Headphones are one of the most important mobile accessories, maybe second only to the charger. A good earphone needs to be kept and maintained carefully, or it won’t last as long as it should. However, many people are unaware of how to take care of earphones and usually end up buying multiple earphones within a year. So, if you are constantly ending up with an earphone that isn’t working properly anymore, maybe some of these tips might help you increase their life.
How to Take Care of Earphones?
First of all, we need to address the quality of the product. A pair of earphones that are from a reliable and robust brand will last a lot longer than the cheap ones you get at the railway stations or roadsides. So, if you are going through a cheap pair of earphones every two-three months, then there’s nothing to worry about, but if your premium earphones stop working after a couple of months, then you need to be more careful with them.
So, let us see some tips on how to take care of earphones
Getting a protective case for your earphones helps a lot in keeping your earphones safe when you don’t need them. So, invest in a good hard case for your earphones to keep them safe.
Clean the Earbuds
It is a good practice to remove the tips of the earbuds occasionally and clean them with a damp towel. Use a tissue paper to remove wax from the earbuds, also don’t forget to clean the wires if you have wired earphones.
Pull the Plug
A lot of times, people pull the wires of their earphones to unplug them instead of the plug. Doing this could damage the cables or the connector. This is the main reason why one of the earbuds stops working on some earphones.
Don’t Play the Music on Full Volume
One of the most important tips that you will find in any, how to take care of earphone guides is not to play music at full volume. Doing this is not only harmful to your eardrums, but also for the earphones. The drivers are not meant to work on full volume for a long duration. Doing this puts a lot of stress on the earbuds, and they might end up getting damaged prematurely.
Don’t Keep Earphones in Your Pocket
It is common for many people to carry their earphones in their pockets all the time. It is okay to keep them in your pocket when you are removing them momentarily, but putting the earphones in your pocket all the time is not a good practice. Doing this could cause hard tangles, and you might forget that they are in your pockets and end up damaging them accidentally. At times, the dirt and debris in your pocket might get into the earbuds and subsequently reduce the sound quality.
So, if you want to keep your earphones functional for a long time, then please follow these guidelines.
How Much Does an Earphone Case Cost?
An earphone case comes anywhere between INR 50 and INR 200.
Why Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean the Earbuds?
Rubbing alcohol dries out quickly, which means you don’t need to worry about it damaging the electronics within the earbuds.
Why Is Playing Music on Full Volume Not Recommended?
Playing music on full volume puts a lot of stress on the earphones and also on the ears. This might damage the earphone or the ears in the long run.
With the launch of Apple iPhone 7, Bluetooth earphones have become a lot common than ever before. We got rid of the tangled wires, but mostly one wire remains that bothers us, the charging cable. Bluetooth earphones work on batteries, and if you don’t know how to charge Bluetooth earphones, then you might end up reducing their life.
How to Charge Bluetooth Earphones When an Adapter Is Available?
Most of the Bluetooth earphones come with a standard micro USB port for charging. So, the charging process is quite simple, open the charging port, which is usually covered to prevent water damage. Plug-in the micro USB cable into your earphone and connect the other end to the charger, and you are good to go. Just make sure that the earphones are turned off and don’t put them on charging for too long.
How to Charge Bluetooth Earphones When Adaptor Is Not Available?
It is quite simple to charge a Bluetooth earphone when an adaptor is within reach. However, the real question is How to charge Bluetooth Earphones when you don’t have access to the adaptor. In this scenario, you have a few different options to charge the Bluetooth earphones.
Note: This approach would only work if your Bluetooth earphones use standard micro USB ports.
With a Laptop
Many laptops have a USB port which gives output without even turning on the laptop. In case your laptop has this feature, plug in your micro USB cable into your Bluetooth earphones and connect the other end to the always-on USB port of the laptop to charge the earphones.
At times laptops don’t have a USB port that gives an output when the laptop is off. In this scenario, simply turn on the laptop, put it on battery saver settings, and close the lid. You can charge your Bluetooth earphones this way without taxing your laptop battery too much.
