If you like to listen to music, podcasts, or ebooks, headphones are probably an important part of your daily life. However, like all electronic devices, headphones are not invincible and will eventually wear out.
This leads many people to wonder: how long do headphones last? This answer is complicated because it relies on usage, care, and headphones quality.
In this blog, we’ll explore these factors and try to provide some guidance on how long you can expect your headphones to last.
So, if you’re curious about the lifespan of your headphones or want to know how to extend their longevity, keep reading!
- 1 4 Factors That Affect Your Headphone’s Lifespan
- 2 Tips to Care for In-Ear and Wireless Headphones
- 3 How to Make Over-the-Ear Headphones Last Longer?
- 4 How to Increase the Lifespan of Wired Headphones
- 5 Recommended Durable Headphones
- 6 FAQs
- 7 Conclusion
4 Factors That Affect Your Headphone’s Lifespan
Type of Headphones
The type of headphones you use can significantly impact your lifespan. There are three primary types of headphones: in-ear, on-ear, and over-ear. In-ear headphones, also known as earbuds, are the smallest and most compact type.
They fit snugly in the ear canal and are generally more affordable than other headphones. But because they are small and fragile, they are also the most likely to get broken. The wires can easily become tangled or damaged, and the earbuds themselves can break or get lost.
On-ear headphones, as the name suggests, rest on the outer part of the ear. They are more significant than in-ear headphones and provide better sound quality.
However, they are still relatively compact and prone to damage. The ear pads can wear down over time, and the wires can become tangled or damaged, reducing lifespan.
Over-ear headphones are the largest type of headphones, with ear cups that completely cover the ears. They sound the best and are the most comfortable to use for long amounts of time.
They are also the most durable and less prone to damage from drops or impacts. However, the ear pads can still wear down over time, and the wires can become tangled or damaged, reducing lifespan.
Metal and premium plastic are used to make high-end headphones. They are also manufactured with more attention to detail, ensuring they are less prone to defects or failures.
Cheaper headphones, on the other hand, use lower-quality materials and are constructed fast. They are more prone to defects or failures, which can significantly reduce their lifespan.
Finally, maintenance and care are crucial factors that affect headphones’ lifespan. Regular cleaning and maintenance can help keep your headphones in good condition and extend their lifespan.
For instance, to remove earwax and other debris, wipe in-ear headphones with a soft cloth or cotton swab.
Over-ear headphones should also be cleaned regularly, particularly the ear pads. If the ear pads wear down or become damaged, they can be replaced, extending the headphones’ lifespan. Wires and cables should also be handled carefully to prevent tangling or damage.
The frequency of use also affects the lifespan of headphones. Headphones used frequently are more likely to wear down or break over time.
In-ear and on-ear headphones, which are more fragile, are especially susceptible to breakage. Over-ear headphones, which are more durable, can withstand more frequent use.
To prolong the life of your headphones, take breaks from using them. It’s also crucial to store them properly when not in use, such as in a protective case or on a headphone stand.
Tips to Care for In-Ear and Wireless Headphones
Inspect the Battery Regularly
Inspecting the battery in your in-ear or wireless headphones is relatively simple, and you don’t need any special tools or equipment. Here are some tips on how to do it correctly:
Check the battery level
Most wireless headphones have a battery indicator showing the battery level. Check the battery level frequently to know when to charge the headphones. Consistently low battery levels may indicate degradation.
Look for physical signs of damage
Check the battery for leaks, bulges, or cracks that could mean it is broken. If you notice these signs, stop using the headphones immediately and dispose of them properly. Do not attempt to repair the battery yourself, as this can be dangerous.
Clean the battery contacts
Over time, the battery contacts in your headphones can accumulate dirt, dust, or other debris. This can make it hard for your headphones to charge and shorten their battery life. To prevent this, use a soft cloth or cotton swab to clean the battery contacts regularly.
Use the headphones regularly
Regular use of your headphones can help prolong the life of the battery. This is because the battery in your headphones is designed to be used and discharged regularly. If you leave your headphones unused for extended periods, the battery may deteriorate faster.
Do Not Ignore the Case
To ensure your headphones remain in good condition with case, follow these tips:
- Use the case: Always store your in-ear or wireless headphones in their case when you’re not using them. The case will protect them from dust, moisture, and accidental damage.
- Keep the case clean: The case can also accumulate dirt and grime over time. Clean it regularly with a damp cloth or a cleaning solution recommended by the manufacturer.
- Avoid extreme temperatures: Do not expose your headphones and their case to extreme temperatures, such as direct sunlight, hot car interiors, or freezing temperatures. Extreme temperatures can damage the electronics and battery life of your headphones.
