Why Are Your Headphones Crackling and How to Fix a Crackling Sound?

Are you fed up with headphones crackling? Have you changed your headphones more often because of that annoying crackling sound? If you have then, we have a few tips to help you get rid of that irritating crackling sound. So if your headphones crackling on one side or there’s that popping noise in headphones, we’ll help you get rid of these once and for all.

There are many reasons why there is crackling in headphones. The source of the irritating sound can come from the headphone device, the headphone wire, or the audio source (smartphone, MP3 player, computer, laptop, or audio receiver). Sometimes, the audio material may also be the problem as these may become corrupted. Let's discuss each one.

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Wire Problems

Broken or frayed wires are the most common reason why there are headphones popping sound. Any loose wire or cut section of the wiring will mostly lead to crackling. Headphone wires are mostly protected by plastic material and because these wires and plastic are soft, these can easily bend. There is a possibility that different points of the wires may break or become loose.

The most common areas where breaks and tears happen are at the end of the wire, the end that terminates to the jack, and the end that connects to the earbuds. These are very prone to bending and pulling and these forces can eventually cause wear and tear. If a headphone or earphone has in-line control (a small control switch that you can press to control volume or to pause, forward, and backward tunes) these may also be at risk for pulling and tearing.

Port Problems

The auxiliary port is also known as the headphone port or jack. This is where you connect your headphones. This port is very prone to problems, especially when your device is many years old. You can tell that the AUX port is starting to act up when you need to turn or plug and unplug the jack to remove any cracking or loud noises.

To assess if there is a problem with the AUX port, connect your headphone or earphones to another device with an AUX port. If the headphones work ok or the crackling is gone, then the problem is with the device.

Equalizer Problems

Incorrect or poor equalizer settings may also cause crackling when you use your headphones and even when you listen to sound through your speakers. Usually, the cracking noise may appear when music is played loudly or if treble or bass settings are high. You may reduce the volume of your headphone or speakers to see if the cracking disappears.

But if the crackling sound remains even when you have reduced the volume, then you might have problems with your headphones.

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Audio or Sound Card Driver Concerns

If you are listening to a movie, video clip, or audio clip from your laptop or computer using a headphone then you may need to update sound drivers of your computer. A newer or more updated audio driver is available from your sound card manufacturer. We recommend updating your drivers regularly to avoid headphones crackling when plugged into a computer. Schedule driver updates on your device as well.

Related: wireless headphones keep cutting out

Outdated Headphone Drivers

Headphone drivers may also become damaged, especially when your device is old or worn out; this may also become damaged if you accidentally dropped or stepped on your device. But if your device is still new, it may still be under warranty and thus, you may be entitled to a replacement.

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How to Fix Headphones Crackling

Headphones making crackling noise are indeed very annoying. If you continue to overlook crackling, you’ll end up with a completely distorted sound that will affect the way you’ll enjoy and understand audio. Here are some ways to fix headphones crackling

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Fix frayed, cut, or broken wires

Find the frayed or broken section of the wire and fix it. With the headphones plugged on your device and in your ear, listen to music and try to find the best position where the crackling sounds seem to disappear. The part you're holding likely has some broken parts or fays.

Inspect the area and see if there are cuts. Use electrical tape and apply a good layer of tape over the broken area. Apply tape over susceptible areas as well like the area near the jack, the inline control, and the headphone.

Related: how to fix earphones one side is quieter

Use a different device or audio source

If the crackling comes from a faulty source, use another device. Check the audio file; corrupted files are more likely to crack and pop.

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Update your sound card driver

If you connect your headphone to your computer or laptop, check if your sound card drivers are updated, and if not, upgrade as necessary. Check for updates from your sound card manufacturer site.

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If all else fails, it’s time to get another headphone set, but this time, consider the following when buying the best pair.

  • If you prefer wired headphones, choose a set with durable wires. The wires must not be too stiff; this must be flexible to avoid early fraying and breaking.
  • Choose a headphone with a secure jack, earbuds, and inline controls. These parts must be very durable, secure, and should not look and feel flimsy.
  • The headphone must be comfortable to wear. There are different kinds of headphones, each with specific uses. There are headphones for fitness, gaming, music enjoyment, and so on. Make sure to find the one that's right for your needs.
  • Avoid headphone popping sounds by going wireless. A wireless headset or Bluetooth headset will less likely suffer from crackling and popping noises due to frayed or broken wires.

Now that you know the causes and the way to fix headphones crackling noises, you may now troubleshoot your device. Don’t immediately discard your headphones just because of a crackle; this is fixable and preventable. Save money by fixing crackling headphones instead of just replacing yours away. 

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