With a Mobile or a Power Bank
Most people who carry a mobile phone also happen to have a power bank to charge the phone. If you have a power bank, then simply plug your Bluetooth earphone charger to the power bank and charge your earphone as usual.
An interesting question in this scenario is how to charge Bluetooth earphones with a mobile? It is possible, and all you need is a converter which can be bought quite cheaply. Now, consider your phone to be a power bank and connect the micro USB of your Bluetooth headset to the converter and plug it into the charging port of your phone. Now, you can charge your earphones on your mobile phone.
There are lots of ways to charge your Bluetooth earphones even if you don’t have the conventional power socket and adaptor. So, next time you run into such a situation, don’t panic and resort to one of these means to charge your phone. A laptop, a power bank, or phone can charge your earphones even if they have a 20% battery.
How to Detect If My Bluetooth Earphones Are Charged?
Most earphones come with a light that changes color depending on the charge on the battery. Usually, it is red when the battery is discharged, orange when the battery is charging and green when fully charged.
Is It Possible to Damage Bluetooth Earphones By Overcharging?
Modern electronics come with technology that prevents damage due to overcharging by stopping the process when the battery is fully charged. However, it is still not recommended to leave your devices continuously plugged in.
How Long to Charge A New Bluetooth Earphone?
You should at least charge the new device for 30 minutes before using it. However, it is recommended that you charge the earphones until the battery is full before putting it on.
Earphones are the accessories that we use too often, and just like any other gadget, it requires proper care and cleaning. Not cleaning your earphones regularly could lead to earwax and dirt buildup, which would end up reducing the sound quality. And if you are not careful enough, you might end up getting an ear infection from using dirty earphones. Keeping this in mind, it is not only important to clean your earphones but also to know how to clean earphones properly.
A Gentle Wipe
This step might seem like OCD, but there is nothing like being too careful. So, using a wipe to clean your earbuds gently before putting them on could be an effective way of preventing any ear infections.
How to Clean Earphones Properly
Now that we have talked about how to clean earphones before using them. Let us take a look at how to clean earphones properly.
To clean your earphones properly, you would need the following things:
- Dish soap
- Cotton swabs
- Rubbing alcohol or alcohol wipes
- An old toothbrush.
First of all, remove the silicone tips from your earphones. Now, soak them in lukewarm soap water for a while. Once you have allowed them to soak for a while, use a cotton swab to gently wipe any dust or debris that might be present on the tips. After wiping them, rinse the tips with plain water and let them dry overnight before using them.
In the next step, we will focus on the earbuds. Use an old toothbrush to clean any earwax or debris from the earbuds. Ensure that you are pointing them down so that any of the debris falls out instead of getting inside the earbuds. Now, use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or alcohol wipes to clean the earbuds gently.
Note: Use only rubbing alcohol to clean the earbuds. Soap water or any other cleaning agent might end up damaging them.
The next step in this cleaning process involves the wires. If you are using wireless earbuds, then you can ignore this step. So, in order to clean the wires, use alcohol dipped tissue paper or alcohol wipes. Gently clean the wires using the tissue and ensure that you are extra careful around the controls. Once done, use a soap water solution and tissue paper to wipe the dirt and dust that is present on the wires. At times, dirt builds up, and you need to wipe a bit harder to clean the wires, but don’t be too hard. Once you are done with the cleaning process using the soap water. Use alcohol dipped tissue paper or alcohol wipes to clean the wires once more. You could also use damp tissue paper or cloth to give a final wipe to the cables.
Once you are done with the process, let your earbuds and silicone tips dry for some time before using them again.
How to Clean Earphones Case?
It is also essential to clean the earphone case. To do so, use a cotton swab to gently brush its surface and interior to remove any dust and debris. In the next step, use an alcohol wipe to clean the surface of the case and let it dry for some time. In case you don’t have the alcohol wipes, use soap water-dipped tissue paper, or a soft cloth to clean the case. Once you clean it with soap water, use a cloth soaked in plain water to give a gentle brushing to the case to remove any soap water residue.
How often to Clean Earphones?
