Using headphones as ear-warmers is a common practice among people. But did you ever give it a thought as to whether extreme cold damages your precious headphones or not? All electronic devices tend to run and function better when they are cooler. But below zero degrees can seriously harm an electronic device. Headphones are no exception.
Headphones are made to withstand antagonistic weather but being too exposed may compromise their operation and durability. If you own an expensive pair of headphones and expect a sheer cold season soon, you need to ask yourself –
Can Headphones Break in Cold Weather?
Mild chilly weather will not damage any type of headphones. Be it wired, wireless, or Bluetooth. However, things start to change when the temperature approaches below zero degrees. The headphones will begin to lose their functionality, and the charging capability may even be permanently damaged.
Headphones In Cold Weather
Winters are typically great for electronic devices. The circuit boards generate heat when they operate. Excess heat is dangerous for electronics. Most electronic devices are designed to maintain a cool temperature for efficient operation.
So, you might be wondering, do headphones work better in the cold? Cold weather, to some extent, is beneficial for all kinds of electronic devices, including headphones. But this is only applicable to a certain range of temperature.
On mildly chilly days, you will find no problem using your headphones. They work perfectly fine in cold weather. The connectivity is robust as usual, and the sound quality remains absolutely gorgeous.
However, depending on your type of headphones, the battery life may differ. Wired headphones are not dependent on the battery as they directly draw power from your device. But wireless or Bluetooth headphones may slightly fall short on their battery life in frosty weather.
Cold Weather Damage on Headphones
Despite the type of headphones you use, acute cold can actually damage your headphones. This happens due to severe battery drain, moisture, condensation, and brittle wires. Depending on the type of headphones you are wearing, you may face different kinds of malfunctioning or damage.
Wired headphones in cold weather are safe from battery damage, but that does not make them completely invincible. Wired headphones, too, can be affected horrendously by cold.
The wires can become less flexible in frigid weather. It makes them prone to breaking or snapping midway. Brittle cables can easily be damaged and render your headphone useless.
Moisture is bad news for any electronic device. For headphones, moisture is far more dangerous as it can kill your sound drivers and speakers. Cold weather does not directly induce moisture into your wired headphones. But when the headphones are moved to a warmer area from the outside and turned on immediately, there is a high chance that the headphone will be susceptible to moisture. Water droplets formed due to moisture can effectively ruin your headset.
Naturally, cold weather can form ice particles inside the speaker and jam it. Leaving the headphone open for a prolonged time can also be responsible for this. It results in muffled sound generation by the headphone.
Bluetooth and Wireless Headphones
Compared to wired headphones, wireless variants of the same device are more prone to damage from the cold. It’s no surprise since these devices usually house a battery inside, and that component is what mainly causes this drawback.
Almost every Bluetooth and wireless headphone use a lithium-ion battery as the power source. As efficient and cheap as they are, they do not do well in low temperatures. Lithium-ion batteries drain a lot faster in cold weather than in warm weather.
Lithium-ion batteries provide energy to the headphones by conducting a lot of chemical reactions. An optimal range of temperature is required to execute these reactions efficiently. Cold weather hampers the natural process and thus drains the battery life way faster. A freezing temperature is enough to kill the battery permanently!
Lithium-ion batteries have a very minimal internal resistance, making them more efficient. As a drawback, batteries are unable to produce enough heat to withstand cold temperatures. For this reason, the battery tends to lose charge at a fast pace and sometimes may drop dead without any warning.
Just like wired headphones, wireless headphones are very vulnerable to moisture. Moving too quickly from a colder area to a warmer area forms condensation inside the headphone. This can damage the electrical components and waste the headphone.
The humidity can result in electrical short circuits or corrode the internal components of the headphones. Even the most premium and costliest headphones are vulnerable to this.
Although severe cold can directly or indirectly affect hardware components of the headphones, fortunately, wireless technology remains untouched.
Radiofrequency signals or Bluetooth are not affected by cold conditions. You can expect fully-functional connectivity even below zero degrees.
Extremely low temperature does not have any impact on Bluetooth technology. The signaling, range, and strength remain the same under any temperature setting. However, the electronic module controlling the Bluetooth signaling may get damaged and result in connection loss.
Other wireless technologies besides Bluetooth like RF, IR, or Kleer are also immune to cold weather. Unless the module gets damaged or non-functional, the connectivity will remain unchanged.
