Can Headphones Wear Out? How Do I Make Them Last Longer?

Each time you pick a new headphone, you ask yourself, “can headphones wear out?” Let’s dig deeper into the world of headphones and find out what is the truth and what is just a myth.

“Headphones on, world off.”

That’s how today’s generation relates to the world around us. Headphones are not just accessories to look good; they are an integral part of our identity. While funky designs, quirky colors, and cool vibe are how headphones look externally, it is much more than that.

You are mistaken if you think the Gen Z population randomly picks up headphones because it looks cool. The aspect of canceling any and every external noise is perhaps the most important factor most look for.

But there is another factor that plays a pivotal role in deciding which headphone is getting picked. It’s the warranty. Yes, you heard it right. We are always on the lookout for a pair of headphones that offers us a long time warranty. Regardless of its color, design, and features, a warranty matters the most.

Wondering why?

The answer is simple. The headphones are probably the most used gadget out there. It’s either connected to the iPod or the phone or the laptop at all times. The kind of heavy-duty usage it goes through needs an internal build that can withstand it all.

Can Headphones Wear Out

Will My Headphones Lose Sound Over Time?

You are constantly watching videos, playing games, speaking on the phone, or listening to ebooks or music. So, your headphones are on 24/7 duty all year round. That much of the work will wear out even a normal human being, and this is an electronic device we are talking about.

Before giving a straightforward answer to this question, let’s first analyze a few queries about headphones in general.

Will the Headphone Lose Its Quality After Prolonged Use?

This is once again a very tricky question to answer. While one consumer sect will vouch with a lifetime guarantee of perfect audio quality, another group will deny it.

Yes, a good pair of headphones from a notably renowned company does give an extended warranty on their product, but that is not always the case. A quality product will have very good internal components that are probably carefully curated and selected after a very long period of research and development. They are meant to last long.

But nothing is permanent. After a certain amount of time has passed, the headphones can develop glitches that may or may not affect the audio quality. There have been instances where the rubber coating on the wires wears out, or even the headphones plastic develops cracks and breaks, but that does not affect the audio.

It all varies based solely on the headphone and your luck. 

Can Headphones Wear Out

What happens if you wear your headphones at all times?

Well, my friend, this is a serious issue if you plan to have your headphones on at all times. While isolation and complete destruction of social skills is just the beginning, there is much more to happen.

Your hearing ability is greatly reduced, for starters. Wondering why? 

It’s the simple math of adaptability. The headphones block out a huge volume of external noises. Over the long term, the ears adapt themselves to reduced sound volume. Once the headphones are off, you practically dissociate with the world around you.

Even if you are a complete music buff, it is best to give your headphones and your ears some rest once in a while. After all, both are important. 

You might like to read: How Do Headphones Break

Should I Invest in High-End Headphones so That I Do Not Have To Buy Headphones Ever Again?

If you have funds and money isn’t an issue, none stops you from buying headphones worth thousands of dollars. They sure are bound to stand out as style statements. But it’s all the same. 

The high-end product will mostly give you a warranty that’s similar to a budget-friendly brand that’s known for quality assurance, if not more. While it is a completely personal choice, it is best to draw the conclusion based on the user review, compatibility, and customer service assistance in case of an issue. 

After all, you do not want to be stuck with a thousand-dollar dead headphone and no tech support within hundreds of miles.

Can Headphones Wear Out

Does Burning-In Headphones Work?

Relax! No one is advising you to burn your expensive pair of headphones. It’s just an analogy. 

It means that many times new headphones aren’t as comfortable to listen to as we imagine. Many advise using the headphones continuously without stopping for a long period to make them work better. It can be anywhere between a few hrs to even a few weeks.

However, the result is quite debatable. Other than straining the internal component of the headphones, it can also cause circuit breaks in the wiring due to excessive strain. Now you may wonder, “do headphones lose sound because of burning out?”

Well, it may or may not happen.

While one-half of the experts say that Burning breaks the audio quality and makes it pleasurable to use, the other half voiced their difference. They were concerned and stated that it causes more damage than good.

Ideally, if we go with a legit technical answer, the concept of burning out is not accurate. The extreme stain may cost you your headphones even before you can claim its warranty.

You might like to read: Do Headphones Lose Volume Over Time

Why Do Headphones Lose Volume?

Yes, headphones will lose volume quality after a certain period. However, you cannot blame the company and say that it is because of the inferior quality components used in the building.

The truth is way simpler, and the one to blame is yourself. Do you think I’m blaming you for no reason?

Sound wave frequency creates a constant vibration. The higher the volume, the worse the vibration. Excessive vibration interrupts the sound frequency and thus reduces the volume of the sound wave produced.

Losing the volume in the headphone is not as serious as losing your hearing ability. So, if you truly want to keep your headphones and your ears safe and in working condition, it is best to turn down the volume key a few notches lower.

Can Headphones Wear Out

Is It Wise To Opt for Noise Cancellation Headphones?

