Do headphones get worse with age? Answered & Explained

Do headphones get worse with age? |

Investing in expensive headphones is a trend now, but you might be wondering if purchasing a premium headset worth it?

Headphones tend to have complex internal wiring, leading to deterioration in their performance over time.  

Do headphones get worse with age?

Physical wear and sweat impact the deterioration of headphones over time. The majority of the headphones are made using plastic that can crack with age. Similar to other electronic devices, your headphones can also experience internal wiring damage, which worsens their performance over time. 

Unlike a tablet or a smartphone, you cannot protect your headphones with a sturdy outer case. Static sounds are the first indication of headphone degradation, and it’s generally all downhill from there. Headphones are exposed to wind, dust, fall, and get tangled. It can lead to invisible damage that worsens performance with age.  

In this post, we will dig deeper to find the reasons a headphone might worsen with age and provide easy tips on keeping your headphones sounding great for years. Let’s dive into little detail.

Reasons for Headphone Worsening with Age

Your headphones might have cost you a fortune, so it is imperative to understand what factors can worsen their sound quality and over-performance. Staying mindful of these factors will protect your headphones and extend life expectancy.

  • Exposure to Moisture
    The outer layer of your headphones can be easily corrupted with exposure to moisture from changing weather. Moreover, sweat can place strains on the ear pads. People who utilize headphones while working out can face this issue more often. While exercising, put a towel between your ear and the headphones to help absorb moisture. In case your headphones do get soaked, immediately use rubbing alcohol.
  • Storage Conditions
    Keeping your headphones tangled or hanging can cause serious damage. The main reason for your headphone’s accelerated deterioration is the improper storage conditions. Too hot, and the wires might snap. Extreme weather can also bend headphones’ plastic. Ensuring that you place your headphones in a compatible environment is essential. 
  • Not purchasing a proper case
    The majority of people throw their headphones in their bags with other items. The contents of your bag will eventually get mixed up. As a result, your headphones will experience pulls, bends, and twists. Using a case for your headphones can be a hassle for most people, but it will prevent you from replacing your headphones every year.
  • Forcing the cord rather than the jack
    The main reason for wire breakage is pulling the cord. It creates pressure on the internal wires, which leads to a snap from the jack. It is advised to pull out the headphone from the device by pulling the jack. 

Average Life Span of Headphones?

It is imperative to avoid buying cheap headphones because it is the major reason for deteriorating sound quality. While purchasing headphones, you would want to buy those with the longest life span. However, it is difficult to determine the life expectancy of the product or brand you opt for. Still, a couple of steps can be taken to maximize the lifespan of your headphones. 

The lifespan of a headphone is contingent upon its manufacturing, the material used to build it, and the way you use them. On average, a good-quality pair of headphones will last for 4-5 years. Generally, headphones start to worsen after 2-3 years of use. 

A solid investment can save you from the hassle of replacing your headset now and then. Premium quality headphones tend to have a better speaker quality and longer battery time. Even though these headphones will also get worse with age, you can elongate the years of companionship.

The key to maximizing headphones’ lifespan is to care for them properly. Careless use will break or degrade your headphones way before they should. Find out more about headphones’ lifespan here, making it easy to opt for the right one.

Practical Tips for Extending Headphone Lifespan

Give your headphones the proper care they deserve to increase their life. Even if you get cheap headphones, proper maintenance can add a few years of excellent performance. Here are a few tips to avoid replacing your headphones every year:

  • Protect the cable
    The headphone cable is the most important component. It is delicate and can damage easily. Most people neglect the headphone wire, which reduces sound quality and creates cracks. The slightest pressure can break the internal wires. It is best to avoid putting your headphones in the pocket because the cramped space can compress the wires.
  • Caring for Bluetooth Headphones
    Wireless or Bluetooth headphones are much easier to care for, but even wireless headphones come with charging leads. In this case, you will need to maintain the charging case, especially for in-ears.
  • Cleaning your headphones
    Your ears’ inner and outer environment contains dirt that can directly impact your headphones. Dirt, dust particles, and earwax can easily get into your headphones. You can clean your headphones by wiping them off with a wet towel or wipe after each use. Without regular cleaning, you will experience a decrease in sound quality, which will accelerate the process of headphone degradation. 
  • Avoid Excessive Cable Bending
    Your headphones will worsen with age, but extensive bending and dangling of headphones wires can speed up this process. Try to place your headphones properly rather than hanging them at 90 degrees from the desk. The wires can instantly break, especially if some pressure is applied.
  • Avoid sharing your headphones
    For starters, people might not be handling YOUR headphones with care. Secondly, the exchange of ear dirt can cause infections. Extending the life expectancy of your headphones becomes easier if you stop sharing them with other people.
  • Be cautious of the headphone jack
    Accumulation of lint and dirt around the headphone jack can seriously reduce the performance. It will lead to static, distorted sounds and even loose connections. Utilize a compressed gas duster to clean your headphone jack. It will instantly dislodge the dirt stuck inside the jack. You can use a needle to pull out the accumulated mass gently.

