Entertainment Technology Explained

Here’s Why Your Headphones Keep Breaking (And What You Can Do)

Joel Lee Updated 28-11-2019

Every pair of headphones will break. It’s a delicate device with lots of intricate components, and those components will get jostled and wear down with time, leading to inevitable malfunctions. You can postpone it, but you can’t prevent it.


But if your headphones always die within a year, you’re doing something wrong.

I’ve worn a range of headphones from $10 pieces of junk to $350 beauties, and they’ve all lasted me at least three years. Some of them still work to this day, stashed away as backups. If you take proper care, you can double or even triple the expected lifespan of any pair of headphones.

Why do your earbuds and headphones keep breaking? Here are several common mistakes that’ll kill your headphones before their due time.

1. Rolling Over the Cord

Here's Why Your Headphones Keep Breaking (And What You Can Do) headphones with cord

Cord lengths for headphones can get pretty long. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x and Sony MDRV6 both have cord lengths of 10 feet, and even cheaper but high-quality headphones The Best Cheap Headphones You Can Actually Afford Cheap headphones worth your money can be hard to find. We've rounded up the best cheap headphones for every occasion. Read More can come with cords that are 5-8 feet long.


You may be tempted to let such a long cord hang out on the ground. If so, take extra care that it can’t ever be stepped on—or worse, rolled over by the casters on your computer chair. It only takes one severed point to render the whole thing useless.

2. Letting the Cord Dangle

Here’s another way to damage long-cord headphones: letting the cord dangle off the edge of a desk, either when resting or while in use. It’s a risk even with the best wired headphones The Best Wired Headphones 2019 Looking for the best wired headphones? Here are our favorite options, ranging from ultra-budget to high-end! Read More .

A dangling cord is basically stuck bent at a 90-degree angle, and that puts undue stress on the internal wire at that point. Think of it like a staple: bend it back and forth, it will break. If you ever press or pinch the cord against the edge by accident, it could sever the internal wire.

3. Forgetting They’re on Your Head

Here's Why Your Headphones Keep Breaking (And What You Can Do) headphones around neck


This happened to me many times back in my gaming days. I’d sink hours into Counter-Strike or Dota 2, and as soon as a match ends, I’d rush off to the restroom—forgetting to first take the headphones off. Snap, clatter, facepalm.

Snapping a cord like that puts a lot of sudden tension on the internal wires and their connection points. The headphones may not break the first, second, or even third time it happens, but the damage is cumulative. Every cord snap is one snap closer to a malfunction.

4. Winding the Cord Into Knots

Have you seen those “lifehacks” that show “ingenious” ways to wind up cords so they don’t tangle? Well, ignore them! Especially the ones aimed at earbud users. If you wonder why your earbuds break so easily, that could be the reason: tight loops and knots speed up the wearing down of internal wires.

Never tie knots. Avoid tight loops. Looser is always better.


If you need a lifehack for your earbuds, wrap the cord around a toilet paper roll with notches for the plug and the buds. For regular headphones, use the “roadie wrap” method shown in the video below. You can then push two ends of the circle together to form a figure eight and secure it with a rubber band or twist tie.

5. Traveling Without a Case

Stop tossing your headphones and earbuds into pockets, backpacks, or purses. No matter how careful you are, the container contents will get jostled and cause the cord to get pulled, stretched, twisted, bent, pinched, crushed, and damaged.

And if you leave the cord plugged into your phone, for example, then heavy objects can bump into and damage the connection point. An L-shaped jack can mitigate this somewhat.

Whenever possible, use a case. My Brainwavz HM5 came with a hard case, and most high-quality headphones do as well these days. Earbuds can be kept in something like this HiGoing Carrying Case. If your headphones have a detachable cord, you can also keep that in a hard case for earbuds. Worst case, a soft pouch is better than nothing.


6. Pulling the Cord, Not the Plug

Here’s another huge reason why your headphones keep breaking: pulling on the cord causes stress where the cord meets the plug. Over time, pulling can cause the internal wire to break and separate from the plug.

