Fixing a mysterious iPod headphone buzz

I have a couple of pairs of iPod headphones. One of them is a set of lanyard headphones for the nano, which I absolutely love. It keeps me almost entirely cord-free. They’re great for listening to podcasts while walking around town, listening to music at work, or whatever.

Today, I found them to be affected by what I call the iPod headphone buzz. It occurs occasionally, typically in only one ear, and only with certain tracks. I thought it was an indication of degradation of the headphones. That would suck, because they’re not cheap to replace. Out of curiosity, I took the black cover off of the right earbud (the one giving me trouble today) and I found some very small red fibers of some kind stuck in the metal mesh. I pulled them out, and the buzz was gone.

Next time I hear it in my non-lanyard set of headphones, I’m going to check them out similarly. Am I the only one who’s had this problem?