If you have just got a new pair of headphones or in-ears, you will want to take good care of them. Looking after them provides you joy, will give them a longer lifespan and maintain the audio quality, which, considering all things, should be the main reason for taking care of your headphones. Instead of opting to buy a new pair new to replace your current ones, learn to take care of your earbuds and headphones. Proper care will have them last for years and also work better during use.
Headphones can last a long time if maintained properly. But like pretty much everything, a little TLC (tender loving care) goes a long way in making sure your companions of happiness last and perform a lot longer than they would. There’s a lot you can do to make them last longer. If you're wondering about the ‘How?’ then let’s look at a few ways to look after your headphones.
Your headphones and earbuds are bound to get dirty thanks to normal wear and tear and clogging with earwax. But you don’t need anything too special to clean them off. To clean headphones, you’ll need a soft cleaning cloth. You can wet the soft cleaning cloth and add a bit of cleaning solution, but remember not to overdo it. Be sure the cleaning cloth is simply a little damp. Then, wipe off all the exposed parts. You can use a baby wipe also for cleaning. If any items are removable, take them off and clean and dry them separately, and put the headphones back together.
To clean earbuds, follow the same instruction as above but focus on taking off the silicone tips and detachable parts. Clean them thoroughly as you can. You can even use a dry (unused) toothbrush to get into the crevices. You can use the toothbrush to unclog the actual earbuds if there is clogging with wax. Be sure to allow your equipment to air dry before using it again.
Audio quality will degrade over time for most headphones, which can be because of dirt, ear wax or moisture over the grille, especially for in-ear models, and getting into the moving parts. Regular cleaning with a spare dry toothbrush or an air canister (at a safe distance of six inches) can remove the buildup and restore the sound quality to optimum levels.
You should store your headphones in a clean, dry place and use the bundled case (or invest in a third-party one) when not in use. If your headphones or earphones need folding up, follow the official instructions to reduce wear and tear while you're not using them.
Tangled cabling is a perennial problem and one that can cut down your listening time by a good two or three minutes when you set out from the house. A way to avoid this tangling, aside from using a case that keeps the cable organised, is to wrap them carefully in a figure-eight shape around two of your fingers. Ensure that the headphone cable is not wrapped too tight so that stress is not applied.
Caring for your headphones starts with you. Right from the moment you remove it from its protective case/ pouch to untangling it (if it’s wired), to the way you put them on and take them off and even the way you wrap them up and put them back in the case - caring goes a long way in increasing the life of your headphones. Your headphones can take a pounding. But that’s not an excuse for you to try and test the claims of their toughness. Never tug on the cable or pull it, especially when dealing with tangles in the headphone cable. The audio jack sees the most damage as most folks yank it out of a device using force. NEVER DO THAT! Always grasp the head or the part closest to the plug-in point and pull gently yet firmly.
Nature is never beneficial to electronics. Avoid taking your headphones near water and highly humid places. Don’t go pool-partying wearing your cans. Duh. Unless they’re water-resistant or waterproof. Understand the difference first - Waterproof means you can probably dunk your headphones underwater till a specific depth and duration, whereas water-resistant likely means that if it’s raining, your headphones can handle the pouring water. Look out for the “IP” rating (or Ingress Protection if you wanted to know) is a measure of how water resistant or proof an electronic device is.
You should also avoid sleeping with your headphones or earbuds. Sleeping on your bed with your headphones on can bend or snap them. Just roll your earbuds in neat coils and place them in a safe place before sleeping. In the case of a headset, put them in the storage box.
When connecting your headphones to an audio player, phone or laptop, ensure that the device is not playing any audio and the volume is turned down. Failure to do this can cause a ‘pop’ in the earphone, resulting in damage or deterioration of the driver. Once your headphones are connected, raise the volume until it’s at a comfortable listening level.
Some of the more common damages reported by earbud and headphone users include problems with cords and reduced or nonexistent sounds. These can often be the result of unintended damage to the unit. The best way to mitigate the likelihood of permanently damaging earbuds and headphones is with proper use. For instance, if they aren’t meant to be worn in extreme weather, don’t use them during a rainy run. Similarly, they shouldn’t be left in your car for hours on a sweltering summer day. Taking just a few precautions will ensure that you get the most mileage possible out of your earbuds and headphones. And that turns you into a happier listener!
As mentioned, little care goes a long way, and it isn’t particularly difficult or time-consuming, but the long-term effects are going to be noticeable. So be it the highway to hell or stairway to heaven, make sure your headphones are there for you, throughout.