Personal audio products are invaluable to many of us who can’t live without our music. When I run long distances, nothing keeps me more motivated than invigorating songs. I am fortunate that my current set of earbuds have been with me for over a year, so I haven’t experienced much downtime. Time and time again, I hear of friends complaining that their earphones from all price ranges have stopped working, sometimes after only a few months. Some choose to stick with cheaper brands and go through them like crazy, not thinking twice about tossing them out for a new pair. This practice can become expensive over time. It is ideal to keep them in good working order for as long as possible, especially if you splurged on a pricier set. Here are some tips to keep in mind to give your earphones the best possible chance at a longer life.
- Keep them in a case when not in use. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, or even specifically for earphones. The goal is to prevent exposure to debris. A roomy pouch or sack that will prevent the cord from getting crimped, caught or tangled is ideal. Avoid stuffing them into your pants pocket, which is very popular, as excessive rubbing and pulling could damage the cord.
- Treat them gently. It seems the most common method of “caring” for earphones – which I don’t recommend – is to wrap the cord around iPods or other listening devices. In general, try to avoid tightly wrapping or folding the cord, and unplug it from your listening device. When unplugging the cord, grasp the plug rather than pull on the cord.
- Replace foam covers from time to time. Some earphones have foam that covers the earbud that is inserted into your ear canal. This material can break down over time and is not meant to last forever. Fortunately, these covers are very inexpensive to replace.
- Keep them away from water. Submerging your earphones or holding them under running water generally won’t end well. Just sayin’.
- Keep them clean. Dirt, oils and earwax may interfere with listening quality. There are different cleaning methods recommended depending on your specific type of earphone, but a soft cloth with a dab of rubbing alcohol should safely remove any debris from your earbud. If your earbuds come with removable parts, such as a silicone cover, cleaning these occasionally will prevent buildup as well.
If your earphones have stopped working, try cleaning them before you give up on them and move on to another pair. Otherwise, check your warranty information to see if you are eligible for a replacement.
How do you store your earphones when not in use? If you have any other recommendations for general care or tips for prolonging the life of in-ear headphones we’d love to hear them!