Protecting Headphones in Cold Weather
Now that you know how badly cold temperatures can damage your headphones and render the device dead, you must want to protect them at any cost on a chilly day. Here are our takes on how to safeguard your headphones in cold weather.
- Use an ear warmer around the earpads of your headphone
While most people simply use headphones as ear warmers, it is not advised. Instead, wrap the ear warmer around the ear pads to keep the internal components safe from frostbite.
This will allow you to get grooving as well as keep both your ear and headphones protected from the acute cold.
- Keep the cables beneath your coat
When using wired headphones, you should not keep the wires exposed. Keep the wire beneath your coat or pullover. It keeps the cables safe from brittle and reduces the chances of snapping.
- Do not charge at a freezing temperature
Refrain from charging your headphones at a freezing temperature. It can damage the battery permanently. Charging in a sheer cold environment will not charge the battery. Instead, it will end up destroying it or losing its life cycle. Wait till you are in a warmer climate before you charge your headphones.
- Do not turn on your headphones after you switch area
To prevent moisture or condensation inside your headphones, be careful not to turn on the headphones right after you have moved to a warmer location.
For instance, if you just got out of a blizzard and reached home, do not turn on your headphones. Rather wait a bit so that the headphone and their electronic components can adapt to your room temperature. After a while, it should be okay to turn on the headphones.
- Avoid wearing headphones in an extreme condition
All of the tips mentioned above become obsolete when you are facing freezing temperatures. In these situations, you should avoid wearing headphones at all. If you need to travel and take your equipment with you, get a thermal cover for your headphones. It will insulate your valuable headphones from the cold. If you are unable to manage one, you can also wrap the headphones in a blanket, towel, or insulating cloth.
- Use within the optimal temperature range
Different brands provide different ranges of temperature for their products. You can quickly get the idea by checking out the manual of your headphones. Should you lose the manual, you can easily get information about your headphones as long as you know the manufacturer and model number.
Usually, most headphones function just fine between – 4°Cs to 45°C.
Remedy For Headphone Cold Weather Damage
Life is not supposed to go the direction you have wanted. Sometimes things can go haywire even if you have tried a lot to avoid that. Rather than worrying about it, it would help if you did whatever you could to avert the condition.
If your expensive headphones stop working in cold weather, there are a few things you can try out before taking them to the repair shop. Hopefully, it will save some of your money.
Keep the headphone exposed to heat
Sometimes the headphone will need good old heating. But be careful! Do not make the mistake of instant heating. You will ruin the headphone and their insides. Slowly bring back the headphone to room temperature.
Simply wait a few hours before using the headphone again. Leave it at room temperature, where it is warmer than outside. Hopefully, when the headphones regain their normal temperature, they will start working again.
Reset and fully recharge
In the case of wireless headphones, do not directly plug in the headphone to charge after taking them out from a cold environment.
Please wait a few hours and fully recharge it afterward. Press the reset button and reset the device. This should do the trick and make your headphones functional again.
Choosing The Best Headphones for Cold Weather
When it comes to cold-resistant headphones, a lot of options are available in the market. These specifically designed headphones are made for cold weather to withstand very low temperatures. You need to invest in acoustic headphones that will serve for years to come.
Choosing the best gadget for enjoying music in the winter depends on your priorities and style. Winter headphones are quite different from regular headphones owing to their enhanced earmuffs and exquisite build quality. A few criteria you should look out for can be:
Winter-specialized headphones are built with premium quality, high-end materials to prevent corrosion and withstand freezing cold.
Try to get headphones from a renowned brand rather than wasting money on shabby products. The initial cost may be greater, but you will be saving money by using the same product for a more extended period.
While buying a winter headset, you need to consider the comfortability of the product you are getting. The comfort of any headphones depends on the weight and the design of the ear pads. Lightweight headphones with large ear pads are more comfortable than others.
The materials used in the ear pads also have an impact on comfortability. Depending on foam or feathers, the ear pads will offer a certain level of solace.
The earmuffs used in winter headphones are made to keep your ears warm as well as to provide great audio quality. With the larger volume and thicker furs, these earmuffs are perfect for snowy days.
Best Headphones for Cold Weather
Finding the perfect headphones for winter might get confusing to you. To ease your hardship, here are our top 5 picks of the best headphones for cold weather.
