How to replace headphone pads

A general guide to help you fix or customize your headphones.

Photo by Patrick Pereira

Many headphones and headsets have replaceable earpads. Whether you are looking to replace worn-out pads or switch to custom ones, you’ll need to know how to change them safely.

Headphone earpads aren’t all the same, and most have different methods for replacing them. This guide will show some common ways to replace the pads, but checking the manual or manufacturer’s website is the best way to figure out how the process works for your headphones.

Make sure to check that the replacement earpads are compatible with the headphones you’re using. If the earpads don’t list which headphones are compatible, check the measurements of the earpads and compare them with your headphones.  

With headphones like Audio-Technica’s ATH-M50X’s, the process is simple but requires some finesse.

Photo by Patrick Pereira
  • Gently tug at the edges of the earpads to slide them out of the divot that holds them in place. Use caution to avoid tearing the material.
    • If tugging gently doesn’t work, carefully use a flathead screwdriver, guitar pick, or something similar to widen the gap.
  • Use a small brush or medical cloth to wipe away any dust.
    • A clean paintbrush or toothbrush works.
Photo by Patrick Pereira
  • Take note of the divot the lip of the earpad was tucked into. Place the replacement earpad where the old one was, and insert the lip into the top of the divot.
  • Tuck the lip into the divot as you move around the ear cup. Use your other hand to secure the earpad in place as you pull and tuck the lip.
    • After some adjustment, the new earpads should fit snugly.

Replacing other types of earpads

Other headphones like the Sony XM3’s use brackets on the earpads that secure them into place. Replacing these is easier.

  • Pull the earpad outwards carefully but with some force to pop out the old earpads.
  • Brush away any dust after removing the old earpads.
  • Align the brackets on the back of the new earpads with the slots on the headphones.
  • Push in on each bracket until you hear the pop or click that signals that it’s secured in place.

If neither of these methods works with your headset, there are a few places you can find instructions on how to replace your earpads. You can check the user’s manual for your headphones, search the manufacturer’s website, or check instructions that may come with your replacement earpads. Some manufacturers also have support pages on their websites where you can search for information or contact help.