9 Easy Tips to Extend the Life of Your Headphones

Headphones provide us with the ability to enjoy our favorite music, podcasts, and audiobooks on the go. But as we use our headphones day in and day out, they can begin to wear down, causing a reduction in sound quality and, eventually, leading to their untimely demise.

To help you extend the life of your beloved headphones, we’ve compiled a list of 9 easy tips that anyone can follow. From proper storage to cleaning techniques, these tips will help keep your headphones in top shape for years to come.

9 Easy Tips to Extend the Life of Your Headphones

  1. Store Your Headphones Properly
  2. Clean Your Headphones Regularly
  3. Use a Protective Case
  4. Avoid Overstretching the Headband
  5. Manage Headphone Cables
  6. Keep Your Headphones Dry
  7. Avoid High Temperatures
  8. Handle Your Headphones with Care
  9. Avoid Buying Cheap Headphones

1. Store Your Headphones Properly

Properly storing your of headphones safeguards them against physical damage, such as dents, scratches, or unintentional drops. In addition, storing your headphones in a dry and clean environment prevents dust and dirt buildup, which can have an impact on both their performance and lifespan. Correctly storing wired headphones helps avoid tangling and twisting of cables, which can lead to damage and affect sound quality.

Here are some things to remember when it comes to storing your headphones:

  • Use a headphone stand on your computer desk or bookshelf.
  • Use a storage case that is appropriately sized and made just for headphones.
  • Avoid tight spaces that can cause the cables to tangle or twist.
  • Consider using a cable tie or Velcro strap to keep the headphones organized.
  • Store in a clean and dust-free environment free from potential hazards.

2. Clean Your Headphones Regularly

Many people assume that their headphones are permanently damaged because the sound quality has significantly deteriorated. However, proper maintenance is often all that is needed. We recommend regularly cleaning your headphones, whether they are on-ear or over-ear headphones. Removing excessive grime from your ears not only benefits your health but also improves the sound quality of your headphones.

The buildup of earwax can reduce both volume and clarity. There are various methods to clean over-ear headphones. Certain headphones come with removable ear cups and cables for easy cleaning. To prolong the life of your headphones and optimize their performance, ensure that they are frequently cleaned and maintained.

How To Clean Your Headphones

Before beginning the cleaning process, make sure to review the official manufacturer’s website for any supplementary guidance or procedures. To clean your headphones, gather the following items:

  • A soft cloth
  • Warm water
  • Dish soap
  • Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Old toothbrush

First, detach any plastic tips or pads from your earbuds or headphones. Next, take a soft cloth and dampen it with warm water and dish soap to clean each component separately, making sure not to let any liquid seep into the electronics. After wiping down all the parts, including the wires, allow them to dry completely. If there is a lot of grime on the mesh, gently scrub it with an old toothbrush. Use mounting putty to remove dirt from tight spaces. Repeat this process several times. If necessary, you can also use low-concentration hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to loosen grime, but be sure to use it sparingly and thoroughly dry the components afterward. For more information, refer to our guide on how to clean muffled earbuds, which covers everything you need to know.

3. Use a Protective Case

All of us want to protect our brand-new headphones. In light of this, keeping your headphones in a carrying case is one of the best methods to keep them safeguarded. Dropping and improper handling are two of the most frequent ways that headphones get damaged.

If you’re lucky, the worst that can happen is that the cable and body of your headphones get a few dings and scratches. However, if you drop them on a hard surface, internal parts could be harmed and stop working. You don’t want this to occur, especially if you’re an avid audiophile with pricey headphones.

As a result, you ought to think about getting a case to shield your audio gear from harm. Cases also serve other purposes besides merely safeguarding your headphones. Some feature extra pockets for wires and other accessories, while others can recharge your headphones.

How to Choose the Best Headphone Case For You

Here are a few things to consider before you choose a case for your headphones.

  • Select a case that is both lightweight and compact.
  • Consider a case that is sturdy and has lots of padding if you are active.
  • A well-made case with a padded interior is essential.
  • Choose a case with lots of pockets and straps to keep all of your items organized.
  • If you enjoy travelling, consider getting a waterproof or water-resistant case.

4. Avoid Overstretching the Headband

As individuals, we all have unique head shapes and varying preferences for what feels comfortable. Some people may prefer headphones that fit tightly and don’t slip off, while others may prefer looser-fitting headphones that don’t apply too much pressure to the ears. Regardless of your preference, it’s essential to choose headphones that fit your head shape to ensure maximum comfort. Headphones that are too small are prone to bending and breaking, while those that are too large may slip off and suffer damage from a fall.

How to Choose Headphones That Fit

The following steps will help you get your headphones to fit properly:

  1. Avoid purchasing headphones that are excessively large or uncomfortable for you.
  2. Do not wear headphones that are too small for the form of your head.
  3. Wear your headphones in the proper position, especially if you’re engaged in physical activity.
  4. Adjust the size of your headphones to get the correct fit and better comfort.

5. Manage Headphone Cables

Bluetooth headphones and earbuds have become the preferred option for most individuals that prefer wireless music on-the-go. Whereas some people still prefer wired headphones for their cost-effectiveness, better sound quality, and no need for charging.

However, wired headphones come with a cord that can reduce the headphones’ lifespan by several years if not carefully wrapped. It’s a common mistake to hastily and carelessly wrap the cable when not in use, which can lead to internal wire breakage and ultimately, malfunction.

How To Wrap Headphone Cables So They Don’t Break

If you’re looking for a technique to stop your headphones from tangling, you’re in luck. Headphone cables can be wrapped in an efficient way to prevent tangles and knots. The following is the best way to wrap headphone cables:

  1. Let the cable hang toward the floor.
  2. Wrap the cable in a circular loop.
  3. Twist every other circle in the opposite direction.
  4. Continue until the entire cord has been looped.

