How Long Do Headphones Last?
This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
People can be hesitant to make new electronics purchases for several reasons.
Primarily, people are concerned with how long the product will last and if they’ll get their money’s worth.
Headphones are the biggest culprit here.
There are a variety of different tiers when it comes to headphones.
There are cheap headphones that will have terrible sound and die in a few weeks.
There are also expensive headphones that may sound incredible and last years. However, it gets tricky when you get into the mid-range pricing.
Some headphones are low-quality with good aesthetics, and you end up paying just for looks.
Other mid-range headphones can have sound and build quality that rivals top-tier products.
So exactly how long should a pair of headphones last?
How Long do Headphones Last?
Top-dollar headphones should see a lifespan of at least three years. There are many mid-range headphones that can easily last this long too. However, when it comes to headphones, you really get what you pay for. Cheap headphones found in dollar stores or discount bins will be lucky to last a month.
Don’t Cheap Out
What would you rather do, buy 20 sets of $10 headphones or one set of $150 dollar headphones? The answer is pretty obvious when it’s put like that.
It’s cheaper to buy the more costly set that will last you for years to come.
It may seem daunting to many people to shell out that much money for a set of headphones, but it will save you money in the long run.
Most importantly, your ears will thank you.
Whether you are gaming or listening to music, high-end headphones are well-designed to provide the ears with a more pleasant experience.
Cheap headphones will simply push out as much noise as possible to make up for their poor engineering.
More expensive headphones will take the time to balance each and every sound you hear, providing a better experience overall.
Build Quality and Longevity
The first thing to break on a cheap pair of over-the-ear headphones is the headband.
Either it will completely break in half or one of the adjustments on the side will break.
These low-quality headphones really need to be nurtured if you want to get your money’s worth out of them.
Do not twist them, adjust them, or open them up to vigorously, and you should be able to make them last at least a few months.
Mid-range headphones can be hit or miss on build quality.
The manufacturers of mid-range headphones usually either focus on sound quality or build quality; never both.
Again, you should take care of these headphones and be careful not to bend or twist them too much.
A good pair of mid-range headphones have multiple years of lifespan if they are well taken care of.
High-end headphones are an engineering masterpiece.
Sony, Turtle Beach, Apple, and a variety of other manufacturers make headphones that will stand the test of time.
The best headphones over cost close to $300 dollars, but they are engineered to last years to come.
These headphones are made out of tougher plastic, have higher quality electrical components, and have incredible sound quality.
It’s not uncommon to see a good set of Sony headphones last five years or more.
What Causes Headphones to Break?
Assuming your headphones have just stopped producing sound and that they are not broken in half, headphones stop working due to faulty electronics inside.
A wire could have burnt through, a connection could have broken, and a solder point could have become unattached.
A bent audio jack is the biggest culprit when it comes to one side of your headphones not working.
This can usually be fixed by simply taking two sets of pliers and bending them back in place.
The problem is the audio jack is only making contact on one side of your port and only allowing audio to come through a single headphone.
A shorted wire can also be a problem.
This is a little trickier to fix because you will have to find where the wire is short.
This often means you’ll have to completely disassemble your headphones.
Avoid Doing These Things
Never let your roller chair roll over your headphone cords. This is one of the most common ways that headphones stop working.
The motion will often cause a short in the wire.
Don’t let the cord dangle out of your pocket either.
It will eventually get caught on something and violently jerk the cord from the device it’s plugged into.
Try running the wire under your shirt or through a jacket instead.
The most embarrassing way to break your headphones is by forgetting they’re on your head.
We’re all guilty of sitting at a computer and getting up only to have our headphones be ripped from our heads.
The way your store your headphones can also damage them.
The same goes for wired video game controllers and any other electronic with a cable.
Never wrap your cord around your headphones.
It adds unwanted tension to the cable, and it will eventually short out your headphones, leaving you with nothing but e-waste.
It’s also good practice to always pull out your audio jack with the jack itself and not the cord.
Pulling on the cord adds wear-and-tear to where the wire connects with the jack.
Continuing to pull your headphone jack out this way will eventually break your headphones.
Fixing a pair of headphones that have a short wire is much like attaching a new power cord to any other electronic device.
You’ll need wire cutters and strippers, electrical tape, and sometimes a soldering gun.
You can often find out where the short is by wiggling the wire while you are listening to music.
When you find the short, moving it will often make both headphones work.
Mark where the short is located and use wire strippers to pull back the plastic.
You can reattach the wire simply by twisting them together, or if you want a more professional look, you can solder the disconnected wire with a soldering gun.
Repair your wire fully with either electrical tape, or preferably, shrink tubing.