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Why do I Hear Static in my Headphones? Instant Fixes for Different Gadgets

I don’t remember this song sounding like that last time? Is there something wrong with my ears? Do I need to book an appointment with a hearing specialist?

Don’t worry, the song is fine, and your ears are too (we hope). So, “Why do I hear static in my headphones?” you ask. It’s probably your headphones or audio device.

Hearing a static or buzzing sound in headphones isn’t what you purchased them to hear. It can be very annoying and frustrating. You fiddle around with them, give them a shake, yet it persists. So what can be done if you encounter this problem with your favorite set of headphones?

What causes static in headphones?

What causes static in headphones

There are a few reasons why you could be hearing static or buzzing coming from your headphones. Understanding the reasons why this issue occurs is important when attempting to come up with a solution.

Here is a list of what causes static in headphones:

  • Wires have become loose or disconnected.
  • The auxiliary port has become dirty.
  • Interference nearby your wireless headphones.
  • A speaker in your headphones is damaged.
  • Incorrect audio settings.

Wires have become loose or disconnected

Even though most manufacturers use tough, high-quality materials to construct their equipment, there are still weak points. It makes sense that the weakest point would be the areas that are pulled and twisted the most.

Many people pull the wire itself when disconnecting instead of the casing around the jacks. These same areas are also the most likely area to be stressed from excessive bending and twisting, often causing a loose or disconnected terminal.

We highly recommend that when plugging and unplugging any cable that you grip firmly around the case of the plug. Do not tug on the wire itself. If you are confident with soldering on your own, this can be repaired. Otherwise, it’s a simple fix for a technician.

The auxiliary port has become dirty

On any device, but particularly on smartphones and tablets, it is easy for dirt, dust, and grime to accumulate inside the headphone port. When a large build-up occurs, then it will affect the signal quality being transmitted.

So, what is an auxiliary port, and why does it need to be cleaned?

It’s where you connect your headphones to your device. People often call it a headphones port or socket. But the technical name is an auxiliary port or “Aux-In.”

Luckily, this is an easy fix. All you need to do is clean the port using a quality cotton tip and rubbing alcohol. Use a dry cotton tip first, followed by another with a small amount of rubbing alcohol, and then finally with one more dry cotton tip.

Interference nearby your wireless headphones

Because wireless headphones use radio frequencies to establish a connection with your audio device, they are more susceptible to interference. There are a few things you should be aware of as to what causes RF interference.

Items that are known to cause RF interference include WiFi routers, USB 3.0 ports, children’s toys, other wireless equipment, microwaves, fluorescent lights, and cordless phones. Try moving away from any of these objects to see if the static disappears.

A speaker in your headphones is damaged

This is probably the issue you least wish to encounter. It will result in either having to make a warranty claim or replacing your headphones altogether. Unfortunately, if the speaker in your headphone is damaged, this won’t be a quick or easy repair. So, what are the signs of damaged headphone speakers?

The best way to tell if your headphone driver is blown is to try them on several different audio sources. Try them with your smartphone, then your computer, and even with an iPod. If the issue continues, then there’s a good chance it’s your headphones. Don’t give up just yet, though; there are some more things you can try.

Incorrect Audio Settings

You’ve checked both the headphones themselves, along with your audio source device, and everything seems fine. All the wires appear intact without any damage, the ports are clean, and there’s no interference. But you are still asking, “Why do I Hear Static in my Headphones??

This could be a software-related issue rather than the hardware itself. The next step is to check the settings on your devices to make sure they are operating correctly. The steps will be different depending on what device you are using.

Audio Settings on an Apple Mac Computer

Audio Settings on an Apple Mac Computer

Static and buzzing most commonly occurs on Apple Mac computers after an update. This could be after updating the operating system or even a program. Often performing a computer reset will fix this issue. Otherwise, there are some settings you can access to run some tests.

How to test sound settings on an Apple Mac computer

  • Ensure your headphones are plugged in or paired to your Mac computer.
  • Open [System Preferences] and then select [Sound].
  • Click on the [Sound Effects] tab.
  • Make sure the output device selected is your headphones.
  • Toggle the box on and off that reads [Play Feedback When Volume is Changed].
  • Use this option to test if static or buzzing can still be heard in your headphones.

Sound output device settings on an Apple Mac computer

There might be some conflict with where the sound output is being directed by your computer. To access the sound output settings, just follow these easy steps:

  • Open [Applications] on your Mac computer.
  • Select [Utilities Folder] followed by [Audio MIDI Setup].
  • In the list on the left side, right-click on [Built-in Output].
  • Select [Use this device for output].

Audio Settings on iPhones and iPads

No matter if you are using an iPhone or an iPad, the steps will be the same. Apple products are generally limited as to what settings you can access, but there are a few things you can try to help refresh the software.

Complete a soft reset

  • Hold the [Power] button until you see [Slide to Power Off] appear on the screen.
  • Slide from left to right to power off.
  • Wait at least 30 seconds.
  • Hold the [Power] button until you see the Apple logo on the screen.

Deactivate the “Do Not Disturb” feature

  • Open the [Settings] App.
  • Scroll to and select the [Do Not Disturb] menu.
  • Toggle the first button to [Off].

Close all background Apps

  • Press and hold the [Home] button until the [App Switcher] appears.
  • [Swipe Up] on each App to close them from running in the background.

Restore the iPhone or iPad

We recommend backing up your iPhone or iPad to either iCloud or your computer before completing a restore. This is because you could potentially lose data when completing this process. Here are the steps:

  • Connect your iPhone or iPad to a computer using the USB cable.
  • Open [iTunes] and click on the [Device] button, which will look like either an iPhone or iPad.
  • Select [Summary], followed by [Restore], to begin the restoration process.
  • Follow the onscreen instructions.

