Deadphones: the ten most common headphone deaths

Deadphones: the ten most common headphone deaths

David Lee
Zurich, on 05.09.2017
Translation: Eva Francis
Not all headphones are the same: They all have their own ways of breaking down. In a dead serious, empirical field study carried out in my home, I’ve determined the ten most popular headphone deaths.

These are the ten most common reasons why you have to say good-bye to your headphones:

1. The cable breaks, snaps or tears.

It’s a timeless classic and hasn’t gone out of fashion, despite Bluetooth. While some headphones prefer passing away randomly, others wait for their owner to drag the cable along the floor or tread on it on the dancefloor. Even dying is more fun this way.

2. The audio plug snaps off.

Another all-time favourite. Even the strongest rubber reinforcement on the audio plugs can’t stop headphones on their quest for self-construction. Once learned, never forgotten.

3. The ear cushions start to crumble.

The «slow deterioration method» is very popular with headphones that enjoy taking the mickey out of their owners. The crumbling process takes several weeks or even months and in this time, the owner is covered in small, black bits of plastic. You wouldn’t know yourself, but others are sure to notice.

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These cushions have almost completed their deterioration.

4. The inline cable control stops working.

With integrated microphone, volume control and other gimmicks, modern headphone cables have more possibilities to break. Wouldn’t it be a shame to miss out on this potential?

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All the things than can break within a cable – it’s rather fascinating.

5. The headband breaks.

Ironically, this often happens with «extremely durable» headphone models. What starts off super-elastic becomes brittle after a while.

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Some headphones might look unbreakable, but remember: Appearances are deceiving.

6. The earcup falls off.

We’re slowly arriving at the more exclusive causes of death. The sight of an earcup falling off without any ado or warning is an acquired taste.

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I’m not kidding, here’s some evidence.

7. The silicone earbuds get stuck in your ears.

If in-ear, then all the way: All you want is to take the earphones out, but the bud gets stuck in your ear and has to be removed from your auditory canal with tweezers. For information on risks and side-effects, please consult your doctor, even on a Sunday. And it’s guaranteed to happen on a Sunday.

8. The automatic locating of your AirPods shows they’re in the sandbox. You child gives you an innocent look.

Bluetooth headphones have a superiority complex. They think they’ll live forever, just because they don’t have a cable, headband and plug. Let me tell you this: They’re wrong.

9. Your dog tries to eat your DJ headphones.

DJ headphones are supposed to be indestructible. Nothing but a myth. If you don’t have a dog yourself, your friendly neighbour is sure to have one. If this is the designated death of your headphones, it won’t even help that you can get replacement cables and ear cushions.

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Hi, my name’s Murphy, like the movie star or Murphy’s Law.

10. You don’t need your headphones and trash them.

This is by a mile the most uncommon and unnatural of all headphone deaths and has only ever happened to headphones from the seventies that aren’t heavy enough to use as dumbbells.

You need new headphones because your have given up the ghost? These might also break, but probably not as fast:

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David Lee
David Lee
Senior Editor, Zurich
My interest in IT and writing landed me in tech journalism early on (2000). I want to know how we can use technology without being used. Outside of the office, I’m a keen musician who makes up for lacking talent with excessive enthusiasm.

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