This is also true for earbuds. When you’re done, do you tug on the cord to pop the buds out of your ears? Due to unequal stresses, one of the internal wires will break before the other, leaving you with earbuds that only play audio out of one side.

Never pull the cord! Tension is the main reason why your headphones break. You can force yourself out of this habit by switching to a cord that has an L-shaped jack, which is impossible to unplug by cord-tugging.

7. Exposure to Sweat and Moisture

Here's Why Your Headphones Keep Breaking (And What You Can Do) earbuds in iphone

Electronics and water do not go together. Just as it can fry your smartphone or tablet, water can fry the audio drivers in your headphones.

Sweat can be a huge problem, especially if you listen to music while exercising. A headband can reduce the risk of sweat, but you’re better off getting headphones for sport or exercise The Best Sports and Exercise Headphones Exercising and listening to music go hand in hand. You pay a lot of attention to your workout gear, so pay as much attention to the headphones. It matters! Read More , which are designed with sweat in mind. The audio quality may not be top-notch, but at least it’ll last.

Avoid using headphones when you’re in the rain or directly out of the shower. Water can run down from wet hair and into cracks. High humidity may also speed up deterioration of internal components over the long run. If you really need a pair of drivers that can withstand moisture, however, have a look at these headphones and earbuds for swimming The 5 Best Swimming Wireless Headphones or Earbuds If you want to listen to music while swimming, you'll need a set of the best swimming headphones available today. Read More .

8. Sleeping With Them On

Here's Why Your Headphones Keep Breaking (And What You Can Do) headphones listening

You can’t control how you move when you’re asleep. You roll around, flop about, and twist and turn. At the very least, there’s a good chance you’ll snag the cord. You might also cause damage to the headphones themselves as you sleep on them with a heavy head.

Skip the headphones and listen to whatever you’re listening to using an Amazon Echo, which you can turn on and off with your voice. If that’s not an option and you must sleep with headphones, consider grabbing a pair of wireless earbuds The 8 Best Wireless Earbuds for All Budgets Looking for the best wireless earbuds? Here are the best wireless earbuds for sports fans, audiophiles, and anyone on a budget. Read More .

9. Cranking Up the Volume

All noise-producing devices do so by creating sound waves. Sound waves are produced by vibrations, and the louder the sound, the greater the vibrations. Because headphones components are delicate, excessive volume can warp the sound-producing parts.

At first, you’ll stop hearing certain frequencies. The audio will shift and degrade, losing its full-bodied qualities. As it gets worse, sounds may start to feel more “tinny” than normal. Over time, you’ll hear buzzing and other irritating artifacts.

10. Skimping on the Price Tag

Paying more does not guarantee a better product (e.g. Apple and Beats), and cheaper products can be well-made and built to last (e.g. Panasonic ErgoFit Earbuds). But generally speaking, you get what you pay for.

I’ve managed to make cheap headphones last for years, but don’t be surprised when your $20 overseas knock-off headphones kick the bucket in three months. Robust materials, smart designs, and quality control all come with a price. To pay less, you’ll need to sacrifice something.

To that end, check out the best Beats headphones for iPhone users The Best Beats Headphones for the iPhone Apple's Beats headphones are among the most popular. Which model is right for you? Here are the best Beats headphones. Read More if you’re in the market for a premium product.

Consider the Benefits of Wireless Headphones

You’ll notice that most of the mistakes above involve the cord, not the headphones. If you can eliminate the cord altogether, your headphones will probably last a lot longer. So, consider switching to wireless headphones.

But before you do, check out our tips for buying wireless headphones Buying Wireless Headphones? 6 Things You Need to Know Planning on buying wireless headphones? Here's what you need to know about price, form, technical specs, and more. Read More because there are some nuances you’ll want to know about. And if you’re buying headphones for a child The 9 Best Headphones for Kids Some headphones are designed with smaller ears in mind. So, here's our rundown of the best kids headphones available today. Read More , consider getting a more sturdy model.

