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Headphones break, it’s a sad fact of life whether they’re wired headphones or wireless, sooner or later, you pop in the headphone plug and no sound comes out or terrible sound comes out.
The good news is that you can often find out where the problem lies in a pair of ordinary headphones and with a little effort, it can be fixed without needing a new pair of headphones.
So, let’s take a look at how you can identify what’s wrong with your headphones and how you put it right.
Before you reach for the electrical tape and start rattling the headphone jack in frustration it’s time to check that your headphones are actually broken.
To do this:
And then, if the problem is the headphones before you attempt a repair from our in-depth guide, we strongly suggest that you check your warranty and see if you can simply return them for a repair.
OK, if your headphones are making rattling noises or the sound is super distorted – the odds are good that you’ve blown your headphone driver(s).
You can do this by dropping the headphones, playing at maximum volume all the time, plugging into an amp with too much power or getting dust/hair/dirt trapped in the headphone pads.
If you want to fix headphones with blown drivers then you must replace them – this is sometimes easier said than done, if you feel the job is too hard – go to a service center for your headphone brand and get them to take a look.
You may find the issue is simply down to the audio source settings or a failure to update the audio source drivers. So, check these before trying to deal with any issues with the headphones.
Next, it’s time to reset the Bluetooth drivers, use this process to do this:
If you’re having latency issues with your headphones, this will express as a delay in the sound, you may need to update the audio codecs on your device or check to see if your version of Bluetooth is the same as that on the device and amend them accordingly.
Other issues with a Bluetooth headphone will probably involve a trip to an authorized dealer to see if they can connect or repair the device.
Static in wireless headphones is super common and it’s usually easy to fix – the main reasons for these problems are:
The best thing to do about this is clean the wireless headphones and the audio jack on the device and then check that there are no sources of interference around such microwaves, modems, etc.
You can also check your software settings on the audio player itself.
Just before you try to repair this problem – check your phone or computer and make sure that the audio is set up correctly, you may accidentally have shifted the balance control.
If not, the odds are good that you might need to repair any frayed wires, get a new jack plug or unbend a bent jack plug.
You can unbend a bent jack plug easily using a pair of pliers, just be gentle and firm, don’t make sudden movements and if that fails, just replace the jack plug completely (use a wire stripper to make this easy).
If the headphone jack is loose, you might find that you need to clean out the audio jack it’s plugged into (use a q-tip soaked in alcohol).
There are three potential causes of echo in headphones:
If your headphone pads are worn out or uncomfortable then you just need to replace them.
This really is as simple as following the manufacturer’s instructions to remove the old ones and put new ones on. Check their website for details or get instructions when you buy the new pads.
If you have a broken headphone band, the easiest way to fix a headphone band is to use tape, just tightly wrap it in duct tape until it’s solid again.
If you need to attach your headphone cable because a broken or snapped piece came away, you can use cable ties to secure it.
You could also buy a new headphone band and then follow the manufacturer’s instructions to replace it – this can be a bit fiddly, so be patient while you do it.
You don’t need to throw broken headphones away. The first thing you should always do is see if you can fix them yourself.
Sure, not every pair of broken headphones is salvageable but that shouldn’t stop you from at least running through our guide and seeing what you can do to prevent them from ending up in landfills.
They estimate that over 53 million tons of e-waste is generated each year, and only 17% of it is ever recycled. So, try not to add to that problem if you don’t have to and save money in the process!