parts operate smoothly to avoid stressing the connections.

Tip 2) Choose Wisely

As we discussed earlier, a lot of headphones dont last simply because they were never meant to last.

Build quality will usually determine how long your headphones or earbuds will last.  

If you want a pair that will last, look for headphones that are built with quality materials. Steel frames and heavy-duty plastic are good signs. How does the material of the ear pads feel? Are the parts assembled with stable hinges and swivels?

When researching, look for quality guides to headphones (link to: with honest reviews by real people. This is a good start to assess build quality and warranty coverage.

 Tip 3) Clean Them

 Regular cleaning is vital for maintaining your headphones’ performance and hygiene. Wipe the earpads and cables with a soft, damp cloth after each use to remove dust, sweat, and oils. 

For a deeper clean, use alcohol or soapy water on removable parts. Prevent earwax buildup on the driver units by gently brushing them and using compressed air to clear debris from the headphone jacks. 

Clean headphones not only last longer but also provide a better listening experience and reduce the risk of ear infections.

Tip 4) Avoid Extremes – Volume, Dust, Moisture, Heat, Cold.

Moderate usage with headphones just means using common sense.

Keep the volume at reasonable levels to prevent damage to the headphone drivers and protect your hearing. Keep in mind that your ears will adjust to volume adjustments. If it sounds too quiet, give your ears a moment to adjust to the new level.  

Avoid exposing headphones to extreme environments, such as excessive dust, moisture, or high temperatures. For outdoor activities or workouts, consider using headphones with a high IP rating to withstand harsh conditions.

Tip 5) Do Regular Check Ups

Like your teeth, headphones benefit from regular check ups.  This attention will ensure your headphones remain in top condition. 

The best way to approach it is a simple periodic check of your earpads, earbuds, or cables. 

If a hinge is loose or a cable is frayed, address any issues promptly. A stitch in time really does save nine in this case.

Keeping up with maintenance tasks, such as cleaning and checking for damage, helps prevent small problems from becoming major issues, thus extending the overall lifespan of your headphones.

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