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Why Do Earbuds Break So Easily? 3 Common Reasons

Many people feel like they have to replace their earbuds too frequently. No matter the brand you buy, the amount of cash you spend, or the preventive actions you take to mitigate the recurring costs, you still always end up replacing your earbuds more often than you’d like. So, what are the most common reasons why your earbuds break so easily?

Earbuds break so easily because of careless or rough use, poor storage habits, or because the manufacturer uses low-quality materials to make them or fails to reinforce their weak structure. Rough use and poor storage habits will stretch your earbud’s cable and cause the wires to break. 

In the rest of this article, I’ll give you a detailed explanation of the common reasons earbuds break easily and give you some precautions you can take to ensure they last longer. 

Broken earbuds

Reasons Why Earbuds Break Easily

Let’s go over the reasons I mentioned above in more detail to help you understand why you’re already on your third pair of earbuds this month:

1. Careless or Rough Use

Careless use is the most common cause earbuds break because they’re very fragile and need to be handled with a lot of care. But many non-audiophiles don’t seem to consider this while using them. Below are some usual poor use practices that make earbuds break:

Wrapping the Earbuds Around Your Phone or Hands

When you wrap your wired earbuds around your phone, music player, or even your hands tightly, you stretch them too much, putting a lot of stress and strain on the cable. The tension can make the tiny wires inside the cable break, and your earbuds will stop functioning altogether. 

The same goes for folding them into a tight bundle. While it’s good practice to wind your wired earbuds, doing it too tightly will strain the cable, breaking the wires in the process.

Dropping Earbuds Frequently

Most generic earbuds aren’t made to withstand too many falls with significant impact. The impact force makes their plastic parts break, making them stop working or affecting their audio quality. 

On the other hand, while most reputable manufacturers design their earbuds so that they’d be able to endure occasional drops, frequently dropping them will eventually break the housing or case. This is an enormous problem with modern wireless earbuds that seem to fall onto concrete all the time.

Sleeping With Earbuds

Not only is this practice detrimental to your health, but it’s also bad for your earbuds, especially if they’re wired. Sleeping with your earbuds can break them because you make a lot of unconscious movements that could affect them when you sleep — you could be pulling your earbud’s wires as you toss and turn. Your wired earbuds could also easily get caught on anything on your bed, and you’d tug at them without knowing. 

Plugging and Unplugging The Earbuds From the Audio Jack Forcefully

Most manufacturers don’t reinforce their earbuds to sustain significant push and pull forces. The point connecting the cable to the audio jack connector is the most fragile.

When you push them hard into your smartphone’s audio jack or USB port, you might break them. Tugging at them while pulling them out is also a bad practice because when you do so. You stretch the cable too much, and you could break the non-elastic wires inside it.  

Tugging at Earbuds To Take Them Off

This point ties up with the one above because the connection between the earpiece and your earbuds’ cable is also a weak point that many manufacturers don’t reinforce. Pulling hard at a spot that’s already weak will cause it to tear easily. 

Chewing or Nibbling on the Wires

Some people have formed the habit of absent-mindedly chewing their wired earbuds. When you chew on them, you could tear the protective cable jacket and shielding or cut the wires inside with your teeth.  

2. Poor Storage Habits

The second most common cause of earbuds breaking is poor storage habits. How many of us religiously use storage cases for our earbuds, or at least fold them carefully and use something to tie them? 

Most people store their earbuds mindlessly. I’ve highlighted some poor storage habits below:

Throwing Earbuds Into a Pocket Without Storing Them Properly

It’s risky to place your earbuds inside your pockets without a protective casing because you could easily forget and sit on them, which could snap the wire inside. You may also have other things such as keys inside your pockets that the earbuds could get wrapped around and get stretched, causing them to tear.

Your earbuds could also get hit by items in your bag like keys, causing the plastic parts to crack or break.

Throwing Earbuds Into a Bag Without a Case

Throwing your earbuds into a bag without a protective case is bad practice because they could get wrapped up and stretched around other items. As said before, stretching the cables could break the delicate wires inside.

3. Manufacturer Uses Low-Quality Materials

Sometimes manufacturers use cheap and poor-quality materials to manufacture earbuds to increase their profit. They sometimes use fragile plastic for the external shell.

They may also use low-quality cables that provide very little protection for the wires. Such cords break easily when stretched, even just a little bit.

Using low-quality materials to manufacture earphones makes them less likely to endure falls and stretching. 

Related article: Are Headphones Better Than Earbuds?

How To Prevent Earbuds From Breaking

Now that you know what makes your earbuds break easily, let’s find out ways to prevent them from breaking. Some actions that you could take have been highlighted below:

Invest in a High-Quality Case for Your Earbuds

Poor storage is one of the most common causes of earbuds breaking; therefore, getting a holder for them will help to immensely reduce the risk. Not only that, but this practice will also keep your earbuds clean and newer looking for a longer time.

Placing your earbuds in a case before putting them in your bag or pockets prevents them from winding around other items such as keys or phones. Getting a holder should also stop you from tying wired earbuds around your phone, hands, or player.

Additionally, when you store your earbuds in their case, ensure that you tie them loosely and avoid using a lot of force.

If you can’t buy a case now, you could protect your earbuds by simply winding them gently and tying them using a cable tie or a rubber band. 

Avoid Sleeping With Your Earbuds

As explained earlier, sleeping with your earbuds exposes them to many unconscious movements that you might make while you’re asleep. Therefore, ensuring that you take them off before sleep to extend their lifespan.

Related article: Should You Sleep With Headphones While Charging?

Buy High-Quality Earbuds From a Trusted Manufacturer

Although they could cost you more, you’ll get to use them for a longer time and save money that you would’ve spent to replace them. However, not all expensive earbuds are of high quality.

You should inspect the earbuds to ensure they’re good quality or check the reviews if you’re buying them online. 

Plug and Unplug Your Earbuds With a Lot of Care

Ensure you plug and unplug your earbuds with a lot of care to prevent them from stretching. You could do this by pulling on the plug instead of the connector. 

It would help if you also took care while removing them from your ears and avoided tugging at the cable too hard. You could be more gentle by pulling gently at the earpiece instead.


In conclusion, your earbuds could easily break because you’re rough or careless while using them, you store them poorly, or the manufacturer uses low-quality materials to make them.

While most earbuds are fragile, you could take extra care to ensure that they have a longer lifespan. You could do this by: 

  • Buying a case for them.
  • Plugging and unplugging them properly.
  • Buying high-quality earbuds.
  • Not sleeping with them.