Do Earbuds Degrade Over Time?

Have you been using your earbuds for a while? Concerned that they degrade over time? Check out the reasons why and how you can stop it from happening.

Black wireless earbuds

You’ve been using your earbuds for a while now, and you may have noticed a slight change. So, you are wondering: Do earbuds degrade over time? Well, that’s what we’ll be answering today. Thought you may want to know this in case you’re planning on buying an expensive model of earbuds.

Earbuds do degrade over time. It’s highly unlikely for earbuds to lose audio quality over time. The battery of wireless earbuds degrades way before there is any loss in audio quality. The hardware of wired earbuds also degrades before there is a loss of audio.

There are ways to get the most out of your earbuds, let’s approach this thoroughly.

How Do Earbuds Degrade

We’ve concluded that earbuds lose some of their qualities over time. How does that happen? I’m sure you already had earbuds or headphones that lasted for years. Even if you took good care of them, you must have noticed parts that were worn out.

Those parts of the earbuds that are prone to degrade are what we’ll be going over here. Some parts that degrade over time can affect the audio. However, the audio quality by itself shouldn’t degrade even after 10 years. Most likely, you’ll change your earbuds because of something else before changing them because of audio quality.

Rechargeable Batteries

All wireless earbuds use re-chargeable batteries. The reason why earbuds are so attractive is that they are small and compact. Well, the only way manufacturers can make earbuds of that size is by using rechargeable batteries.

Re-chargeable batteries are the first thing to degrade in earbuds. Every time you recharge them, they lose a little bit of their capacity. Every time batteries are exposed to unpleasant temperatures, they degrade. The batteries will degrade over time, regardless of the care you’re taking with the earbuds.

The average lifespan of earbuds batteries is 2-3 years. Some cheap models have batteries that won’t last a full year. Expensive earbuds have better batteries with a longer lifespan.

So, if you’ve noticed that your earbuds last significantly shorter before re-charging, the earbud batteries are degrading. The batteries are not replaceable, which means you need new earbuds.

How To Take Care Of Earbuds


The design of the earpiece is crucial for the quality of the earbuds. It plays a big part in noise-canceling. Its most important function is to provide comfort for your ear.

Ears can be a nasty place. No one wants their earbud to be used by someone else, nor to use someone else’s earbuds. Ear wax sticks to the earpiece. Also, earbuds are mostly used for running, so they can be covered in sweat. All these damage the external part of the earpiece.

While with proper care this can be avoided, time does its part. The buildup of sweat and earwax will degrade the earbud. You may notice a muffed sound. In some cases, the case seal will come off from all that sweat.

Related article – Can Headphones Cause Ear Wax?

Earbuds Hardware

The hardware of the earbuds is prone to degrade after a certain amount of time. Most likely, the batteries or the earpiece will degrade before the hardware. Just in case, I thought I would mention this too.

Chips and coils are what you need to be worried about. The coil is the part of the hardware that is most likely to degrade. Chips should be fine if the earbuds weren’t dropped more than once or twice.

It’s hard to imagine a pair of earbuds that didn’t fall now and then. This leads to the damaged hardware. If the hardware is degrading, the earbuds won’t last much longer. Usually, they die the instant the coil or chip is damaged.

Now that you are aware of how earbuds degrade over time, let’s see what you can do about it.

Related Article: How To Keep Wireless Earbuds From Falling Out

Black earbuds close up image

How To Take Care Of Earbuds

We can all agree that there aren’t any good cheap earbuds. The good models are not necessarily expensive but they still go for a big amount. I’m sure most of you opt for good earbuds. So, taking good care of your earbuds is essential. That is if you don’t want to buy a pair every year.

It’s really easy to look after your earbuds. All it takes is a little bit of effort. I promise you that the steps we’ll go over are not time-consuming. Even the busy bee can find time to care for his earbuds. Do the steps that follow and your earbuds will last significantly longer.

  1. Keep the earbuds at room temperature. Earbuds’ batteries can’t handle hot and cold temperatures. Don’t leave them out in the cold or a hot car.
  2. Stop charging the earbuds when fully charged. The batteries lose a lot of their capacity if they are overcharged. It’s a good rule to have an eye on the battery status while the earbuds are charging.
  3. Keep the charging cycles to a minimum. Maintaining a healthy battery life means charging the earbuds only when necessary(when empty). And it’s way better to leave them charging until they are fully charged. Charging them inconsistently and only at a usable percentage will drain the capacity.
  4. Clean the earbuds from sweat and earwax. If you don’t let earwax and sweat build up in the earbuds, you’re much better off. With a brush, carefully clean any debris in the speaker, don’t push in though. Then, with a Q tip dipped in alcohol, clean what’s the rest of the earwax. The Q tip shouldn’t be drowning in alcohol.
  5. Turn off the earbuds when you’re not using them. The battery will be draining even if nothing is playing. That means more unnecessary charging cycles. Just take the time to turn off the earbuds while not being used.
  6. Keep the earbuds in the case. Every time you drop the earbuds a part of the hardware is damaged. You can easily prevent that by keeping the earbuds in their case when you’re not using them.

There it is, that’s all you have to do. Hopefully, you learned something here. Take good care of your earbuds, after all, they are not something to take for granted.

Related Article – 14 Best Wireless Earbuds

Related Questions And FAQs

Do Headphones Deteriorate Over Time?

Yes, headphones will degrade over time. Wireless headphones die out because of the limited lifespan of batteries. Also, the cushioning will most likely deteriorate, which leads to bad noise-canceling.

Related article – Why Are Earbuds Better Than Headphones?

Will Loud Volumes Damage Earbuds?

No, there isn’t any evidence that loud sounds can damage earbuds and headphones. Loud volumes only damage your hearing. So, try to limit listening to loud music only to 30 minutes max.