All of our headphones undergo a strict hydrolysis test to ensure the materials can withstand normal environments throughout their expected lifetimes. As materials such as ear pads and head pads are classed as perishable items, they will naturally break down over time as they are exposed to humidity, water/perspiration and friction. The normal lifetime for these items would be up to around 5 years.
If the humidity is higher, or the headphones are used very often, the materials are exposed to water/perspiration at a higher-than-average rate, and therefore may start to break down sooner; however we would still expect to see a healthy 2-3 years of life before beginning to show any signs.
Only extreme circumstances of humidity/environment, including travel to extraordinary places such as volcanic areas, or in the cases where it is possible for chemical reactions with any cosmetics or hair products, have we ever seen an accelerated degradation of these materials, which is outside of our manufacturing control.
Ear pads are easily replaceable, and can be purchased from within your local market. Headbands, due to their position and structural integrity of the headphone, require a more in-depth service where you would need to return to your local Authorised Audio-Technica Service Centre.
To help to prolong the life of these materials, we would recommend wiping them with a clean, dry cloth after use to prevent water/perspiration from drying on them. If they get wet, we recommend wiping them with a dry cloth and allowing to dry in the shade – excessive exposure to UV or heat can also shorten the life of perishable items.
For long-time storage, keep the headphones in a well-ventilated place without high temperatures and humidity.