Don’t Pull on the Cable

Many people unplug their wired earbuds and headphones from their phones, tablets, and computers by pulling the cable. Some people eventually forget they are even wearing them. Their headphones are pulled from their ears as they move away from their smartphone. This method of pulling out your headphones exerts a lot of strain on your input plug. As a result, the wires may fray and your audio may cease to function in one or both ears.

How to Detach Headphone Cables

The most secure method for detaching your headphones from your device is to:

  • With one hand, grasp the earphone jack.
  • Hold the device in place with your other hand.
  • Remove the earphone jack from the smartphone with care.

6. Keep Your Headphones Dry

In today’s market, there is a vast range of water-resistant and waterproof headphones available, which might lead to the assumption that keeping them dry is not a concern. However, even the most water-resistant and waterproof headphones can collect excessive moisture over time. If your headphones get wet or accumulate too much moisture, the internal components can sustain damage, leading to malfunctioning.

What To Do If Your Headphones Get Wet

If your headphones become submerged in water, it is crucial to act immediately.

  1. First, remove any detachable parts, such as ear pads, foam, or silicone ear tips.
  2. Shake your headphones to remove any excess water droplets and dry them as soon as possible using a moisture-absorbing towel or cloth. This prompt action can prevent permanent damage to the internal components. If any internal components come in contact with water, you may need to use a pry tool to open your headphones.
  3. Allow the headphones to air dry for a minimum of 24 hours before using them again.
  4. To expedite the drying process and remove water droplets, use a can of compressed air.

Following these suggestions will accelerate the process by allowing the moisture in the circuitry to evaporate more quickly.

7. Avoid High Temperatures

We’ve all made the mistake of leaving our headphones inside a parked car on a scorching hot or freezing cold day, unaware that it can harm the headphones’ internal components. To prevent this, headphone manufacturers advise against charging or storing your headphones in extreme temperature conditions.

High or low temperatures can cause electronic devices to malfunction and can even shorten the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries. It is recommended to use headphones within an ambient temperature range of 0º to 35º C (32º to 95º F).

How to Protect Headphones From Extreme Temperatures

Here are some things to remember when it comes to protecting your headphones from extreme temperatures:

  • Do not charge your headphones in extreme heat or cold.
  • Avoid exposing headphones to prolonged direct sunlight.
  • On a hot day, never leave headphones in a vehicle.
  • To avoid overheating, use the correct charger.
  • Avoid extended hours of prolonged use.

8. Handle Your Headphones With Care

Handling your headphones with care is important to maintain their quality and prolong their lifespan. Here are some tips to handle your headphones with care:

  • Avoid Sitting On Your Headphones
  • Avoid Falling Asleep With Headphones On
  • Avoid Losing Your Earbuds and Headphones

Avoid Sitting On Your Headphones

While it may seem obvious, sitting on your headphones is something that you should avoid. Unfortunately, accidents still happen, and over-ear headphones and earbuds often get cracked or snapped when placed in back pockets or unintentionally covered by heavy items.

Here are a few things you can do to keep your headphones from being crushed.

  • Keep your headphones in a safe designated place
  • Keep your headphones in a protective case
  • Don’t keep your headphones in your back pocket
  • Always look down before you sit near your devices

Avoid Falling Asleep With Headphones On

Many of us have likely dozed off while wearing headphones at some point, but doing so can disrupt your sleep and even damage your headphones. The weight of your head, which is roughly 10-11 pounds, can snap the headband in half.

Furthermore, moving and rolling in bed can pull on the cable, causing excess pressure and damaging the ear cups. This also applies if you forget that you’re wearing headphones while running errands, as they can easily fall off and break upon hitting the ground.

To avoid such incidents, it’s advisable to remove your headphones before going to bed or running errands to prevent having to purchase a new pair of costly headphones.

Avoid Losing Your Earbuds and Headphones

Earbuds are a convenient way to enjoy your favorite music while on the move. They are compact enough to fit in your pocket, easy to carry around, and highly portable. However, due to their small size, earbuds can be misplaced easily. Similarly, over-ear headphones can also go missing if not stored correctly after each use. If left unattended, someone else may pick them up and use them without your permission, resulting in the loss of your expensive headphones.

Here are some things you can do to avoid losing your headphones:

  • Have a designated spot to store headphones.
  • Own more than one pair of earbuds to keep in different locations.
  • Use an earbuds tracker.
  • Keep earbuds in the case when you aren’t using them.
  • Use over-ear headphones instead of earbuds.
  • Retrace your steps.

9. Avoid Buying Cheap Headphones

While shopping for a new pair of headphones, it may be tempting to purchase the first pair you see on sale. However, making a decision solely based on price is not recommended. Some models may seem affordable but are poorly constructed using low-quality parts. Without proper research, you may end up with headphones lacking essential features and long-term durability. Fortunately, there are several budget-friendly options available in the market that provide both durability and excellent sound quality.

How To Choose The Best Headphones and Earbuds

Here are a few features to look for in headphones to ensure that you get the most out of them:

  • Headphones with high sound quality.
  • Headphones/or earbuds with a durable build.
  • Headphones with reasonable battery life.
  • Bluetooth headphones with the longest range.
  • Headphones with a mic usable in wired and Bluetooth mode.
  • Headphones with detachable cable with 3.5mm connector.
  • Headphones with a folding design.
  • Headphones with IP55 water resistance.
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David Smith is the senior editor and reviewer for TechGadgetLife, covering the consumer tech industry. He has been writing about technology for over a decade. Prior to founding TechGadgetLife, David served as a senior correspondent covering Apple, Android, and portable audio products.