Headphones come in various sizes, shapes, models, and for a range of prices. Be it over the ear headphones, earbuds, wired headphones, true wireless earbuds, noise-canceling headphones, or Bluetooth headphones, etc., these devices offer a lot to users. But how long do headphones last?
Brands provide detailed specifications for each model they release. However, one thing that many users don’t know is the actual lifespan of these headphones.
What is the average headphones’ lifespan anyway? Would taking good care of them increase their longevity? Can you use a pair of headphones for years if you care for it like a baby?
Yes, you can. The key to making headphones last longer is by ensuring that you take proper care of them. Rough and careless use is one of the main reasons for headphones to go kaput before they should.
Of course, there will be exceptions, and the maintenance method for different headphones also varies. The price plays a significant role in the lifespan of headphones.
There’s quite a bit to discuss, isn’t it? Why wait then? Let’s look at how we can make headphones and earbuds last longer by pampering them the right way.
How Long Do Headphones Actually Last?
Well, the answer to this question depends on which pair of headphones you own. But generally speaking, a pair of good-quality headphones has an average lifespan of 5 to 10 years. Oh, yes! Expensive headphones in a good shape work for years.
However, you’ll have to spend money on repairs and maintenance as the headphone gets older. For example, a headphone with foam ears will start to feel awkward as the foam gets thinner and tears up. Replacing the foam will make it work properly again.
Things like overcharging, bending the cord, or twisting it will damage the headphones sooner than you think. If the drivers are affected, you’ll have to decide between repairing and buying a new pair.
If you have to regularly get the headphones or built-in microphone repaired for better sound quality, you’ll find it cost-effective to invest in a new model, probably a high-end variant that will require fewer repairs as it gets older.
Entry-level models have a lesser lifespan, though, with good maintenance, you can make them last for a decent time of over a year, and maybe even more before they stop working.
Tips to Care for In-Ear and Wireless Headphones
Wireless headphones and in-ear headphones aren’t entirely known for their durability. Still, you can make them last longer if you start caring for the headphones right away and continue to do so even after the initial excitement wears off.
The most crucial point to remember is that you should continue to treat your headphones like babies, especially when they start to get older. Everything important for the headphone is important for you and needs your attention.
Do Not Ignore the Case
There’s a reason truly wireless earbuds come in special cases. Use them. Take the case with you, no matter where you go. The case is water-resistant, moistureproof, and dust-resistant. It safeguards the earbuds from different kinds of damages.
No matter how tempting or convenient it feels, don’t put the wireless earbuds directly in your pocket or throw them into your wallet/ purse without the case.
Inspect the Battery Regularly
The battery life is one of the main factors we consider when buying wireless headphones, isn’t it? To ensure that the battery doesn’t weaken or die before it should keep in mind the following:
- Don’t leave them charging overnight
- If the battery or the wireless earbuds start to get hot, stop using them immediately
- 80% charging is good enough most of the time
- Bluetooth also drains the battery
- Turn off the earbuds and put them in the case when not in use
Schedule Monthly Cleaning
The wireless earphone will gather dirt if you use them regularly. You don’t want to insert the same dirty ear tips into the ears, right? It’s not good for your hygiene either. Use cotton swabs to wipe the ear panels of your headphones. Dampen the swab to remove tough stains and grime. Learn how to clean headphones before kickstarting your cleaning session.
How to Make Over-the-Ear Headphones Last Longer?
Over-ear headphones have foamy earpads that cushion the ears to improve the sound quality. The padding acts as a protector for the ears and aids in noise isolation/ noise canceling, depending on the model you own.
The headphone can have a padded band that connects the earpads or a simple plastic band without any padding. Either way, you’ll need to take care of the following to make your over-ear headphones last longer.
Clean the Ear Padding
The padding accumulates a lot of dirt, be it our bodily fluids like sweat and moisture or the dust and grime from the outside world. Use cotton balls or a soft cloth to wipe away this dirt.
Dip the cloth in diluted mild detergent, wring it dry, and use it to wipe the ear pads and the headband. Don’t use alcohol for this purpose.
Inspect the Charging Ports
The pins in the charging port are delicate. Don’t jam the USB cord into the port. Don’t let dirt or liquids enter the charging port. It can lead to permanent damage.
Use a Protective Bag/Case
If the headphones didn’t come with a special case, use your own. A soft pouch should do the job. Remember that you have to wash the pouch once in a while to keep it clean.
Ensure You Clean the Inner Components Thoroughly
Cleaning the insides of the earpads is also essential. That said, don’t try this if you’re sure about putting it back together. The aim is to clean every bit of the worn headphones and get rid of the dirt to increase the music and audio clarity. After you carefully remove the headphones, use a soft toothbrush to brush away the dirt and debris.
Make sure to not disturb the drivers or the internal wires when brushing. Use tweezers to remove hair and tiny particles. Once done, put the earpads back in their place.
Ideas to Increase the Lifespan of Wired Headphones
One reason many people go wireless and rely on Bluetooth headphones is the mess caused by the wires. While wired headphones have their advantages, they also need extra care so that the sound quality is consistent, the ambient sound is reduced, and the microphone (if provided) works the way it should.
Invest in Cable Guards
Investing in cable guards is the best way to protect the delicate wires from being affected by external conditions. The cable guards cover the length of the cord from the headphones to the other end.
The cable guards act as a sheath and prevent cuts, cracks, or breaks in the wires. You’ll have to check if the cord can have cable guards and get it done by a professional.