Related topics: Hardware Tips, Headphones.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Sam
    June 9, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    This article is nonsense. If good corded connectors were a life and death situation, they would easily, so easily, be made. The problems is headphone vendors get to keep selling more headphones so long as they continue to create obviously awful connectors. This is a feature for the companies producing headphones, not a bug. And one that is easily solved by anyone with an ounce of ethics over greed.

  2. Jeff
    May 1, 2020 at 5:58 pm

    It dosent matter, its going to be a few weeks to a month if you are a regular user depending on price. They always cut out on one side. Taping or shrink wrap where the wires connect and a small plasric tube reinforcing the plug gives a little more time.

  3. Farhan Islam
    July 21, 2019 at 3:45 am

    Great article. A real eye opener. Very helpful for someone new to buying headphones

  4. Marty
    January 4, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    One month... One of the channels went off today... I can't believe I couldn't take care of headphones for even a month, what's with my luck!

  5. Sarah
    December 27, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    My earbuds usually last anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks :(. My record has been like three days though. They keep breaking because I walk around when I listen to music, and they will get caught on a cabinet/doorknob/table and get yanked out of my phone. To be fair I usually buy headphones for like 7 dollars, but when I used over ear headphones instead of earbuds, they lasted a lot longer. Bluetooth helps but constantly remembering to turn them on and off so the battery doesn't run down is tiring, plus if the battery dies in public I'm screwed.

  6. Angela
    June 10, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    You forgot dropping them off the desk, especially when you get up or when they are stored. They need a storage basked or hangup, I think. Mine last for years and years and years.

  7. Sil
    April 23, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    I do none of these things, yet mine always break within three weeks, more often two or one.

  8. KEVIN
    January 24, 2018 at 8:35 am

    You do realize headphones are designed poorly and won't last long. Because people can't build good headphones that will last for a long time.

  9. Tomeka
    November 21, 2017 at 1:21 am

    I have used several pair of headphones, Bluetooth and wired, and they have all stopped working on my phones. All of the headphones still work on my other devices. What's wrong with my phone?

  10. Tomeka
    November 21, 2017 at 1:17 am

    I have used several pair of headphones, Bluetooth and wired, and they only last a couple of months on my phone. They all still work on my laptop, tablet and tv. Is the audio on my phone broken?

  11. Johnny Grek
    November 9, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    I have over 50 pair of headphones and only one has failed me recently, Sennheiser HD555.
    My oldest are my HD424 Sennheisers which I've had for about 40 years. They work just fine.
    I have them all over the house, not in cases, and use all of them on rotation. No major problems. That's what bugs me about the 555's. I only have about 20 hours on them and now no sound. I may send them in anyway just to see went wrong with them.

  12. Justin
    November 7, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    I wear my headphones to work and they are always breaking... Usually only lasting a few months. I've tried a few different brands and eventually the left ear always gos out for some reason. Maybe it's because i wear them at work and they are always getting snagged on something. Maybe it's because I always stuff it in my back pocket. Maybe it's the loud Volume? In ether case, it's pretty frustrating to have to buy a new pair over and over again.

  13. Shin Chan
    October 24, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    I'm surprised with the comments here and a bit with the article.

    I have a Sony MDR-v55, which costed me only €80 (I think they are around €60 now) which are considered "budget headphones" and I've been with them since 2011, used them almost every day (play games and love electronic music) and they are still fine. They have these "rattle sounds" but nothings broken or worn out. How can headphones last only for a few months to so many people? Some even said for weeks! Don't think it's the fault of your headphones nor the wires, it cannot be. I think new generations just don't treat things right.

    As for the article, I respect wireless headphones but I'm a little disappointed about the quality of them. I expected that the quality would raise according to the price from my wired Sony MDR-v55 (cheap) to the more expensive Sennheiser or Bose ones... But it isn't seem to be the case. This is something I think the article should have mentioned, for the same price wired headphones are better than the wireless ones.