Audio Settings on an Android Smartphone or Tablet

Audio Settings on an Android Smartphone or Tablet

Since there are slightly different versions of Android available, the exact steps may vary slightly across devices. Watch out for slightly different wording variations on what the menus and options are labeled as.

Install the latest updates to your device

  • Open up the [Settings] on your device.
  • Scroll to and select [About device] in the menu.
  • Select [System update]; then, the latest version will download and install.

Switch from WiFi to mobile data

  • Open the [Settings] on your device.
  • Select [Connections] from the menu.
  • Toggle [WiFi] to [Off].
  • Then toggle [Mobile Data] to [On].

Complete a factory reset

Only do this as a last resort. Make sure that any important files, pictures, videos, and documents are backed up first. Completing this process will wipe your device clean and restore it to its original factory settings.

  • Open the [Settings] on your device.
  • Find in the menu and select [Backup and reset].
  • Tap on [Erase all data] or [Factory reset].
  • Select [All Files].

Audio Settings on a Windows Computer

Audio Settings on a Windows Computer

One of the reasons people choose a Windows computer over an Apple Mac computer is their range of flexibility. With greater flexibility comes more options and settings. These are the most common settings which would require adjusting on a Windows computer.

Update your sound drivers

  • Hold down the [Windows Key] and [S] key together.
  • Type [Device manager] and then click [Open].
  • In the list, expand [Universal Serial Bus controllers] and [Uninstall] all controllers listed under that heading.
  • Restart your computer and then try the headphones again.

Change the audio format

  • Hold down the [Windows Key] and [S] key together.
  • Type [Device manager] and then click [Open].
  • When the new window pops open double click on [Hardware and sound]
  • Select [Sound] and then click on the [Playback] tab.
  • Right-click on [Speakers] and then click on [Properties].
  • Click on the [Advanced] tab and change the audio format under [Default format].
  • Click [Apply] followed by [Ok].

Disable sound effects

  • Hold down the [Windows Key] and [S] key together.
  • Type [Device manager] and then click [Open].
  • When the new window pops open double click on [Hardware and sound].
  • Select [Sound] and then click on the [Playback] tab.
  • Right-click on [Speakers] and then select [Properties].
  • Click on the [Enhancements] tab, and tick the box next to [Disable all sound effects].
  • Click on [Apply] followed by [Ok].

Run the Windows troubleshooter

  • Hold down the [Windows Key] and [S] key together.
  • Type [settings] and then click [Open].
  • Select [Update and security] and click the [Troubleshoot] tab.
  • Under the heading [Get up and running], click [Playing audio].
  • Click [Run the troubleshooter] and follow the onscreen instructions.

How to Maintain Your Headphones

Maintain Your Headphones

There are some basic maintenance techniques you can use to ensure you won’t be asking yourself, “Why do I Hear Static in my Headphones?” This way, you don’t have to waste time troubleshooting and can enjoy listening to your favorite audio at a higher quality.

Take care of any cables and wires

The signal that provides your audio usually travels along cables or wires. Take particular care when plugging and unplugging any cables or wires, trying not to bend or stretch them excessively. Also, avoid tugging on them when trying to disconnect.

When you store your headphones or carry them in your bag or pocket, bundle any wires or cables up neatly. Don’t roll them up too tightly, and possibly even find a small bag to keep them in.

Keep your headphones clean

It is always good to keep your headphones clean, as small pieces of dirt and dust can find their way inside the components. Keeping your contacts and ports clean is particularly important, as this can have a big effect on signal quality.

Use a cotton ball or cotton tips with a small amount of rubbing alcohol to keep your contacts and ports clean. Always run some dry cotton over your contacts and inside your ports before attempting to use your headphones again.

Looking for High Quality Headphones?

Are you using the headphones or earbuds that were factory-supplied with your smartphone or tablet? The headphones that come included with a new tablet or smartphone are generally not of the highest quality. However, there are plenty of highly durable and activity-specific headphones on the market.

So, check out our in-depth Bose SoundLink 2 Around-Ear Wireless Headphone Review, our Marshall Major 3 Bluetooth Wireless Review, our Razer Opus Review, our Sennheiser HD660S Review, our JBL E55BT Review, and our Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC Review for awesome headphones you can buy in 2021.

For more advice on using and caring for headphones, take a look at our informative guides on How To Clean HeadphonesHow To Reset Your Bluetooth HeadphonesHow to Fix Sound Delay in Bluetooth Headphones, and How to Use Two or More Headphones On PC or Mac (Wired & Wireless).

Why do I Hear Static in my Headphones? – Conclusion

We hope that by using this guide, you have successfully removed any static or buzzing from your headphones. No matter which device you are using, working through these types of issues makes you more familiar with all the functions and settings.

If you experience any other issues in the future, you will now be more confident to navigate your way through menus and settings. We hope that you are enjoying these guides and find them useful. We will be adding more in the future, covering a range of different issues.

Enjoy your static-free audio.

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About Corey Hoffman

Corey is a multi-instrumentalist who has played in numerous bands over the years, some good, some not so good. He has also written countless songs and recorded five albums in professional studios across America. Today he is a hobby musician but still loves the guitar after over 15 years of playing.

He considers his writing as a way to share what he has learned over the decades with younger generations ad always can't wait to get his hands on the latest gear.

He lives just outside New York with his wife Barbara and their two German Shepherds, Ziggy and Iggy.

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