Ask LH: How Can I Stop My Earbuds Wearing Out?

Hey Lifehacker, Many of my pairs of earbuds seem to be losing signal in just one of the buds. I suspect this is due to me removing one earbud out to listen to what’s happening around me; my fingers tend to grab both the earbud and the cable and I suspect that wears the wire out. Is there anything I can do to protect the cable? Right Ear Listener

Dear REL,

While it pains me to state the bleeding obvious, the easiest solution is to remove your earbuds more gently. Even the cheapest earphones are pretty sophisticated pieces of equipment which makes them easy to break; especially when the build quality is flimsy. Try handling them with more care and always keep your grasp on the rear casing to the driver (i.e. — the plastic bits that stick out of your ear).

If your butter-fingers cannot be trusted, try shielding the cables by wrapping some electrical tape around the joins. It wont look pretty but it will definitely add more protection. For a slightly more elegant solution, you could use Sugru or heat-shrink tubing to achieve the same effect. (As an added bonus, this also allows you to customise the fit of your earbuds so they’re more comfortable to wear.)

It’s also important to get into the habit of coiling your cables properly. This video shows how it’s done:

We’re going to throw this one over to our readers: how do you keep your earbuds in tip-top shape? If you’ve uncovered any solutions that cut down on wear-and-tear, let REL know in the comments sections below.

See also: The Ultimate Guide To Headphone Wrapping | Use Plasti Dip To Fix Stripped Headphone Wires | Make Your Headphones More Comfortable With These DIY Tricks | Five Best Earbuds

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