I know it varies by brand and cable. I have owned many pairs of cheap $10 ear buds and have had the cord (at the part just after the jack) break and have sound only come out in one of the 2 ear buds. This many times happens just a few months after purchasing them. I have found a little better pair that last about a year for me. About 9 months ago I bought a pair of Audio Technica ATH-M50s (thanks to you guy's excellent help I might add). The cord seems much thicker and the spring by the base of the jack seems to be a good help from the cord bending sharply. However, I am wondering how long the cord will last. I use these things every day for at least a few hours. I saw some removable cable mods that look interesting. I wouldn't attempt that until my cable goes out. I just would like to know when I should start looking into what to do before it goes out on me.