Earbud Lifespan [ How long and When to Replace ]




Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

Not all earbuds are made equal, and neither is the type of wear and tear that they’d endure. You may have already purchased a pair of earbuds or are looking to do so, but are asking yourself the question, “How long are they likely to last, and when will I need to replace them?”

When it comes to the lifespan of your earbuds, you can look at an average of between six months and two years. This will vary by brand as well as the type of abuse they receive. Generally, the time to replace them is when their sound begins to distort or cease entirely.

We now have an idea of what sort of timeframe we are looking at, but I think we can dissect this even further and examine ways of extending the lifespan of our earbuds and hopefully help you understand how long wireless earbuds last.

We also need to examine the indicators in terms of when we ought to consider replacing them.

How Long Do Earbuds Usually Last

This is an interesting question as it can differ from person to person, but one thing is for certain: they will eventually die on you; how long that will take, depends on various factors.

Eventually, your headphones will give up the ghost; they are not hardy and robust devices; they are delicate and tend to have small and intricate inner workings.

As time passes, the numerous parts within will experience wear and tear for an array of reasons, and eventually, something will give.

Although that seems like a troubling thought, there is hope that if you care for them properly, you can prolong the inevitable.

They do not come with a specific expiration date, but a good ballpark is that they ought to at least last you a full year, before they need replacing.

Some people treat their earbuds like they are made of steel, and thus we sometimes find cases where people’s earbuds only last a few months or even as little as weeks.

However, if you treat them with care and look after them properly, you could have them lasting up to three or four years.

If you are exceptionally careful with them, and treat them well, you may have them lasting even longer than this. However, it is advisable to remember that they may give up any time after their first year or two. 

With this in mind, we need to draw your attention to one specific factor that is likely to play the biggest role in the life span of your earbuds, and that is how much bank you are willing to fork out.

For the most part, what you pay for is what you get. The less you pay, the more likely they are going to have a shorter lifespan.

When Should You Replace Earbuds

There Is Distortion (Especially At High Volumes)

If you are listening to your music or audio at higher volumes and there is distinct distortion, it is most likely time for you to get new earbuds.

One Side Is Louder Than The Other

One of the similar issues you may find, is that instead of distortion, there is a difference in the levels of sound between the earbuds, and this is not attributed to the panning of the music, but rather that one of the buds is broken.

There Is A Crackling When You Move The Cord

This generally means there has been damage done internally to the wire that connects the jack to the earbuds.

Usually, if you wiggle the area just behind the jack, you will experience a crackling noise, which will likely mean that it is damaged beyond repair.

Their Cord Begins to Fray Or Crack And Break

Over time with general wear and tear, the cord earbud may experience the problem mentioned above, which could cause the now exposed inner wires to become damaged, as well.

They Have Water Damage

This could be caused for two potential reasons: either they went through the wash or fell into water, or you use them when you workout, and they have sustained damage due to being exposed to sweat.

Whatever the reason, your precious earbuds have most likely shorted out.

If they were exposed to water, you could potentially dry them out in a bag of rice or use a hairdryer set to a low temperature.

Still, if it is from constant exposure to sweat, you ought to consider getting yourself sports earbuds specially designed for this sort of abuse.

Wireless Earbuds No Longer Holding Their Charge

If you are using wireless earbuds and they are no longer holding their charge, then it is probably time to consider replacing them.

One thing you could do to aid in prolonging the battery life of these earbuds is to store them outside their charging case, if you are only using them for short periods at a time.

Try not to charge them unnecessarily, and be sure to only have them plugged in while they are actually charging and then remove them from the case once they have a full charge.

Even if your earbuds do not break, their batteries are finally going to be the end of them, as all rechargeable batteries are destined to eventually lose their ability to hold a charge.

What Shortens The Lifespan Of Earbuds

When it comes to looking at some of the causes why our earbuds may get damaged, some other things may happen, which we could prevent in order to ensure the longevity of our earbuds.

Bending, Twisting, Tugging On, Or Rolling The Cord

This is something that may often occur, especially if we are playing with the corded earbuds. One could cause the internal wiring to break and render the earbuds unusable by purposefully or accidentally doing this.

Not Using Proper Carrying Case

It is much simpler to place your earbuds into your pocket or satchel and be on your way, but this can cause serious damage to the internal wiring and is something that can be easily avoided.

Hard storage cases accompany most higher-quality earbuds, and it is advisable to use these.

