How to Extend the Life of your Headphones

With the growth of technology and mobile devices, headphones and headsets are increasingly becoming as important and as mobile as their electronic device counterparts. But do they get the same care and treatment? While many models are designed with simplicity in mind and the expectation that they will get replaced, learning to take good care of your headphones can be important.Here is a simple how to for extending the life of your headphones/headsets, no matter their use and type.

First Step: Choosing Quality

One of the ways to extend the life of your headphones is to pick a set of headphones that are fit for their use. Asking yourself questions like: will these headphones be mobile or stationary at a workplace? Would you benefit from headphones with wires, or could you immensely improve your listening experiences with wireless headphones? Will your listening need to include low bass capabilities, high volumes, or general use? And if you do have headphones or headsets with wires, what length is appropriate? These questions can help you pick out the right headphones with the specifications suited for your audio needs.

For example, a music studio sound engineer can benefit from a quality over-the-ear headset, capable of handling higher power, low and high frequencies, and heavy bass. A headphone set that cannot handle these qualities might get damaged during listening. In addition, he or she could use a shorter, yet durable cable, if they headphones are meant to stay close to the mixing board.

In contrast, having disposable bulk headphones can be a perfect option for environments where headphones will be used by multiple people – think classrooms of children or learning labs and libraries. Kids can get sick and having disposable options in the library can be better than buying hygienic covers, in some cases. In a classroom, where students can be taught to carefully clean headphones and change out hygienic covers, a more sturdy headphone may be best. By picking the right set of headphones you have a better chance of ensuring their longevity.

Overall Care and Storage

A lot of headphone damage comes from improper storage, whether you have on-ear or over-the-ear headphones, wireless or corded. From throwing them into backpacks where they can slide to the bottom (and get crushed by books), or letting them hang and fall off tables, headphone life is easily shortened just by a poor system of storage.

The best way to care for headphones is to have a specific place or case for them. If your headphones are to be used while traveling, placing in a special carry case or bag can make it easy to take from place to place, while keeping them safe from being crushed or tangled. A case is also great for long-term storage, as it keeps your headphones safe from humidity or temperature changes. When exposed to wet conditions or extreme temperatures, the headphones can short-circuit or lose quality over time.

In stationary situations (such as computer labs and classrooms), having a storage rack for headphones will keep them from getting tangled, or from being placed in precarious situations. Especially in a busy classroom, where headphones can be knocked off desks and stepped on, a storage rack is a great solution for minimizing damage.

Cable Wrapping

One of the most vulnerable components of headphone sets are their cables. They can be dragged, rolled over by chairs, tangled easily, or snapped by drawer doors, all instances that can reduce the life of your headphones. The key component to wrapping your cables neatly is to do it regularly and properly by following the cables natural bends.

There are many methods for neatly wrapping cables, such as the devil horns method. For headphones with big earpieces, wrapping the cables around the set is a simple way of keeping them neat and untangled.

When you do notice wear on your cables, especially at its jack connector, using a product like Sugru to keep it from falling apart can be a simple fix.


Besides coiling your headphone cables the right way, the best way to extend the life of your headphones is to care for the earpieces. Cleaning them with disinfecting wipes frequently will keep dust particles from damaging the hearing components. With foam covers, simply washing them in warm soapy water and air drying them is best. These foam covers should also be replaced as time passes, since they lose quality to wear.

Overall, headphones can last a long time when you pick the right ones for your audio needs and store them properly. For more headphone tips or advice when choosing headphones, contact us.