    I have very clear what I'm gonna buy when I decide to invest in quality headphones... They are gonna be wired and I'm gonna consider brands other than Bose or Sennheiser too... Buying wireless phones because they are more compfy I find it respectable but those that break wired headphones in a few months (insane) will end up breaking their wireless ones too anyway.

    • Shin Chan
      October 24, 2017 at 9:08 pm

      Since I cannot edit I'm gonna reply again, just for clarification. When I said my headphones have "rattle sounds" I meant its chasis, body when I handle them. The sound quality itself is the same one than when I just bought them. Nothing else broken, the wire is still perfect, and it looks as a noodle LOL

      If I can make these "cheap" wired headphones last, so can you. So I suggest people being careful and choose wired or wireless headphones according to their quality or comfortability, if you break a wire you'll break the wireless ones anyway lol

    • Golliat
      December 19, 2017 at 12:02 am

      Damn son that's harsh.
      I had a pair of headphones last me more than a decade.
      Then they broke and I got new cheap ones.
      Those lasted me 3 years.
      Then I got new expensive ones.
      Those lasted me 2 months.

      I think you need to go restock on humility and consider the possibility that you just happened to luckily grab a cheap high-quality product.

  14. Elvis Presley
    October 8, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Well, I never do anything listed in this article, and all my headphones break after a few weeks. The longest a pair of headphones has lasted for me is a few months.

    My latest pair snapped in half the second time I used them, so I stopped buying them after that.

    Tomorrow I'm ordering wireless headphones, wish me luck!

  15. Zaki
    September 19, 2017 at 3:50 am

    I've never had earbuds or headphones that have lasted more than 2 months. The earbuds I have now have lasted the longest so far 3 months (skull candy earbuds). I don't know what it is but my stuff never last long I've tried all types of headphones/earbuds. Even the one I have now is wearing our first the right ear one stopped now the left one is barely working!!!! In the past 2 yrs I've probably used around 20 headphones/ ear buds. HELP

    • Mabel
      September 28, 2017 at 11:48 am

      Same! My sister thinks im just a mess but my new ones that I took more care off this time the sound on the left ear is gone I want to cry

    • Mabel
      September 28, 2017 at 11:49 am

      Same my sister thinks Im a mess and i really took care of my earphones this time and the sound on the right ear is gone I want to cry

  16. Andrew
    September 1, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    I keep going to sleep in them either because I was tired while talking to a girlfriend or because I had an important message that I needed to wake up for, just woke up about 45 minutes ago to earbuds that don't work anymore, the ones I forgot in my pants when I washed them work better at the moment although the sound only goes through one ear, on the ones I just slept in, I can unplug and plug them in but it doesn't change my audio at all, like normally if I have music playing from my phone and then plug them in my music automatically goes to them but it doesn't even stop my music, so it's not even registering. Is there a fix, will they be better later?

  17. cw
    August 26, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    The buyer needs to see a cross section of the wiring before buying.No wonder the cords fail,the wire is not mush thicker than a Human hair! But you only find this out one the usually thick outer sleeve is cut.It makes a rewire the only option.The standard 'wire; is irreparable.Headphone makers need to sort this out!

  18. Ashton
    August 22, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    My hd555 have no issue with regular cable, dropped them many times, few times I sit on them.

    What broke was manufacturing structural weakness known by many people.. kept them for few more years with some little glue? In the end though too many breaks from old age, switched to newer model, don't even take care of it aside from trying not to drop it too much. Been good past year expecting couple more.

    I'm a heavy user, junk like Philips etc breaks on me within months.
    Most of the time it's the product not the user.

    Then again friend had sennheizera and kept whining how easily they break.. maybe it's also about how legit your shop is or luck.. either way so far had a lot of bad luck with mainstream and 0 problems with audio oriented companies.