Pulling On The Chord Instead Of The Plug

Many of us are lazy at times, and it is much easier to simply grab onto the cord and pull the earbuds out this way, but as you will have come to realize, this sort of action will only damage the internal wiring and could even mean the end of your earbuds for good.

Exposure To Moisture

We have already mentioned this point, but it is crucial to remember not to allow your earbuds, like any other electronic device, to be exposed to moisture, particularly for prolonged periods.

If you use your earbuds when you work out, expect them to have a shorter lifespan than expected.

Listening At High Volumes

Although we know that we should think of replacing them once they start to distort at high volumes, one cause of that potential distortion is actually by listening to audio at high volumes, to begin with.

Rather keep your maximum listening volume to between seventy and eighty percent.

Buying Inexpensive Earbuds

This one may appear obvious, but sometimes we may forget that when something is cheap, it is generally because it is of lower quality than its counterparts.

Inexpensive earbuds or those which come with a device, such as your cell phone, are going to have shorter life spans, guaranteed.


You are going to need to consider the price tag when it comes to earbuds. There are those at the low end and those at the high end, and their price usually affirms their overall quality. So, if you want earbuds that will last longer, consider spending more.

With that being said, though, if you are someone who does not treat their earbuds kindly and you know that you will likely cause damage to or break them regardless of how much you have spent on them, then perhaps you would be better off going with a cheaper pair.

Apart from pricing, the main other factors, as mentioned, is how you treat and care for them. It is a good idea to keep your earbuds clean and to store and carry them in a manner that would best preserve them.

Beats Studio3 Wireless Headphones

Beats Studio3 Wireless Headphones

  • High-performance wireless noise-canceling headphones
  • Pure adaptive noise canceling (pure ANC) actively blocks external noise
  • Up to 22 hours of battery life enables full-featured all-day wireless playback
Beats Studio3 Advanced

Beats Studio3 Advanced

  • High-performance wireless noise-canceling headphones
  • Pure adaptive noise canceling (pure ANC) actively blocks external noise
  • Up to 22 hours of battery life enables full-featured all-day wireless playback
  • Apple’s W1 chip
JBL Everest Elite 300

JBL Everest Elite 300

  • Bluetooth 4.0 – Connect to any Bluetooth-enabled device for amazing sound quality without the hassle of wires
  • Legendary JBL Pro Audio Sound – Enjoy the same elevated experience and incredible sound JBL has been delivering to concert halls, studios, and living rooms
JBL Everest 750 Headphones

JBL Everest 750 Headphones

  • Adaptive Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Bluetooth Headphones
  • Legendary JBL Pro Audio Sound
  • 15 Hour Battery, Quick Recharge In 3 Hours
JBL Under Armour Sport

JBL Under Armour Sport

  • UNDER ARMOUR FABRIC TECHNOLOGY: Featuring two of Under Armour’s unique fabric technologies
  • UP TO 16-HOUR SPEED CHARGE BATTERY: Wireless headphones that last long and recharge quickly. One hour of workout time on just 5 minutes’ charge.
Monster ROC Sport

Monster ROC Sport

  • Powerful pure Monster sound. Connectivity technology: Wired
  • Control Talk universal inline Audio controls
  • Tangle-free Coiled cable
  • Exclusively designed for Cristiano Ronaldo

About the author

Leave a Reply

Latest posts

  • Enjoying Music: A Complete Starter Guide for Audiophiles

    Enjoying Music: A Complete Starter Guide for Audiophiles

    Almost every human being out there loves listening to music and some may like it a bit more than others. For these Audiophiles, music is an experience, pleasure, and obsession. If you have thought of picking up this new and exciting hobby, you have much to prepare for. In this article, I will share an…

    Read more

  • Coding: Why Headphones Help for Silencing Noisy Brains

    Coding: Why Headphones Help for Silencing Noisy Brains

    Coders or “hackers,” clicking away on their keyboard with a pair of headphones or earphones on their ears, is a common sight in movies, cartoons, and video games. That is pretty much true, even in real life. If you’re around coders enough, you might’ve noticed that and wondered why coders wear headphones. Coders wear headphones…

    Read more

  • 6 Amazing Bone Conduction Headphone Options Under $50

    6 Amazing Bone Conduction Headphone Options Under $50

    While many of the highest quality bone conduction headphones will be over $100 in cost there are some good options available at a value in more budget-friendly value. While these may be missing some things that come standard in more expensive versions the issues have to do with features like longer battery life or more…

    Read more