Playing your records with a worn stylus can severely damage them, so it’s important to know when to stop using an old stylus. I have found that the first indication a stylus is worn is that the record surface noise will increase. You may not notice this on an old noisy record, but on some of your favourite records that you play regularly you will hear increased surface noise. The music itself may still sound just fine. At this point you are not causing damage to your records, but your stylus is very near the end of it’s life. The next indication is that louder passages or higher notes may distort a little bit. We’ve all had that happen, then we clean the stylus and everything is back to normal but when the stylus is worn, cleaning it doesn’t fix the problem. This is when you should stop using the stylus to protect your valuable record collection.