If you’re an audiophile with a love for music, headphones are probably an important part of your belongings. Often, headphones are not cheap to come by, so having them break on you when you thought they’ll last you a long time is sad.
You might run into a problem with your headsets, leaving you frustrated. But you never know if an easy fix might solve your problem. Before throwing away your headphones, give fixing them a shot, and they might start working like new.
The first step in fixing problems with your headphones is knowing what caused them to break in the first place and what problem you are dealing with. The route to fixing them then slowly gets easier.
Cause of Broken Headphones
The cause of broken headphones can be both internal and external. While you don’t have much control over when things mess up internally on your headphones, some problems might arise if you’re not handling them properly. Here are some causes of broken headphones.
Headphone cables are delicate, and pulling at them constantly will lead to damage. This also damages the circuitry and stops the headphones from functioning normally.
Many audio devices often come with an IPX rating. Most headphones can sustain a little water damage, and they’ll be fine. However, excessive water can cause irreversible damage to your headphones.
Mishandling your headphones, like dropping them, will lead to physical damage, like a broken headband or ear cups. This also makes it uncomfortable and even dangerous for you to wear.
Problems With the Audio Jack
If you’re constantly plugging and unplugging your jack without being too careful, this will lead to wear and tear on the jack and plug. This leads to loose connections that lead to a loss in audio.
Things to Test Out for Audio Issues
If you find a problem with the audio or sound of your headphones, here is a list of things you can try out first to confirm the issue.
Different Audio Sources
If you use only one audio source to play all your audio, say your phone, it is worth checking plugging your headphones in with other audio sources. Plug them into a different phone or laptop and recheck the audio.
Notice if you can hear any errors. If you can’t detect any audio issues, the problem most likely lies with your original audio source.
Play Different Files
Sometimes the issue can lie with the audio file itself. If it is a low-quality audio file or movie you’ve downloaded off the internet, then the audio quality isn’t going to be the best. Opt for higher quality files for testing or stream something off the internet using Youtube or Spotify.
If trying out these steps did nothing to better the audio quality of your headphones, there might be a problem with your headphones themselves. But don’t worry. There might be a fix to your situation, so try out some options before you think about giving up.
Common Headphone Problems and How to Fix Them
Here are some common headphone problems and a list of steps you can try out to fix them.
1. There is No Audio
No audio is a common issue that all of us have faced, and it is frustrating. This doesn’t always mean that your headphones are at fault. Here is a list of things that might be causing the issue.
If you have Bluetooth headphones, it is worth checking out if.
- They are adequately charged or at least have a 20% charge.
- Bluetooth is turned on on both devices and properly connected.
If none of these things fix the issues, try resetting your headphones. Every headphone brand and model has different instructions to do this properly.
So make sure you follow all the steps properly. Resetting your headphones will also take care of minor bugs and glitches.
For Other Headphones, Check if
- The volume on your headphones isn’t turned down to zero.
- The volume on your source device is not muted.
Check Audio Source
- Go to the settings of your audio source. There are always certain settings that might be messing up with the sound quality or volume output.
- An outdated audio driver might be the culprit. Ensure your mobile phones, PCs, and other audio sources are up to date with the latest software.
2. Delay in Sound
Video and audio lag is a common problem and one that needs to be addressed. It is even hard to ignore when you are watching videos or movies.
This is more common in Bluetooth headsets compared to wired headphones because of audio latency. There is some lag because the audio signals are being transferred over Bluetooth.
Here is What Could Be Causing This Problem
Wrong Audio Codecs
For audio to get transferred over Bluetooth, it often has to be compressed. This also reduces the size and encodes it in a different format. This usually affects the quality of the audio.
Different Bluetooth codecs help decompress this audio and have different methods for transferring data.
However, the Bluetooth codec in your headphones should match the codec in your device. If not, both sources rely on the SBC codec, which causes a lot of audio delays.
Interference is when other frequencies interrupt the signal between your headphones. This is often caused when you have too many Bluetooth devices that emit radio frequencies, affecting your Bluetooth headphones’ audio.
Here are some things you can try out
- Reset your headphones and reconnect them to your audio source.
- If you’re using your PC as the audio source, download and install the latest Bluetooth Driver.
3. You Can Hear Static
Static is another common problem with headphones. Usually, things like adjusting the headphone jack do little to help.
There could be a lot of reasons for this
Bluetooth headphones are often prone to connection issues, and this is no different. Moving away from the audio source or having things in between causes interference, and you hear static.
A quick fix for this is disconnecting and reconnecting your devices after some time. Also, make sure that both your devices are near each other.
In the case of wired headphones, loose connections and things stuck in your aux port could also be an issue. Make sure to clean your headphones and audio device properly.
Physical damage to your headphones will also cause issues with audio. This usually happens from mishandling them or accidentally dropping them.
4. Only One Side of the Headphones is Working
There’s nothing worse than putting on your headphones and realising only one side is working. There could be a chance there might be trouble with your settings, so make sure you check them.