  19. Izalias
    July 26, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Don't forget about electromigration.

    It is the reason why most, if not all, 'solid state' integrated circuits appear to fail spontaneously, cranking the volume up on headphones makes metal in the wires heat up, this heated state allows the atoms to migrate due to known electrical effects and form voids & hillocks in the material at the atomic level, causing the resistance in the wire to increase, this added resistance increases the heat the wire produces at the void points and accelerates the degradation which exacerbates the problem further.

    Higher end headphones have have larger electro-magnets and allow more current to pass through the wires, however, this allows the wires to degrade faster. If you want your headphones to last longer, get the kinds with a thicker grade of wire inside the shell and play it at a lower volume, this means the wires have a lower resistance because there is more material for the current to move through and less current to cause the damage, slowing the effects of electomigration.

  20. Keltoniaz
    May 6, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    I have tried everything on this website and countless other sites, but I still can't get my earbuds to last more than a month or two. Does anyone know what I am doing wrong? Are there any tricks that aren't commonly known?

  21. Kelli
    April 27, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    I can't figure out how, but I know it has to be the iphone that is ruining my son's headphones. We have tried expensive, middle of the road, and super cheap. Anyone in the family can use them and they will be fine. Once he uses them in his phone, they stop working in one ear. The Apple store has cleaned out the jack, nothing has changed. It took about 3 pair of headphones before we thought it may be the phone and not the headphones. He doesn't listen too loudly and he takes care of his things. I want to trade in the phone but he wants to wait for the newest version to be released. So, I am sure it is poor responsibility with some...but I believe this to be a phone issue in this situation.

  22. Christopher Loughrey
    February 2, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Even when you take great care of headphone, there's wireless with no cords, and use moderate volume (I hate high volume) one phone ends up dying within a year or two no matter how expensive the headphones are. If you use headphones a lot they will go as the wear and tear of the phone components seems to not be as advanced and durable as they should be.

  23. BluCase
    November 27, 2016 at 7:14 am

    There is a new "Universal" water-resistant Earbuds Carrying Case called the "BudBudi" by BluCase, that has a durable clip to attach to backpacks, belts, purses, gym bags or carry bags.

  24. George
    September 10, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Ok, so I've got a problem . I have a crap Canyon webcam that came with a headset when I first bought it 4 years ago...I searched up in the store where I bought that webcam , and the headset alone was 10$ , it lasted me 4 years...Now I changed my PC speakers and they do not have a headset port...so I tried to connect a new 20$ headset directly to my PC but after 1 week , one side wasn't working anymore...I said: "Ok , maybe let's change the company of the headset and buy a new one" (I do not remember what company made that 20$ headset)And I tried to buy another Canyon one (with hope that it will last like the first one did) for , again , 20-25$ . Guess what? It broke again after 2 weeks...I don't know what to do , when I was not using the headset I was just letting it rest on my desk as freely as I could , and it broke after 2 weeks...My guess is that because my speakers do not have a headset plug (and I don't have another option just to connect the headset in the PC) That's why it just breaks after couple of weeks...

    Sorry if I couldn't explain my situation very clearly but I hope everyone understands , my first language is not english.
    If anyone knows some theory or if this is actually true , let me know.

  25. Some
    August 6, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Wish these tips were useful to me but it would mean changing the way i ise them entirely.. My earphones never leave my phone, i sleep with them in and i move around a lot in my sleep (I usually wake up with them twisted around my body) and they typically last 2-3 weeks with the last two not making it past a few days. The most recent just broke (why i'm here) should i just pay for apple ones? They lasted around a year and a half when i got them.

    • Larry
      October 5, 2016 at 8:42 am

      There is a new "Universal" water-resistant Earbuds Carrying Case called the "BudBudi" by BluCase, that has a durable clip to attach to backpacks, belts, purses, gym bags or carry bags.

