Earbuds have become an irreplaceable part of our everyday lives. You listen to music on the train, in the car, on a walk, in the gym, and at home. Despite being handy, earbuds break so easily — why so?
Here are 6 reasons why earbuds break so easily:
- You drop the earbuds too often.
- You’re tugging the cord.
- You’re using cheap earbuds.
- You leave the earbuds in unsafe places.
- Humidity gets into the earbuds.
- The earbuds always tangle.
In this article, I will cover wired and wireless earbuds and explain why they break so easily. I will also share tips on how to extend their lifespan.
1. You Drop the Earbuds Too Often
This reason hits home for me. I use the QCY T1C Wireless Earbuds from Amazon.com.
You can hardly tell the difference between the QCY T1C and earbuds that cost five times as much. The sound quality is incredible, the bass is punchy, and even the microphones are great.
But I dropped them at least a hundred times over the last few months.
The last time I dropped the earbuds, they split into two halves. They surprisingly still worked, so I consider myself lucky.
Both wired and wireless earbuds are very delicate. If you drop them, there’s a chance that the earbud will split open.
When that happens, the wiring inside the earbud gets torn. As you might expect, the earbuds stop working.
If you aren’t careful, you’ll drop your earbuds. This is especially true if you use the wireless kind.
While drops will inevitably happen, there are a few things you can do to protect your earbuds:
- Keep your wireless earbuds in the battery case. The case can is a bit more robust than the earbuds themselves. It can absorb the impact. And, if it breaks, it’s less damage overall.
- Use the right earbud tips. If your tips are too large or too small, the earbuds can easily fall out of your ear.
- Use earbud wings/ear hooks. Most earbuds designed for sport come with wings. They prevent the earbud from falling out of your ear. Also, they reduce the impact if they fall.
- Be more mindful. I can’t stress this enough. Pay attention when taking your earbuds out of your pocket. It’ll reduce the likelihood of them falling on concrete.
- Put the cord over your ears. If you’re rocking wired earbuds, use the cable as a makeshift ear hook. Place the cord around your ear before putting in in the earbud.
2. You’re Tugging the Cord
It doesn’t matter how expensive and fancy the cord of your earbuds looks. Never yank on it because it’ll break.
When you’re plugging the earphones out, don’t pull the cord. Instead, use a firm grip on the jack of the cable to pull it out of your phone.
You should never pull on a cord of any kind, not just the earbuds. It can damage even the thickest wires, not to mention the thin earbud cord.
Most wired earbuds break because of the wire inside the cable breaks. If only one earbud works, then this is the reason.
You can test it yourself by bending the cable in different places. If it only works when you twist the cord a certain way, then that’s the place where it’s broken.
Note that the wire could still be broken even if bending it doesn’t fix it.
You can repair a broken earbud cord by splicing the wire. Splicing is when you connect two ends of a wire.
Wranglerstar explains how to splice a wire correctly in this YouTube video:
But you may be better off by buying a new pair of earbuds. Even if you splice it correctly, it’ll look ugly.
3. You’re Using Cheap Earbuds
There’s a reason some earbuds cost $2 and others $2,000. Cheap earbuds might sound fine, but the quality is always going to suffer.
The wires inside the earbuds aren’t soldered adequately, and the drivers themselves are substandard.
Cheap earbuds that break and need replacing every few months are extremely wasteful. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t buy cheap electronics, but don’t buy low-quality stuff.
If you want a cheap pair of high-quality earbuds, get the Panasonic ErgoFit from Amazon.com. Don’t let the price fool you because these earbuds sound phenomenal.
Panasonic makes some of the best wired earbuds out there. This pair can last you at least 2 to 3 years. If you’re careful, they can last even longer.
4. You Leave the Earbuds in Unsafe Places
If you have a habit of leaving your earbuds in whatever place, stop. Wired earbuds can get caught in the door, which will rip them apart.
And wireless earbuds are even easier to misplace. If they end up on the floor, they can get stepped on or even vacuumed. The dust inside the vacuum can destroy them, so be careful.
I once broke my earbuds because I misplaced them in my uncle’s car. One earbud fell out of my pocket and got caught in the car door.
As you can imagine, the 15-mile drive home wrecked the earbud.
We always bring our earbuds with us wherever we go — and throw them into our backpack, car glove box, pocket, and onto the table.
But if you want your earbuds to last, be more conscious when leaving them somewhere. Never let them dangle somewhere because somebody walking by can tear the cable.
Even if that doesn’t happen, gravity can also damage them. The weight of the earbud can loosen the wiring inside by pulling on it.
5. Humidity Gets Into the Earbuds
Water vapor can get into the earbuds if you use them outside under the rain or during workouts.
ERS explains that humidity damages electronics by causing corrosion. Earbuds aren’t immune to this, either.
After all, earbuds have a few holes through which humidity can enter. The microphone and the speaker driver are the two main vents.
Some earbuds like the AirPods Pro have even more vents to create an open sound stage effect.
But there must be a way to prevent humidity, right?
There is. You can get earbuds that have an IP rating for water and dust resistance. And IP-rated earbuds don’t even have to be expensive to be effective.
If you want to use your earbuds when it rains, on scorching summer days, or at the gym, get the EarFun Wireless IPX5 Earbuds from Amazon.com. You can submerge these earbuds up to 1 meter (3.3 feet) for up to 30 minutes, so a bit of sweat has nothing on them.
Also, they use Bluetooth 5.2 to provide superior sound quality. And they use USB-C, which is a plus in my book.
Note that you shouldn’t swim with earbuds of any kind, not even IP-rated ones. Water could still get into them. And there’s a small chance that the battery inside a wireless earbud blows up.
If you want to listen to music in a swimming pool, bring your Bluetooth speaker with you.
6. The Earbuds Always Tangle
The worst part about wired earbuds is that they tangle so easily. The thin cable wraps around itself, which makes it difficult to untangle.
I’ve seen many people leaving their earbuds tangled the whole time. They don’t untangle them even when they listen to music.
Not only does this look bad, but it’s also very bad for your earbuds. Bending the wire inside is bad because it can break.
I know that feeling when you carefully wrap the earbuds and put them into your pocket. When you want to take them out, they’re magically tangled.
It doesn’t matter how meticulous you are. The cable always tangles. But did you know there’s a way to wrap your earbuds tangle-free?
Commando Designs explains in this video how to wrap your earbuds correctly:
I know that wrapping them like this takes a bit more time, but it’s worth it. At the very least, use this method when storing the earbuds in drawers or when traveling.