If it isn’t that, there could be an issue either with your headphone jack, loose wiring, or internal damage to your headphones.
Here is a list of steps you can take to fix this issue
Disable Sound Enhancement
Audio enhancement adds a lot of processing to enhance the sound. These enhancements are great but also affect playback because they change audio frequencies.
You can easily turn off sound enhancement on your phone, as most headphones support apps. They give you the option to turn on or off sound enhancement.
Replace the Faulty Wire
Fault in wiring is hard to find, but more often than not, it is why there’s only sound coming from one side.
Most people yank headphones directly using the wire, which causes damage to them. This removes the rubber casing from them and is prone to damage.
Repairing Wires Near the Plug
- Use a knife to cut the rubber base near the headphone plug.
- Remove the protective base around the headphone plug. You’ll be able to see an additional metal section at the bottom of the headphone plug.
- Locate the faulty section and cut it all the way through.
- Remove and cut off only the rubber insulation and not the wire.
- Use a lighter to burn off the insulation on the wire.
- Now solder the wires to the jack. Different sections of the jack will coordinate with sections on the jack.
- Cover this section securely with electrical tape.
Fixing Shorted Wires
A short wire is when there’s some damage to your wires. This occurs when a powered wire touches a neutral wire and causes a short circuit.
You’ll typically hear static when you move the wire, so you can use this to determine where the shortened wire is and then fix the issue.
- Plug your headphones and play an audio
- Put your headphones over your ears
- If you have a guess of where the shortened wire could be, start by bending the wire in that area and notice if you hear static
- If you don’t, then start bending the wire every inch till you hear static coming from both sides of your headphone
- Cut off the damaged wire portion where you can hear the static.
- On the remaining sections of the headphone wire, cut off some of the rubber insulation without cutting off the wires.
- Separate ground wires (copper), insulation wires (white) and coloured wires.
- Burn off or solder the tips of only the coloured wires.
- Join all the wires by twisting them with their corresponding wires i.e. coloured with other coloured wires and so on.
- After joining all the wires, use duct tape to wrap and secure them around all the wires.
5. Headband is Broken
Headbands are an integral part of your headphones, and most people are disheartened seeing their headbands broken.
There are still some cases where you can fix them, and we’ll let you know how. There’s no soldering involved like with wires. Just keep some duct tape or zip ties handy.
- Locate the broken part of your headband
- Inspect if the damage is not major and if no part of the headband is missing
- Press the area and bring the broken pieces together till they are attached together like before
- Choose a duct tape nearest to the colour of your headband.
- Now start wrapping the tape tightly around the headband. Stop only when you think it’s secure enough.
Use Cable Ties
This process is similar to using tape. Although this might compromise the look of your headphones, it is typically more secure than using tape.
- Hold the broken pieces of the headband together.
- Put cable ties over the area and secure them till they are tight.
- Use as many cable ties as required until your headband is fully secured.
6. Headphones Pads are Worn Out
Most companies provide headphones pad replacements for their headphones, so this is something you can easily fix. Even if your headphone manufacturer doesn’t come out with pad replacements, you’ll easily be able to find another pad about the same size as your headphones.
You’ll need a sharp tool to remove or lose the glue off your old headphone pads. Keep super glue handy so you can apply your new headphone pads.
- Keep all your tools handy.
- Use a sharp tool to go around the edges of your old headphone pads and remove them.
- Apply super glue on your new headphone pads and around the area where they’ll be installed.
- Wait for the glue to get tacky, and then secure it in place.
- Apply some pressure to the area until you’re sure that the pads are securely attached to your headphones.
7. Bent Headphone Jack or Plug
A bent headphone plug will be the root of many problems, such as hearing static or audio issues. It might also damage your headphone jack, so it’s best to repair it before using it any further.
Keep 2 pliers handy, and you’ll easily be able to fix this issue.
- Place one plier on the tip of the headphone plug and another in the middle to hold the plug in place.
- Apply pressure and use a steady force to bend the headphone jack back in place.
- Check to see if the plug has straightened out or not.
- If not, repeat the process until the plug returns to its original position.
Parting from your favourite headphones is not always easy. But thankfully, there are a lot of fixes to common headphone problems that you can try out yourself. Hopefully, this fixes the problem for you.
However, knowing when the problem requires a complex or extensive repair is also important. It is better to leave these tasks to professionals so you don’t damage your headphones further.
Be sure to also check the warranty of your headphones.
If your headphones are still under warranty, the manufacturer will take care of the repairs for you.
Also, take proper care of your headphones and always have proper storage options handy so you don’t risk damaging them.
We hope this article was helpful.
Samreen Parvez found her love for tech by messing around with the settings on her family’s old digital cameras. This led to a passion for different gadgets and a fascination with all the things they can do. Her interest in all things tech related, combined with a love for writing and research, led her to craft content at Tech Wizard.