- Use the right case: Ensure you’re using the right case that came with your headphones or a compatible one recommended by the manufacturer. Using a case that is too small or too big can damage the headphones or prevent them from fitting snugly.
- Handle the case with care: Do not drop or mishandle the case, as this can cause damage to your headphones. Always handle it gently and avoid placing heavy objects on top of it.
Schedule Monthly Cleaning
In-ear and wireless headphones need regular cleaning to maintain sound quality and longevity.
Daily cleaning helps prevent filth and sweat buildup, but monthly cleaning can keep your headphones in great shape. Here are some tips for monthly cleaning of your in-ear and wireless headphones:
- Gather the right supplies: You will need a microfiber cloth, cotton swabs, rubbing alcohol, and a small brush. You can also use a toothbrush or a specialized headphone cleaning kit.
- Remove the ear tips and nozzles: If your in-ear headphones have detachable ear tips, remove them and clean them separately. Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove wax or debris from the nozzles.
- Clean the cables and controls: Avoid damaging the cables or controls by wiping them off with a microfiber cloth. You can use a toothbrush or a small brush to scrub away any spots or dirt that won’t come off.
- Sanitize the ear tips: Soak them for a few minutes in a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and water to clean them. Before reattaching them to the headphones, wash them and let them dry.
- Store the headphones properly: After cleaning and drying them, store them in a clean, dry place away from heat and moisture. Avoid wrapping the cables too tightly, as this can damage them over time.
How to Make Over-the-Ear Headphones Last Longer?
Use a Protective Bag/Case
Protective bags/cases are designed to protect headphones from scratches, dust, moisture, and other damage during storage and transportation.
Electronics stores and internet retailers sell them in leather, neoprene, and silicone.
It is important to choose a protective bag or case that is the right size for your headphones. Too big or too little a bag or case may let the headphones slide about and break.
Once you have a protective bag/case, it is essential to use it regularly. Store your headphones in the bag/case when you are not using them. This will help to protect them from dust and other environmental factors that can cause damage.
Use a protective bag/case while traveling headphones in a backpack or suitcase. This will help to prevent scratches and other damage that can occur during transit.
A bag/case can protect your headphones and prevent cord tangling, extending their lifespan. The cords might get tangled and wear out if headphones aren’t stored properly.
Inspect the Charging Ports
The charging port is the point of connection between your headphones and the power source. This is where you plug in the charger cable to charge the headphones. If the port is damaged or malfunctioning, your headphones won’t charge or work.
Follow these simple procedures to check your headphones’ charging ports:
- Turn off your headphones and unplug the charging cable.
- Use a flashlight to examine the charging port for visible damage or debris.
- Use a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush to gently clean the port of dirt, dust, and debris. Be careful not to scratch the surface of the port or push debris further inside.
- If the port is damaged, it’s best to take your headphones to a professional for repair.
To prevent damage to your charging port, you should also be mindful of how you handle your headphones. Avoid bending or twisting the charging cable, and never force the cable into the port. Keep your headphones away from moisture and extreme temperatures, which can damage the internal components.
You may prolong the life of your over-the-ear headphones by routinely examining and caring for their charging ports.
Clean the Ear Padding
Over-the-ear headphones let people listen to high-quality music without bothering other people. These headphones come with ear padding that provides comfort and blocks outside noise.
- First, remove the ear padding from the headphones. This can be done by gently pulling the padding away from the headphones. Over-the-ear headphones usually include detachable padding, however, some require a screwdriver. Check your headphone manual for instructions on how to remove the ear padding.
- Next, use a soft cloth or sponge to clean the ear padding. You can use mild soap, detergent, and warm water to clean the padding. Gently rub the padding with the cloth or sponge, being careful not to damage the material. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as these can damage the padding.
- After cleaning the padding, rinse it thoroughly with clean water and let it dry completely. Do not wear the padding back on the headphones until completely dry. Putting the padding back on the headphones when it is still wet can damage the headphones and reduce their lifespan.
Ensure You Clean the Inner Components Thoroughly
Over-the-ear headphones have speakers, ear cushions, headbands, and cables. Dirt, sweat, and earwax can build up on these components, lowering sound quality, discomfort, and even damage. Therefore, regular cleaning is essential to keep them in top condition.
- The first step is to remove any visible debris from the ear cushions and headband, such as dirt or dust. You can gently wipe away the dirt with a soft-bristled brush or a dry cloth. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could scratch the surface of the headphones.
- Next, remove the ear cushions and clean them thoroughly. Most ear cushions are removable and can be washed with mild soap and water. Be sure to dry them completely before reattaching them to the headphones.
- Use a microfibre cloth or a soft-bristled brush to remove any dirt or dust from the speaker drivers. Be careful not to touch the speaker drivers directly, as this could damage them. A cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol can gently remove tenacious dirt.
