Ask LH: How Can I Stop My Earphone Buds From Breaking?

Dear Lifehacker, After going through my third pair of earphones for my mobile in recent times, I was wondering if there is a “preferred” way to keep the phone in your pocket? Do you have the lead facing upwards from the outside of the pocket, or down towards the groin? I’m sick of my earphones not lasting a year before the connection becomes sketchy. Thanks, Pointed Question

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Dear PQ,

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t be keeping your earbuds in your pocket at all. Earphones contain tiny, delicate components which are notoriously easy to break – especially if the build quality was cheap to begin with. In other words, jamming them in your jeans pocket is just asking for trouble.

With that said, we realise it’s not always practical to carry your music player around in your hand. To cut down on wear and tear, we’d suggest pointing up is better, as there’s no bend near the connector that way. You should also handle them with more care – avoid grabbing the actual buds and be careful how you fold the cable.

The below Lifehacker video offers some wrapping techniques that could extend the lifespan of your headphones:

Another approach is to wrap tape around the cable joins for extra protection. This doesn’t look particularly attractive but at least your earphones will last longer. You can achieve the same effect with Sugru, rubber coating, heat-shrink tubing or liquid electrical tape for a slightly more elegant look.

An alternative strategy is to invest in a Bluetooth headset. Removing the cable from the equation should lead to less breakages and also removes the hassle of tangles. Just be aware that this will run down your battery faster.

If any readers have their own headphone maintenance tips, let PQ know in the comments sections below.


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