iPhone Headphones and Heavy Exercise Don't Mix

I've been wanting to talk about my experience with iPhone headphones and exercise for some time.

In my opinion iPhone headphones manufactured by Apple are consumables. I have never had a set last for more than 4 months. They get so much use from me that the rubber holding the earbuds together wears away.

I tried carrying the headphones in several different plastic containers, but each of the containers made constantly connecting and disconnecting the headphones too slow. This says nothing of the problems that occurred when I exposed them to large amounts of my perspiration.

The first set of headphones that I noticed experienced severe wear and tear was a set that I had been using during a period of heavy road biking in June and July. The action button on the in-line microphone on my headphones started to become unreliable. The button stopped working entirely shortly after that, and I suspected that sweat infiltration was the root cause.

In July I started working full-time in Manhattan. At that time I started working out at Newtown Athletic Club five days a week. My workout consisted of riding a stationary bike or running on an indoor track for 40 minutes, followed by sets of pushups and situps.

Because I was working out indoors, there seemed to be an increase in my perspiration level. The new headphones lasted less than a month.

Two major problems occurred:

  • the action button on the in-line microphone stopped working,
  • the rubber holding each of the earbuds together disintegrated at an accelerated rate.

I bought another new set of iPhone headphones from Apple, and a much less expensive set of headphones without an in-line microphone from a warehouse club. I used the inexpensive headphones during workouts at the gym. I used the iPhone headphones everywhere else.

The result is that the iPhone headphones have lasted a great deal longer. I think I've gotten about four months use out of this set of iPhone headphones. I'm only now beginning to consider replacing them, because the rubber gasket that holds each earbud together is wearing away.

In talking to a number of friends and acquaintances who have iPhones, the consensus is that no third-party headphones are much more durable than Apple's. For the most part, they are just more expensive.

I think most people get a bit more life out of their headphones than I do, but many iPhone users admitted to replacing their headphones more than once. It would be nice if the iPhone headphones were more durable, but after my experience, I wouldn't pay much more than Apple's list price for these headphones, regardless of their stated durability.