  26. Averi
    July 7, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    I have a pair of headphones that cost like $5. That broke soon after I got them, and that I understand. But a $600 pair of headphones breaking after less than a year??? Am I doing something wrong? I am now on my 3rd pair of headphones in the last 2 years, and that pair just stopped working. My mom says it might be a problem with the headphone jack in my computer, which might be true. Now I'm using a $20 Philips set, which I've had for a few months. Is it just defective headphones, or is it a problem with my headphone jack?????
    Otherwise, I found this article somewhat useful, but I don't want my parent to have to dish out money just for some cheap headphones that break every couple of months!!!!!!!

  27. Nicholas
    June 20, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    This helps SOOOOOOO MUCH! Why didn't I think of a case to put it in. At the end of the day I leave them in my phone and put it under my bed. I guess that's bad. Also when I'm called to go downstairs or go use the bathroom, I just hide it (very well unlike my tablet which got caught) under my blanket and come back to what I was doing. I use them because I hide my phone upstairs and I like to listen with my volume on. Unfortunately, the volume can be too loud which A, I have to put my ear up against the phone but not able to watch it at the same time, and B, that can put me at risk of getting caught. Thank u very much

  28. Confused
    May 21, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    if you arent supposed to let it dangle or not wrap it up then what are you supposed to do?

  29. samuel
    March 3, 2016 at 12:47 am

    what if your headphones break like 2 says later after you just got them?

    • Joel Lee
      March 14, 2016 at 8:15 pm

      Maybe you got a defective model, or the company isn't very reputable. Hopefully you have a warranty that you can use. Otherwise, sorry. :(

  30. Joe King
    February 11, 2016 at 12:07 am

    I don't buy this at all. You should be able to get great headphones for under $20. I have a few sets of Sony headphones that have lasted more than 5 years and they're still as good as new, and they were less than $20. They have an extra thick cable, bigger than 1/8" in diamter, and are basically unbreakable. You could probably hang from it. And I've had expensive headphones that broke in a few months. So don't buy anything this guy is talking about he's basically just a commercial for ultra expensive headphones. Stick with a good company like Sony and let the ignorant hip hop idiots hawk their ultra expensive headphones to the gullible.

    • ChaseMooncheese
      July 11, 2016 at 1:37 pm

      i have a pair of 5 dollar headphones, which usually last me about a month each. In fact, they just broke a few days ago

  31. Tasha
    December 26, 2015 at 8:34 am

    I get this problem a lot with multiple types of headphones, and I dont know how to make it stop! Now, I am constantly using my headphones, upwards of 10 or more hours straight per day, so they do get more rough treatment than most... I used to go through $30 Sennheiser headphones every three months, this happened for nearly three years. Now I have a Bose AE2 hedset and find that 9 times out of 10 its in the cable, usually close to the jack that goes into my audio device :( The cables used to be $7 to replace but now they are nearly $20, and I dont want to have to start dishing out money again....is there any way to prevent the splice from happening in the first place?

  32. Anonymous
    September 8, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Please can someone recommend some earphones that aren't so easily broken, because I skate a lot and use them all day, every day and I haven't found a pair that think are great, many thanks.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 8, 2015 at 4:47 pm

      Nothing like earphones which won't break easily, unfortunately. Tried going wireless?

    • Anonymous
      October 12, 2015 at 6:36 am

      Best I've used by far. Outlasts the Samung standard headpnones by years.http://www.trustedreviews.com/nocs-ns500-review

    • Miliak
      December 9, 2015 at 10:13 am

      There are nylon rope (aka braided) headphones. Unfortunately they tend to be on cheap headphones. I saw one on a 300$ pair a guy showed me though. They are tough to find on 30-60$ pairs. There is a kit I saw on ebay to braid them, idk what is involved

  33. Anonymous
    August 8, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    I had around 8 headsets already.
    The problem usually is either one side stops work due to headphones falling on the ground too many times or the whole headphones working like they are going to die which happens from pulling the cable when I forget I have them on.

    The second is the one that is happening now.
    The problem is that the jack is fine,but the wire is broken somewhere where it enters the headset which makes it hard to fix.
    Does anyone know easy way of fixing it?

