We usually acknowledge that proper earphone care is important after multiple instances of wrecking our favourite earbuds. Be it that unfortunate bicycle incident or a ditzy trip to the laundry, you'll agree that it doesn't take much to destroy earphones.
Often, it's because we take them for granted – unfortunately, earphones are rather delicate pieces of tech, regardless of whether they're expensive or not. Ultimately, it's a couple of impossibly fine threads of wire carrying signals from your phone to your ears.
But fret not, we'll show you how to maximise the lifetime your earphones so you don't have to learn the hard way.
Don’t carry them in your pocket in a tangled mess
Because we are not savages, we should keep our earphones neatly wound in a carrying case – we do not stuff them into our pockets or toss them into our bags when we are done with them. Oh Lord no.
There's a good reason for this. Although most earphone wires and their stress points were designed to take a fair amount of abuse, they won't last long if you constantly push your luck.
The wire connecting the 3.5mm jack and the earbuds are made up of fine copper wires protected by a rubber or braided sleeve, which isn't much. So where possible, don't apply extra tension to the wires or their joints, and don't wrap your earphones around your music player. Instead, roll up your wire into a coil and keep it in a carry case (or bag) when not in use to prevent the cord from getting damaged. It takes a little more effort, but your earphones will express its thanks through extra years of trouble-free service.
Don’t share them with a buddy
You may have a soul connection with a fellow My Chemical Romance or Limp Bizkit fan, but that stops short of ear-canal-to-ear-canal relations. We aren't suggesting that you carry cotton buds and disinfectant in your bag, but the ear canal can be a pretty gross place so bring them if you intend to pass your earphones around. Alternatively, you can consider using a jack splitter which allows two headphones to be plugged into one device. But that's not the only thing that needs cleaning.
Because earphones are placed in the ear and constantly exposed to the elements, it requires more cleaning than you'd think. Especially so when you have white or colourful earphones – use them regularly for a month and you can see how much dirt can build up in this short time. Avoid harsh cleaners like alcohol unless you're certain that the finish will not be affected, but in any case, a damp cloth or a mild wet tissue will suffice. Suffice also to say that you should not get the internal circuits wet.