There aren’t many more important things in a pilot’s flight bag than their aviation headset, with its ability to protect hearing and making sure communication is crystal clear.

Whether you have the best aviation headset on the market, the Bose A20, or another model, it’s important that you know how to correctly care for the headset, so you can get many years of use out of it.

4 Best Ways to Care For Your Aviation Headset

1. Store Your Headset Correctly

After a flight, it can be tempting to take off your aviation headset and leave it on the seat beside you in the cockpit, or throw it at the bottom of your flight bag.

We’ve all been guilty of this.

But leaving your headset in the cockpit or throwing it in your flight bag is a terrible idea due to the physical damage it can cause, including costly damage to the electronic elements inside the headset.

Instead, you should pack the headset away in its case, or at the very least store it in the padded headset pocket in your flight bag.

This will ensure that the headset won’t be exposed to moisture or extreme temperatures, and won’t be susceptible to damage.

2. Watch Those Cables and Plugs

Damaged cables and plugs are one of the most common issues with aviation headsets.

Often, though, it just takes a bit of foresight and care to avoid problems, such as:

  • When pulling the plugs out of the panel, pull from the part closest to the plug
  • Avoid twisting or wrapping the cables
  • Relieve strain on the cable

3. Replace Worn Items

Even the most expensive aviation headsets aren’t immune to wear and tear.

Common parts that may have to be replaced over time include the ear seals, head pad, and microphone cover.

Often, you may not even realize how badly a part has worn, especially in the case of ear seals that can drastically improve the performance of your headset when replaced. The difference can be night and day.

As a general rule, I recommend testing your aviation headset and then replacing the most commonly worn parts every 6 months if you fly almost daily.

If you fly more infrequently, you can get away with replacing parts once every 12-18 months.

4. Clean Your Headset

Cleaning your aviation headset isn’t just hygienic, but it can also make it last longer.

Every so often, I recommend you do the following:

  • Gently wipe the headband, connectors, headband cushion, and plastic parts using a soft cloth moistened with water and mild soap
  • Clean the ear cushions with either alcohol wipes or a soft moistened cloth

Note that less is definitely more when it comes to cleaning.

What I mean is that you don’t want to expose the headset or any of its part to too much water, especially if near to any of the built-in electronic components.

Helen Krasner holds a PPL(A), with 15 years experience flying fixed-wing aircraft; a PPL(H), with 13 years experience flying helicopters; and a CPL(H), Helicopter Instructor Rating, with 12 years working as a helicopter instructor.

Helen is an accomplished aviation writer with 12 years of experience, having authored several books and published numerous articles while also serving as the Editor of the BWPA (British Women Pilots Association) newsletter, with her excellent work having been recognized with her nomination of the “Aviation Journalist of the Year” award.

Helen has won the “Dawn to Dusk” International Flying Competition, along with the best all-female competitors, three times with her copilot.