Do Bluetooth Headphones Break if You Drop Them?

Bluetooth headphones on the ground

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There is no doubt Bluetooth headphones are one of the best inventions of the 21st century. The ability to enjoy music anytime anywhere without nearby interferences is a luxury even a few could have a decade ago. Bluetooth headphones have made the impossible possible, but can they survive a sudden drop like their wired counterparts? Let’s find out.

It depends on the build quality. Not all Bluetooth headphones are prone to breaking when dropped from a specific height. However, the cheaper headphones are prone to breakage and sound distortions upon a single drop, while branded models hold theirs even after a few careless drops.

There are a lot of factors to consider when determining the breakage of Bluetooth headphones when dropped from a certain height. How hard is the surface, is it jagged, has your Bluetooth headphone recently undergone a repair, is there water on the surface, and many more. So stay tuned because we will address all of those scenarios in this article. 

Can Bluetooth headphones break if dropped?

Generally speaking, Bluetooth headphones will not break if dropped, but that depends. They will not break if you drop from waist height, on a smooth surface, but will do so if they are dropped from atop a building. Even a jagged surface with sharp stones sticking out can cause damage. 

Nobody can say for certain if a headphone will break if it’s dropped. I have dropped my Anker Soundcore Life Q20 on multiple occasions and it is still working. It’s one of the cheaper headphones that offer great sound quality, and even after such abuse, it continues to deliver without holding any grudges.

My dear friend, however, was not so lucky. His Anker stopped working only after a single drop from almost a similar height. The technician told him that the internal circuit board got chipped due to the sudden jerk and there was nothing they could do. He had to get a new one. 

So as I was saying, you can never say for certain if a headphone will stop working after it’s dropped. If anything, I would call it luck. There is a 50-50 chance of it getting busted. The probability shifts to either side based on specific factors, but there is no certainty. 

Factors determining if a headphone breaks when dropped

Here is a list of all the factors that determine the probability of your Bluetooth headphones biting the dust when they are dropped:

1. Height– As discussed earlier, height plays a crucial role in whether or not a headphone breaks when it’s dropped. I did some testing with my old headphones (Anker Soundcore) by dropping them one by one, thrice from the waist (3 ½ ft), chest (4 – 4 ½ ft), and head (5 – 5 ½ ft) height. Anything higher than 5 ½ ft is impractical because that’s the average height in the world. 

Height ↓
Smooth (inside)Jagged (outside)
WaistNo breaking. No discernable scuff. No wobbling or internal breakage (parts flying around).No breaking. Visible scuff marks and small dents. No wobbling or internal breakage (parts flying around).
ChestNo breaking. No discernable scuff. Slight wobbling. No internal breakage (parts flying around).No breaking. Visible scuff marks and small dents. No internal breakage (parts flying around).
HeadOne of the hinges got cracked. Visible scuff marks. Rustling sound when shaken, indicating internal breakage.  Hinges broke off. Visible scuff marks and bigger dents. Rustling sound when shaken, indicating internal breakage.

So, there you have it. Unless you are intentionally trying to sabotage your headphones, they will ‘most probably’ not break when dropped from chest to waist height.

2. Build quality– Branded Bluetooth headphones no doubt use higher quality materials, and are therefore less prone to breaking. The same cannot be said for their cheaper cousins made out of cheap plastic that can easily break upon a single impact. I do not want to be flagged as someone who only promotes a branded product, but there is a reason. Expensive stuff usually lasts longer if you take care of them.

3. Lifestyle– Even the most expensive headphone will eventually break due to carelessness. If you go on dangerous excursions and outings, such as rock climbing, mountain biking, or any sports in general, you are more likely to break your headphones. I would suggest you get two pairs, a branded expensive one for home listening sessions and a cheaper one for outdoor activities. 

4. Force– This one is a no-brainer. Almost all headphones can easily survive a careless drop, but none can survive the smashing of an enraged sibling or parent. I know a friend who loves Skullcandy headphones, his favorite being the Skullcandy Hesh 2 Wireless for its superior bass and treble effects. 

However, his 5-year-old cousin mistook it for a boomerang, and out it went off the window, only to land on the pavement with an audible crunch. I am pretty sure the entire neighborhood got scared because he screamed like a maniac that fateful day. 

How durable are Bluetooth headphones?

Contrary to popular belief, Bluetooth headphones are quite durable. While there are no clear indications as to how durable they are, a Bluetooth headset or earbud can easily survive a few drops. 

1. In the above video, the creator demonstrates a drop for the AirPods. 

2. There are no signs of physical damage, only a few scuff marks.

3. The AirPods were then put into the washing machine.

4. Even after 30 minutes of washing, the AirPods survived.

Now, AirPods in general have a lot fewer moving parts and are built more steadily, so they are less likely to break. Bluetooth headphones on the other hand risk coming loose at the hinges. A nasty twist in the hinges can end their life. But they are indeed strong enough to survive a few drops from your desk. 


Are Bluetooth headphones waterproof?

Most headphones come with an IP rating that determines whether they are waterproof or water-resistant. The ones with the rating can survive between a splash to a full-on dive, based on the rating. 

If you work in wet areas and are afraid of dropping your Bluetooth headphones in water, then make sure to buy one with the appropriate rating. Headphones with an IP rating of IPX7 to IPX8 are waterproof and can even pull through full immersion. 

What to do if Bluetooth headphones sound terrible after a drop?

There are three ways you can damage your Bluetooth headphones — dropping them, dislodging inner components due to the sudden shock, some sort of electrical malfunction, and destruction of headphone transducers.

Follow these steps to diagnose and possibly fix the issue:

1. Disassemble the headphone and check for split and loose ends.

2. If the sound is bad on only one side, the speaker might be damaged because the speaker magnet has come loose, causing it to pinch the coil against the basket pole piece. 

3. You can reset the magnet position, however, that’s not possible in all models. It’s better if you get a new one.

4. In case the wire connection is severed, you can simply reconnect it with a bit of soldering.

5. Some headphones have a metal cover, which can come loose and rub off against the diaphragm causing distortion. Replacing it will do the trick.

If the problem is not listed here, take it to the nearest technician for a proper look. The alternative is getting a fresh pair.


Headphones do not break easily when dropped. A well-made model is usually good for 5-10 drops before acquiring serious damage. If you are using earbuds, get a silicon cover to encase the charging case to minimize the damage even if it falls. If you are using headphones, get a stand to safely dock the device, so that it does not fall accidentally. Be careful, happy listening, and see you in the next one.

Rune Bearson

As you can see, I love my headphones! I use them every day when commuting, watching YouTube videos, playing guitar/piano and doing chores. I'm a podcast addict and I like all kinds of music from metal to chillout ambient.

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