How to replace ear pads on different types of headphones

Are your ear pads worn out, have lost their former softness and are leaving all the debris on your ears? It’s time to think about a replacement. But not headphones, but ear pads. And today we will tell you how to select and change this small but very important element.

Headphones and their ear pads
To begin with, it will be useful to remember what types of headphones exist, and what ear pads are most often used in them.

Plug-in (earbuds)
Not the best option for a music lover, but acceptable for listeners of audiobooks and those who like to talk through a headset. The headphones are small in size, light in weight. Most often, simple foam ear pads are used for them.

Or “plugs”. They are inserted deep into the auricle. One of the most popular and widespread modifications. Depending on the type and characteristics, they can provide good sound quality. The ear cushions are most often silicone, but foam ear cushions are also found.

The speakers of these headphones fit tightly over the ears, but do not completely cover them. Ear cushions here can be of different shapes (round, square) and made of a variety of materials. Most often made of artificial leather.

They look like overhead, but unlike the former, they completely cover the entire ear. Such devices are usually used for video games, work with sound. Ear pads are made of natural or artificial leather, velor.

How to change ear pads
In principle, the replacement process is simple, but each case has its own nuances. Let’s take a look at them using each type of headphone as an example.

Everything is simple here. Take the ear pads and carefully slide them over the headphones.

And everything is simple here. Take and attach the ear cushion to the speaker at an angle and plunge it completely into the ear cushion.

But there are also nuances. For example, what shape of earbuds to choose. All this is individual and depends on the specific user. If you want the earbuds to completely “seal” your ear and block out excess noise, you can opt for the elongated silicone earbuds. For others, semicircular (oval) shapes will be preferable.

It is difficult to make a mistake with the size. As a rule, even in the kit with headphones, ear pads come with several sizes – from S to L. Which one to choose depends on the structure of your ear and is decided by fitting. It is clear that the ear cushion with the size S will fall out of the ear faster than the M or L. However, the L can cause discomfort, up to pain in the ear.

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Overhead and full-size
Let’s combine them into one group, since the replacement process for these types of headphones is similar. How do you choose the option you want? The easiest way is to find and buy “native” ear pads for your headphone model. But this option is not always suitable. Then a universal ear cushion will come to the rescue. To select it, you need to know the diameter of your speaker. It can be measured with a simple ruler. If the product is completely round, measure directly in the center and preferably along the back of the lining. It is possible from the front, but here we should expect an uncritical error. For example, in our case, the diameter is 70 mm + – 3 mm. If the ear cushion is somewhat elongated, then you need to measure the diameter both in width and in length.


The replacement process is also straightforward. We pull out the old ear cushion from the mount without much effort. Insert the edge of the new one and stretch it forward, pushing it with your finger if necessary. You can simply insert one edge into the gap and pull gently across the entire body. A simple plastic card can also help.

After replacement, the following changes are noticeable: a tighter fit and better sound insulation. The bass is also better heard. In the other, no significant changes were noticed.


The best material for ear cushions
Let’s try to figure out which material for ear cushions is the most durable, and which one will quickly become unusable.

One of the best, most attractive and long lasting options. Long lasting, soft and easy to clean. Provides excellent noise reduction. However, it is not found on all models.


Artificial leather
Present on the overwhelming majority of headphone models. Now it is practically not inferior in quality to natural, although much depends on the quality of the leather. For example, cheap samples will not be as soft and durable. With proper handling, they can last quite a long time, but after two or three years they will have to be changed. The hero of the previous section, Sony headphones, were purchased in the fall of 2018 and were used literally every day, at least for one-spirit hours. Periodically cleaned from dust and dirt with water and alcohol solution. The upholstery of the ear cushions began to crumble in the spring of 2021.


Another, less popular, but still widespread material. Soft and pleasant to the ears, although somewhat difficult to maintain and clean.

One of the most common materials most commonly found in in-ear headphones. Quite sturdy and comfortable. Nevertheless, sooner or later, the rubber begins to burst and crack.

Made from foam. Depending on the materials, they are dense or porous. Provides good sound insulation, but is less durable than silicone and more difficult to clean.


How to use headphones correctly to keep your ear pads longer
There is no single rule here, except that it is advisable to use the headphones carefully and carefully. And, of course, do not forget that ear pads require care. Here’s a little more about this.

Due to their location in the ear, sebum, earwax and dust constantly accumulate on the ear cushions of in-ear headphones and earplugs. They should be cleaned regularly by wiping with a tissue, cotton swabs dipped in alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. But the foam version of the ear cushions is a rather capricious thing. They are poorly cleaned and the easiest way to completely replace them.
Products made of genuine leather have pores, so they “perfectly” collect sweat, sebum, and dust. The skin should be wiped with a soft cloth, napkin, but do it gently, without undue pressure. A slightly damp cloth will work, but the water should be clean, ideally boiled and warm. Do not expose the ear pads to direct sunlight.

Unlike natural leather, artificial leather has no pores, so dirt will not accumulate inside the ear cushions. It can be wiped gently with a cloth slightly dampened with water, hydrogen peroxide, or a mild alcohol solution. Water and other liquids must not get inside the headphone housing!
Velor ear pads actively absorb the same substances as leather ones, but hair and wool stick to them even more vigorously. In the latter case, sticky tape can help. It is undesirable to wash the ear pads.

As you can see, there are nuances everywhere. To clean your ear pads properly, study this article.

How improper shape and material of ear cushions can affect sound
To understand if the covers affect the sound quality, you just need to remove them and listen to music only through the speaker. This is not only uncomfortable for the ear, but also the sound will be extremely peculiar. Ear cushions affect the absorption and reflection of sound waves, provide noise isolation and noise reduction.

But the presence of ear cushions is not yet a factor in beautiful sound. Bad sound is typical for “non-native” or poorly made ear pads. Errors during installation and, for example, not too tight fit of the pads to the ears, can affect the sound quality. The tighter the bass, the better the bass will be heard. Also, the filling of the ear cushions and the quality of the fabric covering the speaker will play their roles. In modern headphones, it is most often special, acoustic, perfectly transmitting sound.

Approximate scheme of sound transmission through acoustic fabric and ear cushions

With in-ear headphones, it’s a little easier. Here, the design of the ear cushions is rather unassuming: a sound guide and a sealing skirt. The user only needs to select the correct size and shape so that the tips fit snugly into the ear. Also, the sound guide must be suitable for the size of the speaker and not block it. To understand how the sound quality can deteriorate if you use ear pads of the wrong shape or size, it is enough to set, for example, S instead of the usual L size.

Replacing ear pads is not so troublesome. It is more difficult to choose the right option when it comes to “non-native” ear pads in full-size headphones. Also, remember to clean your ear pads regularly (especially if you have in-ear headphones) and, of course, use the equalizer settings for the best sound.