How Long Do the Average Headphones Last?

By Bonnie Crowe

Good quality headphones can provide years of listening pleasure.
i Chad Baker/Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

Headphones have become a fashion statement as well as a necessity, with many users willing to spend hundreds of dollars to listen to crisp, clear music in style. Over-the-ear versions, as well as ear buds, noise cancelling and wireless headphones, offer many different types of listening devices with a vast range of quality and price. With so many different choices, it’s helpful to know how long the average pair of headphones can be expected to last.

You Get What You Pay For

You can spend less money and buy headphones that will last a month or two, or invest in a higher quality set that will last 10 years, according to audio expert Steve Guttenberg in an article on the CNN website. Guttenberg recommends the latter, explaining that with just a small investment, you could have a much better quality sound for years instead of wasting your money on earphones that don’t sound great for the short period of time they will work. You can get a mid-range, quality pair of headphones for under a hundred dollars that will last a little over a year with good care, and high quality ones for a few hundred dollars that could last much longer. Most manufacturers of quality headphones offer a one-year replacement warranty if they stop working. Another advantage to buying high-quality headphones is that they can be repaired for less money than it would cost to replace them with a new, inferior-quality set.

Take Good Care of Them

It stands to reason that your headphones will last longer if you store them properly and take care of them. Keeping them clean and stored in a case when not in use is most important in the case of ear buds, which are fragile and susceptible to tears or getting clogged with ear wax. Ear buds can last a few months or several years, depending on their care. Like over-the-ear headphones, ear buds come in a range of qualities and prices, with the higher quality designs lasting much longer than their thrifty counterparts.