Cleaning your earphones regularly is important to keep them safe for use and increase their life-span. So, you might want to know how often to clean the earphones? Generally, you should clean your earphones once every two months. However, if you are using a white pair, then they will get dirty quite often. In this case, you could clean them properly once every month or so. At the same time, you could also you an alcohol wipe or water-soaked cloth to clean the wires of any dust and dirt buildup. Just ensure that you use nothing but alcohol wipe or tissue paper dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean the earbuds as water or any other cleaning agent might damage them.
If you follow these steps, not only will your earphone look awesome, but you will also significantly reduce the risk of an ear infection that might be caused as a result of using dirty earphones.
How to Clean Earphones?
To clean your earphones, take out their silicone tips and soak them in soap water followed by gentle scrubbing and then let them dry. Now, for the earbuds, clean them with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol and let them dry. Use soap water to clean the wires.
How Often Should I Clean My Earphones?
Once every couple of months should do fine. However, you might need to clean white earphones more often.
Why Should I Clean My Earphones?
Cleaning of your earphones prevents any ear infection that might be a result of earwax and other things that might be trapped in them. It also removes any debris that might damage the earphones and affect sound quality.
Active noise cancellation is a technology that prevents external noise from hampering your music listening experience. However, the technology requires complex components which make it somewhat costly to implement. Recently, we have seen a surge in the headphones using this technology, and there has also been a reduction in the price of headphones using noise cancellation. So, what exactly are noise cancellation headphones? To put it in simple terms, noise cancellation headphones improve your experience while listening to music by blocking any external noise. But it is quite difficult to make headphones that manage to mute all the external noise. In the end, these headphones manage to significantly reduce the external sound and enhance your overall experience.
Active Noise Cancellation Vs. Passive Noise Cancellation
Active noise cancellation, as the name says, uses an active component to reduce the interference caused by external noise. On the other hand, passive noise cancellation relies on layers of padding to reduce the external noise from entering the users’ ears. Overall, passive noise cancellation is a lot easier and cost-effective to implement than the active noise cancellation. However, an active noise cancellation system requires a passive system to work most effectively. Even though both the systems work to reduce the disturbance caused by external noise, but they achieve this goal quite differently. An active noise cancellation system listens to the outside noise, picks out the most dominant frequency, and produces a sound with the reverse frequency to cancel the original noise. On the other hand, the passive noise cancellation systems work by blocking out the sound using layers of padding. The result is the same; we get significantly less disturbance than not using any noise cancellation technique at all.
What Is Active Noise Cancellation?
Active noise cancellation is a technology that aims to reduce ambient noise. The important thing in this method is that unlike normal noise cancellation, the technique doesn’t work by simply blocking any external sound. These headphones are equipped with small microphones that detect the outside sound and, in turn, produce a sound pattern that cancels out the outside noise and thus reduces the external noise to a great extent. By the looks of it, active noise cancellation seems to be something new and recent. However, this technology existed since the 1950s, as evident from the patents filed by Lawrence Fogel, who is the one who invented this technology.
Initially, active noise cancellation was used in headsets used by helicopter and airplane pilots who found it difficult to communicate due to the engine sound. Recently, this technology has been introduced in vehicles too, Ford Endeavour in India is equipped with active noise cancellation system to make the cabin quieter. Even though active noise cancellation began to make communication easier for aviators, but it is the people who listen to music are ones who are using it the most.
How Active Noise Cancellation Works?
A headphone using active noise cancellation has microphones embedded on the outside. These microphones listen to the ambient noise around the wearer and isolate the steadiest frequency from it. This specific frequency could be anything ranging from the humming of an air conditioner to the noise generated by a turbine engine. The headphone then creates a noise which has the negative frequency, i.e., a sound having the same amplitude but inverted in phase. This sound combines with the actual noise, and a phenomenon known as destructive interference occurs and cancels out the external sound.
So, the noise created by the AC or the engine is completely blocked out. If the active noise cancellation is combined with good physical noise cancellation, then you won’t hear any external noise. However, this method only works with a steady external noise. So, the headphones would work amazingly against a roaring engine, but if a person is hitting something with a hammer at the irregular interval, then that sound would still get through if the physical noise cancellation is absent. So, if you are in a traffic jam or a place where people are talking loudly, active noise cancellation will fail.