Do headphones get quieter over time?       

The headphones’ volume worsens with age because of the sound waves that are produced. These waves further deteriorate the sound quality and volume. As a result, the headphones will lose their qualities (such as bass). In addition, you will start hearing buzzing and low sounds. 

Several variables contribute to a loss of volume:

  • Listening at a high volume
    According to the World Health Organization, noise from electronic devices such as headphones is detrimental to one’s health. When you listen on a full-blast mode, your threshold for sounds increases. You will perceive the volume becoming quieter over time. It also leads to ear fatigue, which can result in hearing loss. Instead of listening at full capacity, set your headphones at a reasonable volume. Hearing at a high volume can crackle and damage your headphones.
  • Over-ear or onear headphones
    Your headphones need to seal your ear canal properly for the perfect volume. When you purchase new headphones, these seals are tight and perfectly fit your ear. However, as the headphones age, these headbands might loosen. As a result, the headphone might not sit properly over the ear.
  • Battery Life
    For wireless headphones, the battery life is also a concern that will worsen with age. It will decrease the power supply that a headphone requires to function optimally.
  • Physical damages
    After a couple of years, your headphones will experience physical defects such as breaks in the wire. If the wire breaks, the best action is to purchase a new headset. 

Signs to Upgrade your Headphones

The static noises, uncomfortable headband, fixing the jack constantly, and dealing with volume control are all aspects that are linked with worsening headphones. A major reason for these factors is the consistent use and the number of years. Your headphones will eventually die out, so you will have to purchase new ones.

BUT, what are some of the tell-tale signs that indicate purchasing a new set of headphones?

  • Rattling or distorted noises
    Over time, consistent usage of headphones will result in distorted and rattling noises. It is mostly because of a damaged driver. Physical headphone damage is the top reason for these noises. Damage to your headphones can be because of frequent falls, stuffing them in your backpack, or even stepping on them. Moreover, when you hear at high volumes, it will pressure the driver. If you consistently hear rattling noises from your headphones, it is time to replace them. Before purchasing a new set, check if there is dust, pocket lint, or hair stuck in your device. Gently pull it out and see if your headphones work properly. If cleaning doesn’t bring a change, then change your headphones. 
  • Loose or bent headphone jack
    A loose headphone jack can be very frustrating. The slightest movement will disengage the jack from your gadget, ruining the experience. You will continuously experience disconnection while walking and struggle to find the sweet spot. It could result from a faulty headphone plug or a difference in the plug size. Headphone age impacts the headphone jack with time. The jack can bend or loosen owing to corrosion, dirt, or debris. If your headphone is degrading because of age, you need to purchase a new one. Rule out issues that can be fixed before purchasing a new headset.

Do headphones get worse with age? |

  • Worn out headphone pads
    Worn-out headphone pads are inconvenient and highly uncomfortable to wear. It is especially true for people who want to wear their headphones for longer. After using your headphones for a couple of years, people experience worn-out headphone pads. You can replace these ear pads when it becomes loose or uncomfortable. Moreover, if these earpads start to rot, smell or distort, that is also a clear sign for headphone replacement.
  • Broken Headband
    One of the clearest indications of purchasing a new headphone is when the headphone’s headband breaks. In the majority of cases, this is the only solution. However, if the damage is not too serious, you can find DIY fixes. For example, you can tape the broken area tightly or utilize cable ties.

Bottom Line

Headphones are an important part of our lives. From music lovers to people who binge-watch their favorite shows, headphones give a unique experience. These headsets are intricate electronic devices that can damage easily. Numerous internal components and wirings are fragile, making it essential to keep them with care.

The average lifespan of a good quality headphone is 4-5 years. Give your headphones the care they deserve, and you might extend their life. Rough usage, however, will cost you because of the regular replacement of your headsets.

Irrespective of the maintenance, it is crucial to remember that headphones will worsen with age. The sound quality will be impacted, or an eventual wire breakage will occur. This article intends to help you with your headphone problems and talks about the signs when you MUST replace your headphones.

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