Don’t Play with the Wires
Now, this is entirely in your hands. Many of us don’t bother what we do to the headphone’s wires. We tug them, stretch them, pull them, tangle them, and even knot them in tight loops.
Nothing reduces the longevity of a wired headphone like an abused cord. If the cord does get tangled, take your time to carefully untangle it. Don’t use force, as it will damage the internal wires. Don’t let the cord dangle.
Track Usage Duration
Using headphones for long durations is not advisable. Though you can charge the battery fully and use the headphones until they die and need another round of charging, it is not recommended. Doing this frequently will weaken the battery and reduce battery life. It will also hurt your ears and cause ear pain and hearing difficulties over time.
Avoid Using the Headphones When Charging
Do not ever use the headphones when they are charging (this tip is for wireless headphones that can also be used as wired headphones). This will kill the battery faster than anything else. It can also lead to overheating, and if the internal wire/mechanism has any issues, there could be a spark. The headphones can catch fire and harm you physically.
Can Cheap Headphones Last Longer?
Technically, no. Cheap or low-priced headphones are made of cheap/low-quality materials that are neither durable nor reliable in the long term. A Cheap pair has a shorter lifespan compared to high-end models. Many experts say that you get what you pay for when it comes to quality.
That’s the reason they insist on investing in better models with a higher price range. The brand factor should also be considered when buying headphones. Known brands tend to be a little more careful with the materials they use, as their reputation is at stake.
Still, look for brands that offer at least a one-year warranty on the headphones. This shows that the headphone/earphone is likely to work for a year.
The lifespan of a cheap headphone is less than a year. Mid-range models can last for around a year or two and sometimes even three if you’re lucky. You can get a new pair in the mid-range for less than a hundred dollars.
Ways to Increase the Lifespan of Earphones/Earbuds
Now, earphones and earbuds are different from headphones. These are smaller and fit in the ears than on the ear or over the ear. The cleaning process is a wee bit more time-consuming, as you have to be careful not to damage the drivers or lose the silicon ear tip in the process.
The last thing we want is to drop the ear tips on dirty and bacteria-filled floors, isn’t it?
Use Q-Tips for Cleaning the Ear Tips
If you know how to wear earbuds the right way, they probably need a lot of cleaning. When dirt, ear wax, sweat, and bacteria collect in and around the ear tips, they slowly seep into the drivers through the tiny holes. This will affect the audio quality and reduce the durability of the earbuds.
Cleaning the ear tips regularly will prevent the dirt from clogging the holes. Use a Q-tip to clean the earbuds and gently wipe away the grime. If your earphones come with a cleaning tool, use it instead of the Q-tips. However, if you feel that the ear tips are in a bad shape and even cleaning will not help, we suggest checking the best replacement earbud tips.
Soak Silicon/Rubberized Tips
Silicon or rubberized ear tips can be soaked in mild soapy water for effective cleaning. Ensure to remove them from the earphones before you do the soaking. Use a clean cloth or a cotton swab to rub away the dirt and bacteria.
Do Not Expose the Ear Tips to Sun or Direct Heat
After washing the ear tips, let them dry before inserting them back into the earphones. However, don’t leave the ear tips in direct sunlight or place them on dusty platforms. Don’t use heat to remove the moisture from the ear tips.
The silicon tips should dry of their own accord. Place them on a soft cloth in a dust-free and heat-free place for an hour or two. If you use foam ear tips, stick to Q-Tips.
Always Use a Carry Pouch
Earphones cannot be dumped in your handbag. Just don’t do it anymore. You can design a cute little soft pouch for the earphones or buy one from the stores. Even a ziplock will do if you first wrap the earphones in a soft cloth.
Avoid Touching the Cord
We cannot emphasize this enough. We understand that you have to fold the cord. Use your palm to wind the wire in a loop, and carefully use a string to bind them together. Make sure not to knot the string too tight. Don’t squeeze the cord, twist tie it, use a rubber band, or place heavy and sharp objects on the earphones.
Do Not Leave the Earphones Plugged
Once you’re done listening, unplug the earphones from the device. The jack and wires will be safe from unexpected tugging or pulling.
When you unplug the earphones, grip the plug/jack and not the wire. Pulling the wire can cause the super-thin copper wires inside to break. If it happens, you can say goodbye to your earphones.
General Hacks to Make Your Headphones Last Longer
Irrespective of which type of headphones you own, you’ll need to take the basic precautions to keep them safe and clean. These general hacks should result in a longer lifespan for the headphones/ earphones/ truly wireless earbuds.
- Wipe the headphones clean after every use
- Don’t share your headphones/ earphones with others
- Clean the jack regularly, as a dusty jack will lead to static and sound distortion
- Clean the headphone case inside and outside
- Replace the earpads when they start to wear out
- Don’t throw, dump, or drop the earphones
- Keep the moisture away. Use silica gel packets
- The headphone’s ohms should match the input source
- Don’t listen to audio in high volume
- Maintain a charging schedule
- Buy durable, reliable, and high-quality headphones
Making your headphones last longer is in your hands. You need to be careful and treat the headphones/earphones with respect. Continue the maintenance routine. This will also save you from making heavy investments in repairs.
Branded and warranty models are a safer bet in most instances. If buying online, ensure to order from a verified seller to get a genuine pair. Do your research by reading expert tips, articles, and product reviews.
If you follow any particular maintenance program to care for your headphones, share it with us in the comments. Let’s talk!