Anker Life Q30
Inaugurated with an active noise cancellation feature, Anker life Q30 provides the utmost comfortability with one of the most extended battery lives.
Anker Life Q30 is a winter headphone with super-soft ear cups made with protein leather. It is fitted with memory foam padding for the ultimate comfort of your ears. It is perfect for enduring low temperatures as well as providing comfort to your ears in winter.
The build quality of Anker Life Q30 is unparalleled. With premium materials, this headphone is very lightweight to ensure exceptionally long listening sessions.
Dive into the profound high-res audio thanks to the 40 mm driver of the Anker Life Q30. Listen to crisp, clear audio with delicate treble up to 40 kHz.
- Manufacturer: Anker
- Form factor: Over-ear
- Connectivity: Wireless
- Battery life: 40 hours
- Range: 15 m
Improved Comfortability: With protein leather wrappings, the ear cups made with memory foam, Life Q30 provides maximum comfortability in both summer and winter.
Advanced Noise Cancellation: Fitted with dual noise detection micromodules, Q30 can filter up to 95% of ambient noises and lets you enjoy your music with zero distraction.
- Hi-resolution music thanks to a 40 mm audio driver
- Massive playtime of up 40 hours
- Ultimate comfortability with protein leather-wrapped memory foam
- No heat insulation
- Earpads do not cover the whole ear
Sennheiser HD 400S
Engineered in Germany, Sennheiser brings you the most sophisticated gear for the ear. The compact yet stylish design makes it appealing with extremely vivid audio quality. Despite being a wired headphone, the convenient folding design allows the HD 400S to be great for traveling. Sennheiser’s proprietary audio drivers ensure dynamic bass and superior clarity.
The modern closed-back ergonomically crafted around-ear ear pads give you seamless comfort with improved noise isolation. Sennheiser uses the most premium materials in their headphones. You will feel the exquisite crafting in HD 400S while using it.
- Manufacturer: Sennheiser
- Form factor: Over-ear
- Connectivity: Wired
- Weight: 217 g
- Range: 1.4 m
Great Audio Quality: Precise German tech-made 32 mm Sennheiser audio drivers provide high resolution and superb dynamic audio with perfect clarity.
Premium Comfort: Compact design with folding feature, the closed-back ergonomic ear cups fit perfectly in any environment. Active noise isolation with all-around earmuffs improves the listening experience.
- Precise 32 mm Sennheiser audio driver for HQ audio
- Compact and stylish design
- Smart one-button remote for controlling playback
- Soft padded ear cushion for a premium feel
- Comparatively small drivers provide less bass
JBL Live 660NC
Featuring an ANC mode and “Ambient Aware” setting, the JBL Live 660NC can be your perfect companion while jogging on a snowy day. The over-ear design with thermal padding keeps your ears warm as well as the internal system of the headphone.
JBL Live 660NC is a great choice for people who prefer EDM music or hip-hop. The extra punch in the bass makes up for its loss of clear vocals. The 24-hour playback time also pays off for an extended duration of grooving sessions.
- Manufacturer: JBL
- Form factor: Over-ear
- Connectivity: Wireless
- Weight: 9.3 ounces
- Range: 1.5 m
Vivid Noise Cancellation: JBL’s adaptive noise canceling lets you stay focused on music regardless of the background noise. The ambient-aware technology allows you to safely use it in busy areas by amplifying ambient sounds so that you can be aware of your surroundings.
Sharp Sound Quality: The 40 mm audio driver fitted into the JBL Live 660NC delivers high-end audio streams so that you can enjoy your melodies and music with much more detail.
- Active adaptive noise cancellation for focused listening
- Ambient aware technology for safely using in busy areas
- Extraordinary playback time of 24 hours
- Over-ear stable headband with premium padded ear-cups
- Tight-fitting earcups hinder comfortability
Music lifts our souls and energizes our spirits. Apart from music, podcasts and radios are very dear to some of us. A decent headphone is your getaway to blissful music, songs, podcasts, and many more. That’s more the reason why you should be wary of how we are treating the headphones.
Can headphones break in cold weather is a question we all ask. Exposing headphones to severe cold temperatures definitely does some harm. It is better not to use headphones in extreme cold at all. But by maintaining a few protocols, you can enjoy good music even in the chilliest winter while keeping the headphones safe!