The Indian way of using things is to make full use of it until it breaks and is not productive at all. In India, we are more of the habit of REPAIRING items and re-using them; be it footwear, clothes, appliances, anything! I realized the difference only in the US where you "use and throw" but don't repair. Repairing is good in way because you understand the working of an object and you learn to fix its problems. It’s like troubleshooting, you have to fix it; you can't always REPLACE everything. I prefer troubleshooting & fixing!
My iPOD earphones were beyond any use. I had successfully pulled out every bit of its use! To the extent that I used to fidget with it, place it at angles such that I can hear the music in both the ear pieces. It was really annoying when the music would flow through only 1 earpiece and leaving a deaf feeling in the other ear!! :P
Finally, I have given up the broken earpiece & bought a new one.