Wash and Wear?

Tumble Dry Medium

There should be a label on Apple’s iPhone headset (the earphones with integrated remote and microphone) that states how unbelievably durable they are. I was rather displeased to find that after about 6 months, the left ear bud was starting to lose volume output. At first, I thought I was losing hearing in that ear, but a quick comparison use of my fiancée’s ear buds with my iPhone proved that the left side of her set had no volume loss.

I called Apple support to find out if Apple Care covered them. It did. Apple sent me a new set and I returned the defective. I’ve been using the replacement set for about 6 months now, and it sounds as though the same problem is occurring. I was trying to determine if the ear buds were the problem, or if there was something in particular that I do — winding them up the same way, catching them on objects and having them ripped from my ears, listening to music, listening to podcasts — that might cause the problem.

Over the course of a few days, in the midst of my pondering what to do with it, I managed to lose my iPhone headset. People who know me know that I do not lose things, particularly items that I use daily. So it was a great surprise to me that I could not even retrace my steps, but I had this feeling about having set the ear buds on top of the dryer before heading out to mow the lawn one day.

No, I used them after that.

I went for a week without them. I finally bit the bullet and ordered a new set from Apple yesterday. I received my shipping confirmation e-mail from Apple in the early afternoon, so it is with all apparent obviousness that I tell you I found my old set yesterday evening… in the bottom of the dryer… quite wound together but looking rather clean.

I had left the ear buds in a pair of pants that I had laundered just the night before and tossed into the dryer before heading to bed. The headset managed to slip out of the pants in the drying process. After uncoiling the tightly wound wire clot, I figured I might as well see if it survived the washing and drying process.

Imagine my delight when I tested it with my iPhone and all bits and bobs (ear buds, microphone, remote clicker) worked just as before. Yes, the left ear bud still seems a bit lower volume, but that’s alright, I’ve a new set on the way. The only real problem I see is that the washing process made the wires curly, gave them a perm of sorts, and no manner of straightening is removing those curls. Perhaps some time hanging will straighten them out, but I somehow doubt it.

While I am displeased with this odd loss of volume in the left ear bud of every headset I get from Apple, I am happy to say that the outer durability of the headsets is nothing less than phenomenal. I think I’ll call this set “Curly Q”. Here’s a photo of the survivor.

Curly Ear Buds

Be well.