How Durable Are Over-Ear Headphones? (With Examples)

Can you rely on over-ear headphones for all your daily activities? While many headphones manufacturers show their over-ear headphones in advertisements in a variety of activities, one might wonder if they can withstand everything you may subject them to. 

Let’s take a look at what you can expect from over-ear headphone durability.

How durable are over-ear headphones?

How Long Do Over-ear Headphones Normally Last?

The durability of over-ear headphones depends on the build and brand. Some headphones use thinner plastics that easily become brittle. There are also high-quality over-ear headphones that can easily last over five years without any signs of aging. 

Do They Last as Long as Other Headphones?

Over-ear headphones have advantages over headsets (such as those made by Logitech) and gaming headphones, due to fewer moving parts, and also have more mass than on-ear or in-ear headphones, which gives them a slight edge in durability. 

What Typically Breaks First on Over-ear Headphones?

Perhaps the weakest part of over-ear headphones is the cable, although this is also an issue with other kinds of headphones. 

Other components that are prone to break in over-ear headphones are the headband, and other moving plastic parts, such as the hinges that fold or swivel the earcups. 

These plastic components get brittle when not stored properly. It gets worse if the material is of poor quality.

Note also, that if you wear your headphones over a hoodie, they may loosen too much over time.

How Long is the Warranty Normally on Over-ear Headphones?

The warranty of over-ear headphones depends on the manufacturer, as each manufacturer has its own warranty coverage policy.

  • Audio Technica, for instance, provides a two-year warranty for its headphones.
  • Sony, on the other hand, provides for a 90-day coverage for labor and a 365-day coverage for parts.

It would be best to check the manufacturer’s website to get a clear scope of the warranty coverage. 

  • In some cases, your headphones may come with the option for extended warranty coverage. This is usually purchased at the retailer, although not all stores have this option.
  • Some manufacturers, like Apple, also offer extended warranties. Through the Apple Care program, you can get an additional year of protection.

What exactly does the warranty cover? 

Warranty coverage usually covers parts replacements. 

In some cases, some brands provide warranty coverage that includes labor, or the service cost of the repairman who will handle your headphones. 

Again, the exact coverage of the warranty depends on the manufacturer. Some include a replacement for the whole unit, while others only include the cost of labor. 

Are Over-ear Headphones Worth Buying? 

Over-ear headphones are worth buying if you are looking for a pair of headphones that provide good sound isolation and noise cancellation. 

If you’re looking for something unobtrusive, over-ear headphones might not be for you, unless you can get one that’s lightweight and comfortable to the ears. 

Do Over-ear Headphones Need Maintenance from the Owner?

Over-ear headphones need maintenance, as they contain more moving parts than in-ear headphones. 

And in some cases, over-ear headphones may have more sensitive parts that are prone to wear down faster. A good example of this would be the vinyl leather earpads on over-ear headphones, which tend to wear faster compared to the silicon tips of earbuds. 

Plus, proper maintenance for your over-ear headphones also improves lifespan and helps maintain the resale value of your headphones.

Look into our article which reads about 4 Typical Problems With Over-Ear Headphones

How Do You Care for Your Headphones?

Over-ear headphones tend to cost more, so you definitely want to get the longest lifespan out of them. And if you’re looking to resell them in the future, it would help to know how to care for your headphones. 

Here are some tips to consider.

Regularly clean your headphones

Cleaning your headphones is the easiest way to maintain your over-ear headphones. 

You’ll probably have the needed materials at home, which should make things convenient. 

Over-ear headphones can be dirt magnets. They can collect dust and grime, and because they’re worn on your body, they get dirty and sweaty when you do!

Here’s how you clean your headphones:

  • Wipe your headphones after use, ideally with a soft cloth that’s dampened with alcohol or hand sanitizer.
  • For those using earbuds or in-ears, avoid letting others them, as both of you may transmit dirt to each other.
  • Brush off any dirt on the drivers
  • Clean the jack by spraying with compressed air, or use a thin paper clip with double-sided tape to collect any particles.

Protect your cables

Another easy maintenance tip is cable protection.

 For those using wired over-ear headphones, it is imperative to protect the cables of your headphones, since that’s where the signal passes to your ears. Ideally, you should go for headphones with detachable cables, as they are more convenient to store, and you can swap them out when they go bad. 

But, if your over-ear headphones don’t have a detachable cable, here’s how you can care for them: 

  • Avoid dangling the wires, as these also put pressure on the internal wires, especially when bent at an angle.
  • Make sure your cables are not tangled, as untangling them may also cause pressure to the wires inside.
  • Pull out the plug, and not the cable.
  • Don’t leave your headphones plugged in all day, as they can damage the spring inside the jack.
  • Coil your cables properly when storing them. 