  34. Anonymous
    July 13, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    Could there be something wrong with the plug/plugs in my MBP and iPhone? I have bought a new pair of headphones EVERY WEEK from yes albeit the reject shop for between $2-$12 but every single time one side loses sound quality or both sides diminish to such a point that I can only hear music and no voice or the other way around with weird squeaking. It NEVER happened with my the headphones I first got with my iPhone. I can't recall if I lost those or if after a number of years they gave out to be honest. But they were the ONLY ones I had for a long time. Oh! And I decided to try buying more expensive sets from Kmart- same thing! Within a week or sometimes even 12-24 hours!- they've died.

    • Anonymous
      September 28, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      Really ? Well that's interesting because I've been using Sennheiser I300 headphones (cheap but decent) for a fairly reasonable time when one polarity ended up not working anymore (as for any other headphones I've had before). But here's where this gets interesting, my Sennheiser now useless, I've been using the headphones that were given out along with my iPhone 5S and in less than three months, I already stumble upon issues I'd never had before, mainly with the plug. My phone is always in my pocket when I'm listening to music, and the plug actually shuts the audio output in either the Left or the Right channel randomly. Moving the connection between the plug and the wire seems to fix it albeit very temporarly, as the issue shows back up instantly after doing so (because said wire tends to move to the sides). That said, I'm just surprised to hear that you haven't any issues with Apple headphones because mines are garbage.

    • Dr Pickles
      December 23, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      You have fluff in your phones headphone socket. You need to get the fluff out with a needle or something

  35. Anonymous
    July 2, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Such a stupid shit, i got pretty good headphones like a year they were okay, one then broke, so i just destroyed them in an instant rage, then i got again the same type of headphones (earphones the small ones) and they broke after like a month not even? this is just prove that the phones had just shitty fragile cabling, like all the ones i had before, they just break and keep breaking even if they are pretty expensive, its just stupid and annoying you expect me to listen to such a quiet volume thus cant even overloud the outside sounds? annoying shit packing them into a bag all the time i stop listening, there are just no earphones with good cabling i mean, like a fat cable, no there are just not. i didnt even spin them nothing, i just let them lay on a small table, they were free, they could move, what is this shit, annoying headphones really.

  36. whyyyyy
    April 27, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    I'm gonna cry. Why must they be so fragile?! Fml

  37. Maxis
    April 20, 2015 at 10:29 am

    I MEAN

    sorry my bad

  38. Maxis
    April 20, 2015 at 10:19 am

    does putting spiral cord around the earphone cable (which has flat cable design) also damage it?
    what if the earphone cable is round? is it still okay?

    btw, the spiral cord's for protection and i notice if it is on a flat cable, it is tight.

  39. hotdoge3
    April 30, 2013 at 8:04 am

    all good $2 shop and 2 years and very good

  40. Bob Oh
    April 17, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    I'm a working DJ so I can say that I've been lucky that I have had to replace only two pair of 'phones in 15 years of DJing. The first was due to a theft and the second pair was broken by another DJ who used them improperly and cracked the ear piece. So I can attest to the care of headphones is well worth the cost of a replacement head piece @ $250 a pair. Thanks for the tips.

  41. Reinis Vesers
    April 12, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    I used to have the "every three months" problem too. I won't say that I was too careful with my earbuds (I use only earbuds because of their compactness) and they weren't of any quality. But then, i got myself an HTC Desire HD and momentarily fell in love with the original earbuds that came with the phone. The quality was good, they served me for more than two years although I wasn't careful with them and in the end they died, because i left them on the couch for half a minute where my dog got to them. My dad bought himself a new HTC phone and the first thing i did, was relieve him from his headphones and they've worked great for me for the last 1,5 years or so.

    • Reinis Vesers
      April 12, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      I'm pretty sure that even if my next phone isn't going to be an HTC, I will still use the original HTC earbuds.