This the main reason why noise cancellation is not the same as soundproofing, which blocks almost any kind of noise from entering the desired area. A system that is utilizing active noise cancellation technology requires batteries to power the components. So, the devices need to be big enough to accommodate not only the noise cancellation components but also the battery packs. Thus, a headphone using active noise cancellation is quite bulky as compared to the normal headphones. There are certain earphones that provide active noise cancellation, but they are not as effective as the full-sized headsets due to their small size. As mentioned earlier, active noise cancellation also requires an efficient passive noise cancellation to work effectively.
Active Noise Cancellation: Pros and Cons
Proper noise isolation requires the use of over-the-ear headphones to work most efficiently, but some on-ear headphones and even earphones come with this feature. However, the in-ear monitors provide decent noise isolation by making a tight seal inside the ear canal. The most significant advantage of using noise cancellation headphones is that user music listening experience is significantly better due to the reduction in external noise. People also say that they can hear sound a lot better while watching videos or when listening to music.
The best use of active noise cancellation is in the places where there is a constant external source of noise, such as an airplane engine or a jackhammer. You can also find noise cancellation headphones useful in your daily commute or in your office or even a library. However, there are some downsides of active noise cancellation as well. The first of these disadvantages is the significantly higher cost. The systems utilizing active noise cancellation need to fit additional components such as microphones and batteries, which cost additional money. Overall, a headphone with active noise cancellation is significantly more expensive than a similar headphone without this feature. Some people also complain that the sound quality of active noise cancellation headphones is slightly reduced as they need to produce two different sounds at the same time. Additionally, these active noise cancellation headphones are bulkier than the ones that don’t utilize this feature and, thereby, less portable.
Should You Buy A Noise Cancellation Headphone?
The main reason why people search for the meaning of the term “Noise Cancellation” is that they are confused about whether they should buy normal headphones or noise cancellation ones. Basically, the choice of headphones depends on their use. So, if you are going to use your headphones in a noisy environment, then getting noise cancellation headphones makes sense. In case you are mostly going to use headphones indoors or in noise-free areas such as a park, then going with normal headphones is a much better and cost-effective option. Some people who find it difficult to sleep could also benefit from the use of noise cancellation headphones.
Noise Cancellation FAQs
What Is Noise Cancellation?
Noise cancellation is a feature in audio devices that reduce the external noise from interfering with your music listening experience.
Difference Between Active and Passive Noise Cancellation
Passive noise cancellation uses multi-layered padding to physically block the external noise, whereas active noise cancellation relies on the use of microphones to capture the frequency of dominant external sound and create a sound at the opposite frequency to cancel it out.
Which Noise Cancellation Technique Is Better?
Even though you need both Active and passive noise cancellation to reduce the outside interference, but if the external source is producing noise consistently, then active noise cancellation would be more effective.
Should I Buy A Pair of Noise Cancellation Headphones or Not?
The answer depends on the use case. So, a person who uses headphones indoors or in a quiet place, then they don’t require noise cancellation headphones. On the other hand, if you commute daily or spend lots of time outside while using headphones, then go with the noise cancellation variants.
What Kind of Headsets Are Available with Noise Cancellation Technologies?
Generally, over the ear headphones are most effective in providing noise cancellation, but there are some on the ear headphones and even earphones that provide excellent noise cancellation.
While searching for a pair of earphones, we come across different options, both in physical stores and online stores. It is quite difficult to know the differences between the different styles and what features these headsets offer. Thus, a lot of people face a situation where they are unable to decide which product they should choose even if all the products do the same thing, that is play music. This article would help you in making a better decision by telling what the different variants are and what are the things that you need to consider while selecting a pair of earphones.