Here’s how to coil your cables:

  • Get your cable and create an overhand loop.
  • Flip and make an underhand loop.
  • Repeat these steps in the same order until you reach the end of the cable.
  • Once you reach the end, secure with hook and loop cable fasteners.

And when you’re ready to use the headphones, remove the fastener and the cable unfurls without tangles.

tangled up cables for headphones

Make sure your over-ear headphones have storage 

 Your over-ear headphones need dedicated storage, especially if you bring them along with you a lot. 

  • While you can just put them in your bag, they may get crushed during transit and may cause parts like the swivels or headband to break.
  • Having a case for your headphones ensures that they are protected from pressure and impact during transit.
  • You also will want to get your headphones a case that fits snuggly. Don’t get something that would be loose or tight inside, which can damage your headphones during transit.

Keep your headphones away from moisture and humid environments

Over-ear headphones have more components than in-ear or ear bud-type headphones, and they are more prone to damage from moisture. 

The headband is already made of metal and can corrode when exposed to humidity or liquids, such as sweat. This moisture can damage the speakers of your headphones, and possibly compromise the sound quality.

You probably won’t see the corrosion, as it’s covered by the ear cups. 

  • To make sure your headphones aren’t being damaged by moisture, you can put silica gel desiccant packets in your headphone’s case so they can absorb moisture.
  • For those who sweat more often or go to humid environments, consider using headphones designed for sports, as they have better resistance to liquid or wet environments.

Match the impedance between your device and headphones

Impedance matching matters a lot for wired headphones. For those using wireless headphones, you don’t need to worry about this. 

  • If you have high impedance headphones and your device has a low impedance, you will not get an accurate volume level, and in some cases equalization.
  • In this case, you may need to get a headphone amp to compensate for the volume and EQ.
  • On the other hand, low impedance headphones may get damaged when using high impedance sources.
  • This is the advantage of Bluetooth headphones, as you don’t have to worry about the impedance of your phone or computer and your headphones.

Set the Volume and EQ levels properly 

When sound exits your headphone speakers into your ears, the speakers vibrate. 

And they tend to have a more emphasized vibration when the volume is louder, which can then damage your headphones. The sound may warp, and louder volumes can of course damage your hearing. 

It’s important to know when to adjust the volume of your device, as you don’t want to damage your headphones or your hearing. 

Here are some points to consider:

  • Mute the volume when plugging and unplugging your headphones to avoid any popping sound that can damage your headphones.
  • Avoid using the bass boost too often, as boosted bass frequencies can damage your headphones, especially those not designed for increased bass frequencies. 

Know when to charge your headphones

If you are using wireless headphones, be sure to know when to charge them.

sony headphones

  • Ideally, you shouldn’t wait for them to drain completely.
  • Don’t leave them charging inside your car while parked under direct sunlight.
  • Try charging them at the same time with your phone so they’re both ready to use at the same time.

What Are the Best Over-ear Headphones?

If you want the benefits of over-ear headphones, here are suggested headphones to check out.

Philips PH805

The Philips PH805 is a good over-ear headphone for those on a budget.

  • It comes with Bluetooth 5.0, which helps you get high-resolution audio from modern devices.
  • The sound quality is quite superb, which makes for a pleasing listening experience.
  • The build quality is quite good, and the battery life is one of the highest of its kind with up to 30 hours of playback time.
  • The PH805 also has active noise cancellation, although it could use some improvement.

For more information check out our article How Durable Are Philips Headphones?.

Sony WH-1000XM4

If you want wireless and noise cancellation, then it’s got to be the Sony WH-1000XM3.

  • The WH-1000XM3 features excellent sound quality backed by powerful features.
  • Loaded with DSEE Extreme upscaling, and built-in sensors for auto-play and pause, the WH-1000XM3 makes its claim as one of the must-have headphones on the market today.
  • There’s also multipoint sharing on these headphones. You can easily switch between audio sources, such as your computer and smartphone, without the hassles of Bluetooth pairing.
  • The headphones are built quite well and are comfortable for daily use. You won’t have a problem using it for travel but be warned that this headphone is not waterproof, which can be a problem for humid environments.

For more information, check out our article How Durable Are Sony Headphones?.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

If noise cancelation is a priority for you, then the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones are meant for you.

  • With a lightweight design, these Bose headphones boast a premium feel and pack a big punch when it comes to sound quality.
  • Thanks to the noise cancelation feature, you can easily enjoy your favorite songs or have a clear conversation during video calls.
  • The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 has a balanced soundstage that will help you hear the different tracks in a song for better appreciation.
  • If there’s anything that could be improved with these headphones, it’s the battery life, as it only has 15 hours.

Final Thoughts

Over-ear headphones are generally durable, as many brands have improved their design and materials used. But durability has its limits, especially when not properly taken care of.

That’s why you need to do your part and properly care for your over-ear headphones to get the most mileage.



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