What did we ever do before the invention of headphones and earbuds? Thanks to these wonderful devices, we have our own private listening booth everywhere we go. Headphones and earbuds offer us a world-class stereo listening experience that blocks out the distractions of the outside world, all while allowing others to carry on with their business without being bothered by what we’re listening to. Really, when you think about it, headphones and earbuds are right up there with some of the best inventions in the past century.
Because we love our headphones and earbuds so much, and because they’re so essential to our listening and learning experience, it’s essential that we keep them safe and well-protected so they can serve us well for a long time. After all, when you find your favorite pair of headphones, you want to make sure they stick with you for as long as possible. Your headphones can last much longer than you probably expect them to last if you take good care of them and follow these pro tips for extending their life span.
Keep Them Clean. Always.
This is one of those tips that isn’t always obvious but makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Like any other electronic device, it’s critical that you protect your headphones from collecting a lot of dirt and debris, both from use and from external hazards in your environment, such as spilled drinks, dust, and that catch-all category we just refer to as “gunk.” Not to be gross, but even the cleanest ears come with their fair share of wax that can get jammed into the nooks and crannies of your earbuds. Over time, this wax buildup can affect the sound quality you get from your earbuds, rendering them useless. Even if your headphones are an over-ear model, you stand a chance of dealing with residue from buildup of natural oils from your hair or outer ears on the cups and headband. Over time, this can spell disaster for even the most high-end headphones out there.
What to do: When it comes to keeping headphones and earbuds clean, you’ve got a couple of viable options. First, you could make sure to be diligent about cleaning your device with disinfecting wipes that are safe for electronics after each use. Alternatively, you can look into disposable headphone covers that can be slipped over your favorite set of headphones, protecting them from dirt and debris. If you’re an educator, librarian or museum worker trying to keep numerous headphones clean for multiple users per day, your best bet is to look into disposable headphones or headsets that can be handed out to each visitor or student, ensuring a sanitary listening experience with each use.
Keep Them Dry
Water damage is one of the biggest culprits of having to say goodbye to your headphones all too soon. It’s not uncommon to ruin a pair of headphones or earbuds by accidentally submerging them in a pool, hot tub or bathtub while listening to your favorite relaxing tunes. Like any other electronic device, water causes headphones and earbuds to short-circuit, which can be the end of the road for them, not to mention potentially dangerous for you!
What to do: The simple solution is to avoid using your headphones or earbuds when you are near or in a body of water. We know it’s fun to listen to music when you’re enjoying a day at the pool or a relaxing bath, but this is one case where it’s best to use a wireless Bluetooth speaker that is positioned far from the water. It’s just the safe thing to do!
If, however, you face a situation where your headphones or earbuds have accidentally fallen into the water, remove them immediately, detach all detachable parts and keep them in a dry place to maximize your chances of saving them.
Don’t Share Them With Others
We know, we know, sharing is caring. But not in the case of your headphones or earbuds! When you share your headphones, earbuds or any other personal device that touches part of your body with someone else, you are also sharing your germs. Once again, we’d like to remind you that everyone has earwax, not to mention millions of other little microbes that can transmit bacteria and viruses to others. And let’s not forget about head lice. Sharing headphones with someone can up your chances of contracting lice due to the proximity of the headband and ear cups to a person’s hair. This can be an especially big concern in a school setting, where headphones at listening centers may be shared among tens of students per day.
What to do: The best, most effective solution is not to share your headphones or earbuds. For teachers or librarians in need of headphones or earbuds for listening centers, disposable headphones are an affordable and convenient way to ensure that each student or visitor has a sanitary listening experience. If this is not feasible, investing in disposable headphone covers or committing to cleaning each set with disinfecting wipes after each use are also good options. Whichever solution you choose, it is vital that you consistently enforce rules against sharing in order to protect both your headphones and the people who are wearing them.
The Bottom Line
As with any other investment, you want to make sure that your headphones or earbuds last a long time. Having to replace headphones or earbuds on a regular basis not only can be costly but also can be a real hassle. After all, when you find the set of headphones or earbuds that work best for you, you don’t want to have to replace them with a set you may end up liking less. Why not simply protect the ones you’ve got and ensure that they have the longest lifespan possible? By following these handy tips to keep your headphones and earbuds clean and free from damage, you can preserve them and keep them working at their peak for years to come.