  42. Keith Swartz
    April 11, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    I love it: Everytime I read an article like this and increase my knowledge on said subject at least 50%! Thank you Joel & MUO.com!

    • Joel Lee
      April 15, 2013 at 4:14 am

      You're welcome! Glad you could benefit. :)

    • Natgunnels
      September 12, 2013 at 3:37 am

      Keep try

  43. Billy
    April 11, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    $10 ear buds aren't all that bad especially if you're just using them at the gym. I've been using the same pair (JVC) for 2yrs without fail. Got them at Walmart just to have something cheap to use and it wouldn't matter if they got all sweaty while working out. They're still going strong.

  44. Chris Hoffman
    April 11, 2013 at 11:44 am

    My current pair of Sennheisers have been yanked on and crashed to the floor so many times over the years, but they just keep on truckin'. The best tip is not to cheap out and to spend a bit more, those $10-$20 pairs of headphones will break much more easily (in addition to sounding worse).

    • Joel Lee
      April 15, 2013 at 4:13 am

      I've heard mixed reviews on Sennheisers, but the general rule of thumb is that higher price point = higher quality, so you probably have one of the better models. I always cringe when I hear people accidentally yank their headphones to the ground. :(

  45. macwitty
    April 11, 2013 at 9:55 am

    I use a simple cable winder and wind it loose on it

  46. Nevzat A
    April 11, 2013 at 5:52 am

    Headphones look like a more healthy choice to me lately, thanks to a MUO article for ear health.

  47. Zhong J
    April 11, 2013 at 5:14 am

    Now I prefer purchasing headphones because they are more durable than ordinary earphones, the last time I purchase these earbuds I wore them during sleep and got crushed overnight when shifting between positions. It happened several time until the thing broke with no identifiable cause, as if the slight cable was detached inside the ear case and eventually throw it away. I've also discovered that you shouldn't buy a headphone that cables reach to both right and left ear pieces, since it has high chance of forcibly tearing off from your ear when you're reaching for something thus causing wiring damage. Whenever you're not using them, put them away in a dry and cool location and not somewhere it feel or in a sack of other junk.

  48. Chris Marcoe
    April 11, 2013 at 4:52 am

    My breakage always includes the wire. Whether its an animal chewing on it to something coming lose. Is it fixable when its the wiring?

    though, I ahve had the brittle head piece break on my favorites. That's what happens when you have a 15 YO boy headbanging with them while on vacation.

    • Joel Lee
      April 15, 2013 at 4:11 am

      I've never done it myself, but as far as I know you can actually repair broken wiring if you solder it correctly. A few queries on Google should lead you to a reliable answer on that.

    • Natgunnels
      September 12, 2013 at 3:36 am

      Yea you right all log for now

    • Natgunnels
      September 12, 2013 at 3:37 am

      I beak my headphones a lot you help me

  49. Steve
    April 11, 2013 at 3:35 am

    One of the reasons that headphones break? They're manufactured by Ultimate Ears.

  50. Tom Six
    April 11, 2013 at 2:19 am

    Really wished I had read this sooner because my head phones just busted...and thanks to this article, I understand that much more.

    • Jason
      April 7, 2015 at 7:29 am

      yup, same here buddy.

  51. Richard Steven Hack
    April 11, 2013 at 1:50 am

    Anything that breaks that easily is almost always because of piss-poor design. There are obvious ways to reduce tension on cables that should be incorporated in headphone design and almost never are.

    Beyond that, the answer as always to cables is: wireless. Which of course brings in the fact that no one REALLY knows how to make THAT work reliably.

  52. Flavius Graur
    April 11, 2013 at 12:19 am

    Freezing weather is also a reason. I change about 3 headphones every winter because I listen to music when going out in the cold. The cable becomes brittle and eventually breaks.

    • Joel Lee
      April 15, 2013 at 4:09 am

      I saw a picture once where someone's earbud cables were frozen into a straight line. Freezing temperatures can definitely wreak havoc on technology under the right conditions.