The In-ear headphones, which are often referred to as earbuds and canal earphones as well as in-aural earphones. On the basis of their designs, we could further classify them into two variants, earbuds, and canal earphones. Each of these options has a different way of fitting in your ears. An in-ear headphone comes with various kinds of cushions to help the user fit them perfectly in their ears. These cushions are made of different materials, but the majority of them are made either of silicone, rubber, or memory foam. Some of these in-ear headphones are designed to fit snugly into the concha, and a protruding structure goes further into your ear canal.
Some in-ear headphones have wireless options, and they are somewhat bigger in size to make space for the Bluetooth components. These earphones might have control mechanisms on their earpiece or on the cords that connect the two earpieces. Overall, these devices are slightly bigger than their wired cousins and need to be recharged after prolonged usage. Most of the time, these wireless earbuds don’t offer any cushioning, but nowadays, the cushion variant has become more popular. These devices are often designed to be placed near the concha ridge instead of fitting inside the ear canal. Most wireless options come with a single size that might not fit in some people’s ears.
Common Misconception About Earphones
Most of the time, people refer to in-ear headphones as earbuds as they are the most commonly available variant in the market. However, in reality, in-ear headphones and earbuds are not the same things. Mostly, earbuds are placed slightly outside the ear canal. If you put one of your fingers in your ears, you would know how wearing the earbuds feels like. Generally, earphones and earbuds are interchangeable. Nowadays, finding earbuds is quite difficult on the market. Only Apple, Sennheiser, and Amazon provide earbuds, as the companies have shifted towards canal phones which have earbud-like housing.
How to Select the Perfect Pair of Earphones?
While looking for a pair of earphones that not only fit your ears but also provide a good experience while listening to music, you need to consider the following things.
It tells us about the frequency range of sound that a headphone could produce. A healthy young person is capable of hearing sounds ranging between 20 and 20000 Hz. Most headphones keep their frequency response within this range. However, some might even go as low as 15 Hz and as high as 25000 Hz. Theoretically speaking, these ranges won’t make these headphones better than the other ones because we don’t hear sounds that are not within the 20 to 20000 Hz range. However, some people claim that headphones with the ability to produce music with a higher frequency range sound a tad bit better.
Most headphones offer two kinds of noise cancellation features, namely, active-noise cancellation and noise isolation. Now, both the options perform the same task, keeping outside noise away from your ears so you can hear the music clearly. But they employ a different approach to achieve this goal. Noise isolation headphones just block the outside noise from entering your ear physically. They either cover the ears (over-the-ear headphones) or make a seal within the ear canal (in-ear headphones).
Active Noise Cancellation headphones physically block the external noise, but they go a step further to ensure a better performance. These headphones have tiny microphones located on the outside whose job is to pick external noise. The headphones understand the frequency of the external noise and make a noise at the opposite frequency to that of the external noise alongside the music. This process cancels out the external noise, and the music is all that the wearer hears
If you are going to use your wireless earphones with your phone, then it would be an excellent choice to go with a product that comes with a built-in microphone. The good news is that most wireless headphones not only come with a microphone but also with an ability to access Google Assistant or Siri.
In the end, it all boils down to the money you are willing to spend on the headphones. In-ear headphones could come for prices that are as low as 1000 Rupees and could also go up to one lakh rupees. It is true that the more you are willing to pay, the better the experience would be, but it doesn’t mean that you get the most expensive pair.
Types of Earphones FAQs
What Are the Different Types of Earphones?
Earphones can be classified as wired or wireless, and these could be further broken down into earbuds that sit on the entrance of the ear canal and in-ear monitors that go into the ear canal.
Do Earphones Offer Noise Cancellation?
Yes, earphones, especially canal phones, offer great passive noise cancellation by plugging in the ear canal. Some variants also offer active noise cancellation, but their performance is not as good as the over the ear headphones.
How long do wireless earphones work, and how long does it take to charge them?
Most wireless earphones last anywhere from four to eight hours, depending on their design—wireless earphone charges in about two to four hours.
What Are the Things That I Should Consider While Choosing A Pair Of Earphones?
When buying earphones, look at the use case, the budget, the microphone, and the battery life (if wireless). Other things that might be considered are noise cancellation and sweat and water resistance.