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Fix those old headphones – don’t throw them out.

Pat Tice, wa0tda@arrl.net

Close up of torn earpiece foam cover on headset

When I record the Handiham weekly e-letter and audio lectures, as well as operate remote base HF stations, I prefer my trusty – but old – Plantronics USB stereo headset with adjustable boom microphone.  I’d probably had these things close to eight years, and they still worked great but the foam ear cushions were worn right through, making them uncomfortable and downright ugly-looking.  These days one is tempted to just chuck the old and buy new, but doggone it, that seems wasteful to me – even though the price of new USB headsets has dropped over the years.

New foam ear cushions before installation.

The alternative was to fix them, which didn’t look like it would be hard to do as long as I could find replacement foam ear cushions.  That turned out to be pretty easy;  Amazon came through with exactly the right ones.

Slipping the new ear cushion on one earpiece.

All I had to do was pull the old ear cushions off, then put the new ones on, slipping the formed edge of each cushion over the outside circumference of the hard plastic headset speakers.  No tools were required – always a plus!

One new cushion on, with other side bare and waiting for new cushion.

The left side speaker cushion went on easily, and all that was need to complete the job was to get the second cushion onto the right speaker.  You may wonder if this procedure is blind-friendly.  I would say that it could easily be completed by a blind ham.  If you have difficulty with fine motor skills in your fingers, you might need some help.  The foam is first hooked over the edge of the plastic speaker, then stretched as you work the edge of the foam around the outside of the speaker. When you examine the earpieces, you’ll find that the process is completely intuitive.

The completed headset project poses with the IC-7200!

The project is complete!  The Plantronics headset is as good as new – and a lot more comfortable with new foam ear cushions.  My total cost?  Only $4.50 – well worth a bit of effort on my part to order them and do the simple repair.  Knowing when to fix something and when to replace it isn’t always as easy as this, but we really should at least get into the habit of considering repair rather than simply throwing things away.

73 – Pat, WA0TDA