Headphones are one of the most used and demanded electronic devices. Most people between 14 and 44 utilize headphones when carrying out daily activities like exercising, house chores, studying, and gaming.
We use our headphones in all weather conditions, whether hot or cold. However, have you ever wondered if heat can damage your headphone?
Can heat damage headphones?
The quick answer is YES. Exposure to heat accelerates how visco elastic foam in most headphone earpads loses shape and fitness. This loss in fitting reduces isolation from noise in the surrounding environment, thus reducing the sound effect. The degree of damage and time taken for damage will depend on the frequency of exposure and the intensity of the heat.
The primary function is to prevent others from listening to whatever you may be listening to while isolating you from noise in the surrounding environment. A headphone that fails to do that is damaged. To get a firm conviction on whether or not heat damages headphones, let us look at the materials used in producing headphones. Knowing how these materials react to heat will help you understand why heat damages headphones.
Heat tolerance of materials:
It can tolerate high temperatures but will degrade if placed near flame.
It is extremely strong and provides effective insulation against heat.
They can also tolerate high temperatures but will react when exposed for a long time.
Standard thermoset polyurethanes can withstand temperatures between -80°F to 200°F, while polyurethane chemistries can withstand higher temperatures.
- Faux leather
It will be destroyed upon exposure to sun rays for an extended period.
It can dry out in the heat and crack when the temperatures turn cold.
- Velvets and velour
They can flatten when exposed to heat, pressure, or moisture.
Constant exposure and re-exposure of rubber to environmental factors like heat, light, and ozone can cause it to crack, char, decolorize, or degrade, as it is constantly being hardened and softened.
Looking at the heat tolerance of those materials, we can say that all headphones can resist heat to a certain degree. However, heat can still damage these headphones. The intensity of the heat, the quality of the headphone, and the duration of exposure to the heat will determine whether the headphone will be seriously damaged, mildly damaged, or remain undamaged.
Is it ok to leave your Headphones in the sun?
The answer to this question is a definite NO. Leaving your headphones in the sun means subjecting them to heat and sun rays. Given how much our ozone layer is depleting, this is something you should rather not do. Exposure to the sun will
Destroy the cushion
Firstly, it is important to note that for headphones, “A better fit means a better seal, which means far greater isolation from noise in the surrounding environment.” The cushion material (visco elastic foam) used in most headphones loses its original shape with use. Exposing your headphone to the sun will accelerate the rate at which the foam losses its shape.
This change in shape greatly reduces the fitting and isolation from noise in the surrounding environment, resulting in poorer sound effects. One reason why headphones with cheaper paddings wear out faster is due to the inability of the padding to maintain its original shape when repeatedly exposed to the sun.
Degrade the plastic and leader
Some headphones are made using real plastic and leader. Frequent exposure to sunlight will degrade those plastics and dry out the leader. Eventually, the headphone color will fade out while the leader part of it will crack. Constant exposure to the sun will slowly but surely reduce the life expectancy of your headphones.
Is it ok to leave Headphones in a hot car?
If we look at the temperature tolerance of some materials used in headphones, such as; silicon, polyesters, and velour, we will see that they can tolerate high temperatures. Others like rubber and leather will fade and crack under frequent exposure to heat.
It is NOT advisable to leave your headphones in a hot car. Exposure to hot temperatures may seem to have no effect at first. Still, frequent exposure will crack, char, decolorize, or degrade the plastic part of your headphones, as it is constantly being hardened and softened.
Several people have reported that their headphones were ruined or malfunctioning after repeatedly leaving them in their cars in hot conditions. To be safe, avoid leaving your headphones in a hot car.
NOTE: Heat can damage your headphone directly or indirectly. Direct heat damage occurs when the heat does the damage itself, like in scenarios where you leave your headphone in a hot car or under the sun. Indirect heat damage occurs in cases like sweating.
When doing strenuous exercises like sports or playing games, our bodies release heat and send out waste by sweating. Have you ever wondered if this sweat has damaged or can damage your headphone?
Can Sweat damage Headphones?
Sweating is a very natural and necessary metabolic process. Although it keeps us healthy, the waste it releases smells quite unpleasant. Have you ever wondered if this sweat can do more damage besides making you smell unpleasant? Have you ever wondered if sweat has damaged or contributed to damaging one of your most commonly used electronic devices, specifically, your headphones?
Headphones are vulnerable to sweat damage. Excess moisture built up when sweating will definitely damage your headphone when it seeps into the cushion. It will also give your headphones an unpleasant look and smell.
People use headphones for several reasons. Some use it for their jobs (gamers), others to study, and some for leisure. In carrying out these activities, we release sweat which can damage our headphones. The amount of sweat released depends on several factors, such as the individual’s metabolic rate, the state of the climate (hot, cold, or normal), and the intensity and duration of the exercise. Irrespective of the amount of sweat released, the sweat will damage your headphones in one of the following ways.
- Sweat will destroy the leather used in some headphones. Leather is vulnerable to sweat damage and will either be peeled, cracked or both. Headphones with cracked or peeled leather are not a pleasant sight to behold.
- Excessive sweat released during strenuous exercise will likely seep into your cushion and give it an unpleasant smell and look, thus damaging your headphones.
To avoid such damages,
- Use the right headphone for the appropriate exercise. For example, gamers can use open-back headphones to prevent moisture built-up because they utilize their headphones for long periods in one sitting.
- Get sweat-resistant headphones.
- Use sweat-proof covers. If your headphones are not sweat-resistant, use sweat-proof covers on your cushion to prevent sweat from seeping through.
- If your handphones have removable cushions, change the cushion as often as possible. It will be cheaper than getting new headphones.
Other things that can damage your headphones
To best preserve your headphones for long-term use, it is important to avoid things, circumstances, or habits that can damage your headphone, such as;
- Mishandling your Headphones
Most people are in constant need of new headphones due to the mishandling of the previous ones. We make mistakes like;
- Knotting the cords
Knotting your headphone cords accelerates the rate at which the internal wires wear out.
- Going to bed in them
Most of the time, we fall asleep with our headphones on. It is something to avoid because while sleeping, especially if you move about in your sleep, your cord is likely to get damaged.
- Poor storage
Casing things up after each use is not always convenient or fun. However, it is very important to case up your headphones after use. Randomly or carefully placing them into your bag or pockets is bad. In doing so, the cord can be twisted, crushed, or even pulled. In addition, your headphone can even get broken.
- Exposing them to moisture
Water is an enemy of electronics. To preserve and use your headphones for a long time, keep them far away from water. Avoid using them in snow or rain.
Individuals have put in a lot of effort to ensure that headphones are heat resistant enough to ensure safety when used daily for mild to vigorous exercises. The durability of headphones depends on the quality of materials used in their production. Yours will last longer if you take good care of it. Heat affects all electronic devices, including headphones.
The intensity of heat, the quality of the headphone, and the duration of exposure to the heat will determine whether the headphone will be seriously damaged, mildly damaged, or remain undamaged. To be safe, if you have low-quality headphones, keep them away from heat as much as you possibly can. If your headphone quality is good, you can afford to take such liberties.
Shaurya Bhatia, is an Indian Music Producer, Composer, Rapper & Performer, who goes by the stage name MC SNUB, and is also 1/2 of the Indian pop music duo, called “babyface”. A certified Audio Engineer & Music Producer, and a practicing musician & rapper for more than 6 years, Shaurya has worked on projects of various genres and has also been a teaching faculty at Spin Gurus DJ Academy.