As far as wearables go, my daily drivers are a pair of JBL E45BT Bluetooth headphones. They’re several years old now and are showing their age: many of the buttons no longer work and it usually takes two attempts for the Bluetooth to connect. But the biggest issue is that the ear cups were no longer staying on. They’re fine when I wear them, but as soon as I take them off, the left cup would fall to the ground.

But they’re a decent pair of headphones, and I wasn’t keen on throwing them out or shopping for another pair. So I set about looking for a set of new ear cups.

This is actually the second pair of replacement cups I’ve bought for these headphones. The first had a strip of adhesive that stuck the cup straight on to the speaker (it was this adhesive that was starting to fail). I didn’t make a note of where I bought them and a quick search didn’t turn up anything that looked like them. So in December, I settled for this pair from this eBay seller. Yesterday, they arrived.

New set of ear-cups for a JBL E-series bluetooth headphones
The new set of ear cups.
A black bluetooth headphone on a table, with the left cup fallen off exposing the speaker, and the right cup slightly removed from it's original position
They couldn't have come sooner.

First impressions were that they were maybe too big. I also didn’t see an adhesive strip to stick them on. Looking at the listing again, I realised that they’re actually for a different line of JBL headphones. But I was a little desperate, so I set about trying to get them on.

The headphones in question on an old piece of paper with the left cup replaces with the new ear-cups and the right speaker exposed and bits of old adhestive laying on the paper
Removing the old adhesive, with my fingers (yeah, I probably should buy some tools).

It turns out that they’re actually still a good fit for my pair. The aperture is a little smaller than the headphone speaker, but there’s a little rim around each one and I found that by slotting one side of the padding over the rim, and then lightly stretching and rolling the aperture around the speaker, it was possible to get them on. It’s a tight fit, but that just means they’re likely to stay on. And without any adhesive, which is good.

The headphones with the right cup in profile demonstrating the roll of the padding onto the rim
It's a bit hard to see, but if you look at the top of the right cup, you can see how the padding was rolled onto the speaker from the bottom.

After a quick road test (a walk around the block and washing the dishes), I found the replacement to be a success. So here’s to a few more years of this daily driver.

The headphones in profile with the new replacement cups
Headphones with the new cups. They look and feel pretty good.
The old replacement cups on a table, with the left cup loosing it's vinyl skin revealing the actual foam.
The old cups, ready for retirement.