Whenever you purchase a decent pair of headphones, your expectation is for them to last long. Unfortunately, they fail this test all too often. The problem is that these devices are delicate and contain a lot of intricate internal components that with time wear down even with the slightest amount of jostling.
While you can manage to keep your computer, iPhone, or any other portable media player from damage, it is tricky to deal with your headphones. Their exposure to the elements is more pronounced, people often yank them, and objects grip them easily.
Of course, the damage isn’t always visible. You may just hear a crackle in either or both of the ears and realize there might be short-circuiting in your headphone cord or the jack on your device. However, there are times when the harm is conspicuous.
As such, it is inevitable that your headphones are going to malfunction at some point and you can’t prevent that from happening. However, if they fail within a year, there’s something you’re not doing right. Whether you’re wearing a $10 piece of junk or $250 beauty, it should serve you for at least two years.
If you’re the kind that loves quality music and yet loses headphones through carelessness, it can really take a toll on you. You may vow never to purchase an expensive device again but find it difficult to deal with the mediocre sound from cheap brands. Fortunately, there’s a solution to this vicious circle.
If you take good care of your headsets, you’ll have it working even after buying better ones later in life. By then, you’ll be using the current ones only for backup purposes. Sounds good? However, you have to exercise some form of discipline in order to double or triple your headphone’s lifespan.
The Reason Why You “Kill” Your Headphones Often
There are some people who get frustrated over their inability to use their headphones for long. They feel they’ve done everything possible to keep them in good shape but these efforts seem to fail time and again. If you’re in this category, one or more of the following could be the reason why you are always destroying your most-valued assets:
- Letting your headphones’ cord to hang out on the floor instead of coiling it up elsewhere. Today’s good quality headphones come with long cords of up to 10 feet. If there’s a severing at one of their points through stepping on or the casters on your chair rolling over them, they’ll be useless.
- Letting the long cord of your headphones to dangle off your desk’s edge when resting or while using them can cause damage. The dangling bends the cord at an angle of 90 degrees, putting undue stress on the wire inside it at that point. This effect breaks the wire with time. It is even worse if you’re fond of pinching or pressing the cord against the desk’s edge.
- Leaving the headphones lying on the floor exposes them to accidental damage.
- Using the wrong length of the cord. A cable that is too long is prone to getting caught into objects while a short one puts stress on your audio jack as you strain during its use.
- Pulling the headphone jack sharply when snug, thus damaging the prong.
- Forgetting that they are on your head when doing other activities such as changing clothes. This way, you can snap and clatter them. The next thing would be a facepalm. The snapping effect puts intense tension on its internal wires and the headphones’ connection points. Although the headset may not break on the first or second impact, the damage is cumulative. Over time, there’ll be a partial or complete malfunction.
- Winding up your headphones’ cord into knots and tight loops to keep them from dangling. This only speeds up the internal wires’ wearing down.
- Traveling with your headphones without a case. It doesn’t matter how careful you are, if you’re going to toss your headsets into backpacks, you’ll definitely jostle them. This results in the pulling, stretching, twisting, bending, pinching, crushing, and damaging of the cord. Moreover, heavy objects can easily bump into and harm the connection point if you’ve left the cord plugged into your music player.
- Pulling the cord instead of the plug when removing it from the music player. This puts extra tension at the point the cord meets the plug. Pulling causes the breaking and separation of the internal wire from the plug over time.
- Leaving them plugged in when not in use. This can damage the headphones if you get caught in the cable accidentally while trying to stand up or move.
- Exposing them to sweat and moisture. When water gets in contact with your headphones, you’ll have to say goodbye to its audio drivers. If you’re fond of exercising while listening to music, then sweat can be a serious issue. Also, using your headphones in the rain or immediately after taking a shower can damage them. The drips can run down from your wet hair into cracks.
- Sleeping while wearing your headphones. It’s impossible to control your movements when you’re fast asleep. Twisting, turning, rolling, and flopping can snag the cord, damage the cans by putting too much pressure on them.
- Cranking up your headphones’ volume. This can warp the extremely delicate sound-producing parts of the device because of intense vibrations from excess sound. At first, you won’t hear certain frequencies as the audio shifts and loses its full-bodied qualities. Over time, things get worse and the sound becomes irritating.
- Plugging the headphones into the audio device while it is playing at high volumes.
- Turning up the bass too high. Most headphones lack powerful low-frequency sound drivers. Heavy bass can easily damage their speakers. Low-frequency sounds put much stress on any speaker that’s not designed for it.
- Connecting your headset to high-end stereo equipment whose power output is more than what the speakers can handle.
- Making weak purchase decisions. Although expensive doesn’t always mean quality, you can’t go for a gadget with a throw-away price and expect it to last for years. At the same time, a high-end product may disappoint you within the first few months because of poor pre-purchase research.
Measures You Can Take to Avoid “Killing” Your Headphones
Preventing your headset from damage isn’t something that’ll take a lot of effort from you. With some few useful tips, you can greatly extend your headphones’ life and get maximum value from your purchase. Remember that it takes about one month to firmly set up a new habit, but it stays with you for a long time after doing it. Here are the tips:
- Always remember to pull the plug and not of the cable when disconnecting your headphones from the audio source.
- When the headphone jack is close-fitting, firmly and steadily remove the connector. Avoid yanking it.
- Never leave your device on the floor as you may accidentally step on or pull a chair over it. Instead, place it on your table or desk and keep it safe when it’s not in use.
- Avoid leaving your headphones plugged into an audio source when not in use. If you can’t help, buy an L-shaped jack.
- Wrap up its cable when it’s not in use. However, do not tie it up. A better way of making the cable secure is to use a binder clip.
- Don’t let your headphones to dangle from your bag or desk.
- Keep your headsets away from water. In case there’s an accidental dunking, immediately remove them from the water and pour rubbing alcohol over them. After this, air-dry the headsets for some few hours. Additionally, do not use them while exercising as the sweat may cause damage. If that’s too hard, use a headband, though it is not as effective.
- Remove your headphones when you go to bed.
- Use a case when traveling with your headsets. Most high-end devices come with great protective cases to keep them from damage. You could also go for a generic case that’s designed for different headphones. Alternatively, you can look for a soft, protective bag.
- Never plug your headphones into an audio device when the sound is high. After plugging in, ensure that you adjust the volume to a comfortable listening level. Avoid maximum sound as it may quickly damage your speakers.
- Using your audio source’s level mixer, lower the bass levels, ensuring that you’ve disabled the “Bass Boost” option.
- If your headphones are weak, don’t use them on powerful, high-end stereo equipment as this may damage them. Check out your headphones’ documentation to find out how many ohms they can support before plugging them into an audio source.
- Coil up your long cord instead of leaving it to hang out on the floor.
You don’t have to worry about losing your expensive pair of headphones too soon anymore. All you have to do is take good care of them. Although it may take time to change your habits, you’ll stick to them once you’ve established them. Start today.