How To Avoid Breaking Your Earbuds
It’s annoying when you reach for your headphones in the bottom of your pocket or gym bag, only to find the cables have broken so sound only reaches one ear, or worse—there’s no sound at all. But it’s not inevitable.
Buy quality earbuds
Buying high quality earbuds in the first place prevents countless problems. The connection points between the cable and the jack, and between the cable and the base of each earbud are vulnerable to the stress and bending that cause frayed cables. Choose earbuds with a reinforced, flexible coating extending around these connection points, or seal these sections with a polymer like Sugru.
You can always avoid cable fraying issues altogether by using Bluetooth-enabled earbuds, but if these are attached to cords, you’ll still want to keep them tangle free.
Wrap your cables
Winding the cables too tightly in one direction (around your phone, for example) can add kinks into the cord that wear away at the wires inside. This can also set the cables into a pattern that makes them more difficult to unwind over time. The best techniques to avoid this involve looping the cables in two directions, so the bends counteract each other. The ‘Over Under’ technique, demonstrated by Hack College uses forward and backward looping motions, closed with a metal twist tie/Lifehacker’s ‘Devil Horns’ technique, shown in this video, does something similar, making good use of the metal salute. By holding the earbuds under your thumb, and extending your first and fourth fingers to make the ‘horns’, wrap the cables around them in a figure-8 pattern. With either technique, the cables will unwind smoothly.
Keep them safe
Finally, once they’re wrapped, keep them tucked inside your jacket or shirt pocket so they’re upright and not in danger of being bashed around and destroyed by whatever else is in your bag. Get a hard shell headphone case to keep them in—besides protecting your headphones from tangling and shocks, they’ll be easier to find when you need them, and in working order.
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