Headphones allow us to listen to music without disturbing those around us. However, when one headphone stops working, it becomes a problem for us!
The most common reason one headphone stops working is a short in the wires. Solving this problem requires taping the cord into position or removing the area of the shortage. Other possible causes are a device error or a low battery. Rule out these issues before attempting to alter the headphones.
If only one of your headphones is currently working, you have come to the right place. Below you will find all the reasons your headphones may not be working and how to fix them. Let’s begin.
Before breaking open your headphones, you should diagnose the issue. Not all headphone issues require dismantling.
First, rule out any device errors. Restart the device playing the audio and reinsert the headphones. If the headphone still is not working, clean out the headphone jack. Headphone jacks collect dust and other substances when not in use. Too much dust in the headphone port may block electricity from reaching the headphones.
After cleaning your headphone jack and port, attempt to play a sound once again. If no sound plays, there is likely a wire shortage somewhere.
The first step to repairing broken wired headphones is to locate the shortage.
Plug your headphones into the device and play a sound. Only put the broken headphone in your ear. Starting at the headphone jack, pinch and bend the headphones cord. Work your way up the headphones cord towards the broken earbud. If the headphone begins playing the sound at a certain spot, mark the area.
If this method does not work, there may be a wire shortage inside the earbud itself. Open the earbud and try to solder the broken wires into place.
Bend the cord to the position where sound plays, and tape it into place with some electrical tape. Wrapping the headphone cord with tape may only work as a temporary solution, but it stops you from needing to cut open your headphones.
If this solution stops working, you may need a more permanent solution. This solution will require cutting open the headphones, which will likely cancel out your warranty.
If your headphones are still under warranty, you can have them replaced or repaired by the store. For headphones not covered by a return or repair policy, it is up to you to fix them.
Grab some wire strippers, wire cutters, masking tape, and either electrical tape or shrink tubing. Locate the wire shortage by following the steps described above. After locating the short, place masking tape on either side of it, about an inch between the two pieces of tape. Using the wire cutters, cut the cord just before each piece of tape.
Using the wire strippers, remove the wire shielding from each of the three exposed wires. If the wires in your headphones are too small, you may need to use sandpaper to strip them.
Expose the wires on both sides of the headphones cord and reconnect them. You can reconnect the coils either with a soldering gun or an in-line splice. Test that the headphones are now working. Wrap the doctored section with either electrical tape or a shrink tube to protect the repaired wires.
Repairing broken wired headphones is not complicated; however, this fix often leads to one side of the headphones being shorter than the other.
Another quick fix for headphones with only one functioning earbud is to use a headphone splitter. This fix only works if you have multiple pairs with only one working earbud. Additionally, this fix works best if the working earbuds are for opposite ears.
Purchase a headphone splitter and plug both pairs of broken headphones into it. Use the working earbuds to listen to your audio!
While this hack will not fix your broken headphones, it allows you to continue using them. Using a headphone splitter may also decrease the sound quality of your headphones. You may consider removing the non-functioning earbuds for more convenient usage.
Although this fix is not perfect, you do not have to purchase another pair of headphones. If you’re looking to save money, this could be a good tactic.
Bluetooth headphones are more expensive and much more convenient than wired headphones. Unfortunately, this makes it all the more upsetting when one of them stops working.
Before tossing your BlueTooth headphones, rule out device errors by restarting both the headphones and the audio playing device. If the headphone still does not work, check the battery level of the earbuds. Occasionally, one headphone will charge while the other does not.
After letting the headphones charge for a bit, test the sound again. If the headphone is still not functioning, there may be earwax stuck in the grill.
Clean the grill of the headphones with a Q-tip lightly soaked in rubbing alcohol, with the grill pointed down. Then, still with the grill pointed down, lightly scrub with a toothbrush.
Before cracking your BlueTooth headphones open, check the manufacturer’s warranty. If your device is still under warranty, save yourself some time and money and get them repaired or replaced.
However, if the headphones are not under warranty, what do you have to lose?
Gently open the casing surrounding the speakers in the BlueTooth headphone. Examine the wires inside the headphones (you may need a magnifying glass to view the smaller wires). If any wires appear to be disconnected, reconnected them with a soldering iron.
Test the headphones and put them back together. If your headphones still do not work after repairing them, you will need to purchase a new pair.
How to Care for Headphones
Properly caring for and maintaining your existing headphones will prevent one earbud from breaking. Storing and cleaning your headphones correctly extends the lifetime of your headphones.
How you store your headphones will depend on the type you have. Wired headphones often come in a plastic case. Return the headphones to their plastic case when not in use. Do not throw your headphones into your pocket or bag. Doing so will lead to tangles in the cord.
When untangling your headphones, wires will sometimes break. Bluetooth headphones should always be returned to their charging case when not in use.
Another way to extend the life of your headphones is to clean them frequently. While it may be tedious to clean them daily, use a cotton swab and some hydrogen peroxide to clean the headphones once a week. Not only will this help them last longer, but it will be healthier for you!
The final method to extend the lifetime of your wired headphones is to remove them properly. Never unplug your headphones by pulling on the cord or the device. Grab the headphone jack instead. Removing the headphones from here reduces tension snaps throughout the cables and reduces wear on the jack.