We notch up the volume to its highest setting because we do not want to hear anything from the outside world. However, that gives rise to numerous other issues like headaches, hearing issues, etc.

That’s how the inventors came up with the marvelous concept of noise cancellation. If you think noise cancellation will block out everything, then you are wrong. That is not how noise cancellation headphones work.

Let’s not get into the complex physics of how noise cancellation works. Instead, let’s make it a simple explanation. In simple words, noise cancellation cancels any low-frequency noise of the outside world using a tiny microphone placed on the outer side. 

So this means that if you are on a train or an airplane, it blocks out the engine’s noise. However, you need to tolerate them as they cry and shout oceans and mountains through your headphones if you are amidst screaming kids.

The conclusion is simple. If you are a frequent traveler, noise cancellation headphones are a God’s gift to you. But if you are a teacher or a mom handling screaming kids, cotton earplugs are a better and cheaper choice.

You might like to read: Can Headphones Break In Cold Weather

Are Wireless Headphones A Good Choice?

Wireless devices are very popular these days. Charging docks and truly wireless headphones have been very popular buying options on every possible retail platform.

While wireless headphones eradicate cords and jacks, they need to be constantly changed as they are battery-operated. Since these devices work on Bluetooth compatibility, your devices should be compatible to work with them.

One main problem with wireless headphones is the lag of sound transfer. Once in a while, the sound heard is either too late or too early and does not synchronize. This is especially seen in games or the video or the audio you are watching or listening to. 

Now comes the most awaited query that needs to be answered.

Can Headphones Wear Out

Can Headphones Wear Out?

If anything, the queries mentioned earlier clearly explained a part of your confusion. If you are still in doubt, let’s discuss it in detail.

Based on the quality and the frequency of the usability, a good quality headphone will last for a few years before developing a few glitches here and there.

A buzzing, crackling, or sound discrepancy are just technical issues that can develop over time. However, most commonly, the wiring or the jack is damaged due to constant use and handling.

If you truly want to keep your headphones safe and sound for a longer tenure, you must care for them. 

Tips to take care of the headphones

  • Never coil or knot the headphone wires. This creates tension within the thin metallic internal wiring and breaks them sooner.
  • Always carry your headphones in a separate carry case to prevent the wire from tangling with other things. Also, it prevents pressure or damage to the Earpods of the headphones. 
  • Clean the pods as prolonged outdoor use can clog the pod holes with debris, dust, and even ear wax and sweat salt.
  • Keep the headphones free of moisture. During a workout or run session, carry a towel. This will prevent sweat patches and salt deposits on the headphones.
  • Do not try to use chemical cleaners to clean the headphones. This will only make things worse. Simple microfiber cloth or tissue does the job pretty well.
  • As mentioned in one of the points above, never use the headphone in their loudest setting. It is neither good for the device nor your ears.
  • Rather than choosing a fancy pair, choose a headphone with good sound quality and a sturdy build.
  • Keep the headphones away from heat and harsh weather.
  • Reduce your e-waste by opting for exchangeable products or ones with extended warranties.
  • Replace your headphone cushions from time to time. This padding protects your ears by acting as a buffer and serves as an extra layer to filter the sound frequency. Worn-out padding on the headphones will make it uncomfortable for you to wear and hear as well.
Can Headphones Wear Out

Other Questions About Headphones That People Also Ask

How long should headphones last?

A good pair of well-rated and branded headphones should last anywhere between 1 to 5 years, depending on the warranty provided. Many companies also offer replacement of worn out and damaged headphones after a certain period to help in reducing e-waste and also recycling.

Do headphones degrade over time?

Headphones will show signs of reduced workability after a period of use. This is caused due to numerous external factors. Constant and heavy use, rough handling, and stress and strain on the cord and jack are few reasons for the degradation of headphones over time.

How do you know when headphones are worn out?

The primary signs of wearing out headphones are either degradation in sound quality or wear and tear of the external components like the jack or the cord. In some cases, the headphones can look and sound fine. 

However, once in a while, there may be crackling and buzzing noise. In such cases, it is important to replace the headphones immediately to prevent damage to the ear membrane.

Do headphone drivers wear out over time?

Yes, the headphone drivers can wear out over time. The internal wiring loses its workability after a certain amount of time and use. 

There is no guarantee as to when it can happen. It can take anything between a year to many. It’s all about how much the headphones are used and how well it is taken care of.

If people can live upto 100 years just taking care of themselves well enough, then gadgets can too.

Can Headphones Wear Out

Nothing Is Meant To Last Forever, but Anything of Good Quality Will Remain for a Long While!

Everything in today’s world comes with a pre-noted expiry date. Your headphones will wear out in time, regardless of how much you spend on them or how much care you take of them. Eventually, it will need to be replaced. However, what matters is your physical wellbeing. Headphones and their quality can protect or destroy your hearing ability. So make a wise choice when you are surfing through a selection of headphones to choose from.