How to save your headphones and save money

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 By

Headphones with glasses (head).

Save your entertainment dollars by taking proper care of your headphones. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Darekm135/Wikipedia)

If you’re like most people, you know that if you listen to books, music and talk while on the go, your headphones are going to break. Sometimes it’s simple wear and tear, but other times it’s poor quality and manufacturing that lead to broken cabling and cracked earpiece. Or it’s a matter of misplacement.

Rather than allowing yourself to go into debt during the process of constantly replacing your ear speakers before they should reasonably need to be, learn how to save your headphones in order to maximize your listening investment.

Learn to coil your headphone cables properly

Broken cabling is a common problem with headphones, earbuds in particular. Cable insulation tears, wiring becomes stripped and earpieces crack, exposing the inner elements to dirt and trauma.

Your first line of defense against this kind of damage is learning how to coil the headphones properly. Generally speaking, the tighter the coil, the greater the likelihood there is that the cabling will break. It puts undue stress on the connection between the driver and the cable. Secure the cable in a way that leaves a bit of give.

Reinforce the headphone cables

If you frequently have issues with your headphones’ wires fraying all the way through, heat shrink tubing may help matters. Something that adds protective material around the most flexible parts of the headphones helps abate the onslaught of mechanical stress and bending. Even using your insulating material or plastic dip of choice around the earcups can be useful if you frequently have problems with cracking in that area. Products like Sugru can even help customize earbuds so that there’s a more comfortable fit in your ears.

Use headphones with removable cables

Whether you buy it or go the DIY route, headphones with removable cables tend to solve the most common breakage problems. If you break the earpieces themselves most frequently, however, this won’t solve the problem.

Store your headphones the right way

Simply tossing your headphones into the bottom of your backpack or coiling them up and stuffing them into a pocket isn’t doing the headphones any favors. Whether you have earbuds or full-sized headphones, you’ll want a case to protect your investment. Make it a habit of using the case every time. If you don’t have money to spend on a hard case, at least use a binder clip. That way, you can attach the headphones to your shirt, bag or pocket until such time as you can store them away safely. The clip is also helpful during the coiling process.

Don’t buy cheap headphones

Many of us have done it because we need something to listen to immediately, but buying cheap headphones and earbuds is not financially feasible in the long run. It’s a classic case of “you get what you pay for.” Cheap drug store headphones will last for perhaps a few months, and that may seem inexpensive at $10 a pop, but spending just a little bit more for a $50 pair of headphones with a good case makes more long-term financial sense – and it won’t put you into debt.

Use online resources like Amazon.com and Consumer Reports to search reviews of specific headphones, then go to your local electronics store and test them out yourself before you buy. It’s worth the time and potential long-term cash saved.

Sources

Ear-Buds.org

Head-Fi

Lifehacker

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