- Finally, check the cables for any signs of wear or damage. If you see any frayed or exposed wires, it’s best to repair them right away to stop more damage.
Cleaning inner components improves over-the-ear headphones’ sound quality, comfort, and lifespan.
It is recommended to clean your headphones at least once a week or more often if you use them frequently or in sweaty environments. You may enjoy your favorite music for years by taking care of your over-the-ear headphones.
How to Increase the Lifespan of Wired Headphones
Don’t Play with the Wires
First, you should know that the wires in your headphones are fragile and can be broken easily. Pulling or twisting the wires can break or fray them, resulting in poor sound quality or headphones breaking.
To avoid damaging the wires, handling your headphones with care is important. Always hold the jack when unplugging your headphones from a device rather than pulling on the wire.
Instead of tossing your headphones in a purse or pocket where they can get tangled, store them in a case.
Another way to prevent damage to your wired headphones is to avoid playing with the wires while wearing them. Many people do this, like tinkering with the wires while talking on the phone or listening to music. However, this can strain the wires unnecessarily and cause damage over time.
To break this habit, keep your hands busy with something else while wearing your headphones, such as holding a book or using a stress ball. You can also try to focus on the audio you are listening to rather than the wires themselves.
In addition to avoiding playing with the wires, cleaning your headphones regularly is important. Wipe the earbuds and wire with a soft, dry cloth to remove dirt or debris. This will help maintain the sound quality and prevent any damage to the wires.
Invest in Cable Guards
Cable protectors wrap around headphones’ cords to protect them and enhance their longevity. Most electronics stores and internet vendors sell them in rubber, silicone, or plastic.
Not only do cable guards increase the lifespan of your headphones, but they also improve the overall listening experience. With cable protectors, you may enjoy high-quality music without disturbance from tangled cords.
Another benefit of investing in cable guards is that they can be easily replaced if damaged or worn out over time. This means you can continue protecting your headphones without buying a new set.
Avoid Using the Headphones When Charging
One of the main reasons you shouldn’t use wired headphones while charging is that they can damage the battery. Using headphones while charging can damage the battery because the battery creates heat.
Overheating shortens the battery’s lifespan and requires regular replacement.
The use of wired headphones while charging can strain the cable. Using headphones while charging can weaken and damage the wire. Poor sound quality, distorted sound, or headphones failure can result.
To increase the lifespan of your wired headphones, it’s important to avoid using them while charging. Instead, let them charge fully and then unplug them before using them. This will help prevent overheating and reduce the strain on the cable, which can help increase your headphones’ lifespan.
Track Usage Duration
Keep track of how often you use your wired headphones. This is one of the most important things you can do to make them last longer.
Before they notice wear and tear, many people use their headphones for hours every day. By keeping track of your usage duration, you can better understand when your headphones need to be replaced or repaired.
To track your usage duration, start by keeping a log of when you use your headphones and for how long. Writing down the date and time you start and end using your headphones can do this.
You can also use an app or software program to track your usage automatically. Smartphone and computer apps can track headphone use, revealing listening habits.
Recommended Durable Headphones
Choose durable headphones by considering construction quality, materials, and design. However, here are some recommended durable headphones based on popular options and reviews:
- Sony WH-1000XM4: These over-ear headphones have great noise-canceling and durability. They have a sturdy case and are built of high-quality materials, including metal.
- Bose QuietComfort 35 II: The Bose 35 II is another durable noise-canceling headphone. They feature a sturdy design, with metal hinges and a headband that is covered in a soft-touch material. They also come with a carrying case for protection.
- Sennheiser Momentum 3: These over-ear headphones are designed to be both stylish and durable. They feature stainless steel hinges, a leather-covered headband, and a hard carrying case. They also have excellent sound quality and noise-canceling capabilities.
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT: The sound quality and durability of these over-ear headphones are unmatched. They feature sturdy construction with metal components and a carrying pouch for protection.
- V-Moda Crossfade M-100: Metal construction and Kevlar-reinforced cables make these over-ear headphones sturdy. They also have a hard carrying case for protection and excellent sound quality.
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Can cheap headphones last longer?
Cheap headphones aren’t as sturdy as more costly ones, but they can last a long time. Cheap headphones are usually made with lower-quality materials and may not be made to last for a long time with regular use.
To sum up, the lifespan of your headphones depends on factors such as usage, care, and quality. Handling, storing, and avoiding moisture and excessive temperatures might prolong their life.
Taking breaks and using them at reasonable volume levels can also help. No one knows for sure how long headphones last, but if you follow these tips, you can keep listening to your favorite music for years.
Hooke Audio‘s dedication to innovation and customer service guarantees the greatest listening experience.