Why Is My Headphone Not Working? Here’s How to Fix

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In a generation so addicted to mobiles and the ever-improving tech, minor problems still get pretty annoying, don’t they? Things like one or both sides of your headphones stop working suddenly, or even your PC or your phone not detecting the headphones.

But wait, instead of throwing your headphones right away, let us try fixing this issue with simple steps. Today, we will find ways to fix your headphones when they aren’t working.

Although I’m not sure that these steps are what you need to get your headphones ramped up, I’m pretty sure, if not all these, at least some of them will be helpful.

Reasons Why Your Headphones Aren’t Working!

I’m sure you’ll agree that there are as many headphone problems as there are headphone models. Your headphones not working might just result from a lint accumulated in your headphone jack.

Or it could be because of the system settings that were changed by your kids messing around on your phone while you were occupied. It could be anything.

Let us look for the common problems that might end up causing problems for your headphones.

  • System settings
  • Defective audio jack
  • Damaged cable
  • Bluetooth connectivity issues
  • Incompatible Device
  • Outdated drivers

System Settings

System Settings

Wrong system settings and incompatibility are among the most common problems one may encounter while setting up audio devices on your PC. It may differ based on the operating system you are using.

Let us dive into the common fixes that might aid you. Starting with Windows 10.

  • Know that your headphones are compatible with the PC you are using.
  • Ensure that your headphones aren’t muted or the volume isn’t set to the lower end.
  • If the headphones aren’t muted, you can go to the ‘Control Panel’ in the Sound settings. A pop-up box will appear once you click on that, click on the ‘playback’ tab and right-click on your headphone to see if it’s ‘enabled’.
  • Moving on, you can double-click on your headphone, which will open the headphone properties for you, wherein you can check the ‘enhancements settings, sound level, and sound quality depending on the type of headphones you own.
  • Sometimes, merely restarting your device can fix issues that the system settings do not; hence you may try restarting your device to see if that solves the problem.

Windows 11

  • In the settings, click on ‘System’ on the left side of the screen.
  • Then choose ‘Sound,’ which will give you an option like ‘choose where to play sound,’ below which you’ll get the devices that have been connected to your PC.
  • Choose the device you want to use by checking the box to the left of the device’s name.
  • If you do not see your device listed, you can scroll down and click on ‘All sound devices.’
  • In the output devices list, go ahead and click on your device’s name, which will then give you the option to choose whether your headphones have permission to be used by the PC; if not, choose ‘allow.’

Defective Audio Jack

Defective Audio Jack

After all the fuss of messing around with your system settings, you might as well realize that the problem lies with the headphone jack. A defective headphone jack could ruin your listening experience to quite an extent. Therefore, have a look at your headphone jack if they haven’t been cleaned in a while because most of the problems with ports are resolved by just cleaning them.

Use a cotton Swab damped with rubbing alcohol to clean your ports.

It might also happen that they do not need cleaning but a repair; for that, you may try connecting your headphones to a different audio jack to see if the problem lies with the headphones or the audio jack and proceed accordingly.

Damaged Cable

Damaged Cable

Though damaged cables are clearly visible, there are times when you might miss out on them. There are no scientific rules to identify damaged cables, so you may just have a detailed and closed look at them. If the cables are damaged, you may consider changing your headphones, or if you’re okay with doing a bit of tool workout, we can list down the steps to mend those cables.

Tools You Need

  • Knife or a cutter
  • Lighter or match
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Electrical tape or heat-shrink tube
  • Glue

Steps to Follow

  • Now, look for any visible damage, cuts, or frays. If visible, cut out the damaged section of the wire.
  • Carefully remove the cable jacket of both ends of the wire you’ve cut out, ensuring you do not hamper the wiring inside the headphone jacket.
  • Split the wires inside the headphone and solder the ends.
  • Now join both ends of the wires with the help of a Soldering Iron.
  • Once joined, apply the electric tape over the joint part, apply glue, and then put it on shrink tubes (4-5).
  • Cover the wires with the shrink tubes so that it does not damage the internal wiring when they bend.

Follow the steps above if the damage is in the middle part of the headphone wire. Whereas, if the damage lies in the headphone Plug, you’ll also need a 3.5 mm audio jack in addition to the tools mentioned above.

How to Repair Faulty Headphone Plug

Below are the steps to repair your faulty headphone plug.

  • Cut out the end of the headphone plug and carefully remove the cable jacket exposing the individual wires.
  • Take your 3.5 mm audio jack and add solder to the contacts carefully. Try not to fill the solder, be careful with just the contacts.
  • Hold up the casing and thread it onto the wire.
  • Now add solder to the ends of the wires as well, making sure that the lengths of the wires aren’t very long.
  • Unite the wires and the 3.5 mm audio jack using a soldering iron.
  • Cover up the contact area with an electric tape.
  • Re-unite the audio jack with the casing and tighten it properly.

Bluetooth Connectivity Issues

Bluetooth Connectivity Issues

If your headphones have been connected via Bluetooth, you must turn them ON and OFF and then disconnect and reconnect them.

Ensure that the Bluetooth headphones are compatible with your PC as well as the Bluetooth version on your PC.

To know your Bluetooth version, right-click on the ‘Start’ button and then click on ‘Device Manager. You can then go to Bluetooth and Expand it to see your Bluetooth version.

It might also happen that your Bluetooth adapter has failed. To check that, plug in other devices to check if the problem persists with your headphone or all the other devices.

Incompatible Device

Sometimes, a few Bluetooth headphones aren’t always compatible with your PC resulting in limited functionality, which is why your headphones might not be working properly.

To avoid these, it is advisable that you check your headphone’s specifications and compatibility before plugging it into your PC, thereby reducing any potential damage that may occur.

Outdated Drivers

Outdated Drivers

Updating your drivers may work as a troubleshooting step if that is something your headphones are looking for.

To update your drivers, right-click on the ‘Start’ icon and choose ‘Device Manager. A pop-up box will appear.

Right-click on the ‘Sound, video and game controllers,’ which will then list out the device names accordingly.

Right-click on the device name, and you’ll get an option to ‘Update Drivers.

The driver’s updated, and this quite possibly solves your problem because if these don’t, you might have to get your headphone checked.


Headphone problems are recurring. Contrary to what they say, buying an expensive one doesn’t solve the problem, nor is it gifted with a lifetime guarantee.

However, headphones usually come with a warranty you can claim within a specified time. It might be possible that the above fixes haven’t been able to resolve the issue, which quite possibly means that the challenge lies with your PC or the headphone itself.

You can claim your warranty or contact your manufacturer or customer support if the issue persists since replacement or repair is the only option we’re left with.