Those soft paddings you have that covers your ear - Yes, those are your Headphone Ear Pads and they are two of the most important pieces on your headphone. Not only do they play a crucial part in the comfort of your ears, they too have a role in sound quality coming from the speakers.
As important as they are, not many people really notices about them and they do not see the importance of taking care of them or ensuring they are in good condition. Well, the good news is that it is not that difficult, even for a beginner, to take proper care of your headphone ear pads, which in turn may provide you benefits as well.
Why are Ear Pads important?
There are a couple of reasons why Ear Pads are important. First of all, it provides your ears a soft cushion and proper gripping power. This means that Ear Pads with high quality will fit comfortably around your ears and at the same time, provide enough padding to rest comfortably against your ears.
As time goes by, and the longer you wear your headphones, you will come to realize the difference between good padding and bad padding.
Low quality ear pads may seem negligible at first but after a while, you may feel some discomfort whereas Ear Pads with high qualities are well designed and made with high-end materials to provide a seamless and secure fit at maximum comfort, even for long term use. However, Ear Pads are not only crucial in your own comfort, but can also influence the quality of sound being produced:
- Shape & design - The shape and design of your ear pads will determine how much sound from outside leaks in. High Quality Ear Pads are able to provide maximum noise isolation so that you only hear the music that you want to hear.
- Material - The actual material used for the Ear Pads can also affect how much influence external noises have on your headphones and how effectively it may block out.
There are 2 types of materials that govern the Ear Pads: Foam & Leather. And with these 2 types, there are different ways to take care of them so that they do not affect your quality of comfortability and sound.
Foam Ear Pads
- Foam is a very porous material which can easily absorb a lot of sweat and dirt through normal use. One recommendation is to do a quick wipe down immediately after use for once a week, using a dab of soap and a damp washcloth. Then, allow them to air dry completely before keeping. DO NOT squeeze them dry as it will speed up the breakdown of the structure of the foam. Cleaning will ensure the bacteria is kept at bay, preventing any foul odor from developing due to sweat buildup.
- Proper storage is necessary as the Ear Pads will gather dust or become damaged due to the exposure to light and air if kept outside. It is recommended to keep them in a closed case when not in use. If you are always bringing them out for work or other outdoor activities, you definitely would want to keep them in a case to prevent any external damage or accumulating extra sweat and dirt while hanging from your neck.
- Replace the Ear Pads periodically but it depends on the frequency of usage and how well you take care of them.
Leather Ear Pads
- Clean regularly - Similar to Foam Ear Pads, a quick wipe down immediately after use is highly recommended. About once a week, wipe them down with a damp (not soaking wet) washcloth similar to the Foam Ear Pads. It is not recommended to use soaps or detergents as this may damage the leather.
- Proper storage is even more crucial for leather ear pads due to the fact that when left exposed to mother nature, the leather will expand and contract depending on the heat and humidity levels in the environment. Hot and dry conditions will result in cracks in the leather which will then cause problems like rot. A good case is recommended to ensure that these leather Ear Pads are safe from these detrimental effects of the environment
- Conditioning - To prevent cracking, a special leather solution is recommended. The leather will not only remain soft and spongy, but it also acts as a seal to protect it against humidity and other detrimental conditions. However, DO NOT over-condition the ear pads as it can lead to premature rotting. Hence, it is recommended to condition your leather ear pads just twice per year.
- Replace periodically - Through proper care, your leather ear pads should last longer compared to foam ear pads without a leather finish. However, they will still wear down eventually. Depending on how often you use them, you may need to replace them every 18 months to 2 years.
With this basic guidance on the different types of foam pads, we hope that your awareness regarding the importance of headphone ear pads in terms of comfortability and quality will grow and continue to grow. We also hope that you will be able to take away a valuable lesson on how to take good care of your ear pads and the possible conditions that may occur if it is not being taken care of. Finally, with this knowledge in mind, we hope you will be able to enjoy better comfort and sound!