(Last Updated On: July 13, 2020)

Ways to help you get rid of that annoying static from your headphones

One of the most annoying inconveniences is when you want to sit down and listen to some great music, but only hear static noises or intermittent audio playing.

What’s worse is that no matter how much you fiddle with your headphones or audio device, you just can’t seem to understand what’s causing the problem. How will you be able to make the annoying static and buzzing sounds go away?

Hearing static in headphones
Hearing static in headphones

Luckily for you, we’ve made a comprehensive guide covering all the possible causes and solutions for getting rid of static in your headphones for different devices. Each method is dependent on the cause of the problem, so it’s important that you understand what exactly is going on before you proceed in troubleshooting.

Why Do I Hear Static In My Headphones?

It’s important for you to know that there are a few possible causes or reasons as to why there is static noise coming from your headphones. Knowing the initial cause of the problem can change the way you address the issue with your DIY repair solutions.

Below are some of the possible causes of static noise and how you can troubleshoot this problem accordingly.

Wrong Audio Settings

In some cases, the main reason why there is static in your headphones is not because of the headphones itself, but rather the incorrect audio settings set up on your playback device.

So if you’re 100% sure that your headphones are in proper working order, simply navigate to your audio device’s sound settings and make some necessary changes in order to fix the problem.

Loose or Disconnected Wires

The weakest link in the cable is the joint between the plug and cable. (From: http://leon-hacks.blogspot.com/)
The weakest link in the cable is the joint between the plug and cable. (From: http://leon-hacks.blogspot.com/)

Although most headphones are generally well-built, there is a possibility that the internal wiring of the headphones may be loose, faulty, or disconnected and this can cause that annoying popping static sound. The internal headphone wires are most weakest at the connecting point with the 3.5mm audio jack.

Some people tend to tug on the area just below the plastic casing of the jack and this can put unnecessary stress on the internal wires causing them to become loose or disconnected. When connecting or disconnecting your wired headphones to a device, always hold it on the audio jack. Do NOT tug on the wire.

If you have the proper tools at hand and want to know how to fix the static noise due to your headphone jack, refer to this detailed video showing you how to make the necessary repairs.

Auxiliary Port Issues

Another issue that can occur is that the audio port of your playback device is the one causing the static noise. This usually happens when the inside of the auxiliary port of the device is dirty and oxidized which affects the quality of audio of your headphones.

To fix the problem all you have to do is clean the auxiliary port until the dirt is gone and the scratchy static noise can’t be heard anymore. This simple video shows you how to clean the aux port effectively.

If you’ve cleaned the device’s aux port but still hear the static noise, you can always try cleaning the audio jack of your headphones as well until the problem is resolved.

Damaged Headphone Speaker

Checking headphone’s hardware should be the first step when troubleshooting so that you don’t waste time fiddling with your audio device’s settings. To know if the problem lies with your headphones’ speaker, simply plug it in a trusted audio playback device that you know is working properly and see if the static noise can still be heard.

If the sound persists, then it is most likely a hardware issue with your headphones. It may be best to find replacement headphones or make use of your headphone’s warranty if it is still available.

Static Noise From Wireless Headsets

It’s worth noting that using wireless headphones makes you more susceptible to hearing static or buzzing sounds due to interferences from other devices or objects in the area.

You can solve this by making sure that there are no barriers between your Bluetooth headphones and the audio device. Things like a metal desk or using the headphones in the other room can affect the connectivity and overall sound quality.

Quick Fixes for Static Problems Depending on Your Device

If you were able to determine that the headphone static isn’t caused by loose wiring, faulty headphone speaker hardware, aux port issues, or Bluetooth frequency interferences, then the problem may be solved by changing your audio playback device’s settings.

However, keep in mind that the process of fixing this problem can vary depending on what audio device you’re using.

Fixing Headphone Static Noise Issue on Your Mac

Experiencing static noise and other audio problems is more likely to happen right after a MacOS update. A quick fix for this problem would be to simply restart your computer, but if restarting is not an option or if it doesn’t seem to work, then the following steps may work.

  1. Connect your headphones to your Mac computer.
  2. Go to System Preferences and select Sound. You should now be under the Sound Effects tab.
  3. Double-check that the selected output device is your headphones.
  4. Uncheck the “Play Feedback When Volume is Changed” tickbox, then toggle it on and off while checking your headphones if the static noise disappears.
    Sound settings on your MAC computer
    Sound settings on your MAC computer

Other Troubleshooting Options for Mac:

If the above steps don’t work, try this.

  1. Go to Applications > Utilities folder > Audio MIDI Setup.
  2. On the list of available devices shown on the left of your screen, right-click on the “Built-in Output” option.
  3. Select “Use this device for output”.
    Audio MIDI Setup on your MAC computer
    Audio MIDI Setup on your MAC computer

Fixing Headphone Static Noise Issue on Your PC

There are several approaches and methods you can try in order to fix static noise on your headphones when using it with a Windows 10 computer.

Each corresponding approach is highly dependent on the specific problem causing the static sounds, so be absolutely sure of what’s causing the issue, first, before making permanent changes to your computer.

Fix Corrupted Drivers or Update Them

Sometimes, the main cause of static noise on your headphones could be having corrupt or outdated drivers. Follow these steps in order to fix the problem:

  1. Press “Windows key + R” then type “regedit” to open the registry editor. Click “Yes” if a windows prompt pops up.
    Be careful when making changes to the registry editor! Any wrong move or improper editing of values can cause major problems on your computer. Make a backup of your registry (File > Export > Save) before proceeding if you want to stay on the safe side.
  2. Navigate to this part of the registry (you can copy-paste it to the navigation bar on the registry editor):
    Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{36fc9e60-c465-11cf-8056-444553540000}
  3. On the right side, you should see “UpperFilters”. Go ahead and right-click on it then select “Delete”.
    Registry Editor on a Windows 10 Computer
    Registry Editor on a Windows 10 Computer
  4. Close the registry editor and restart your computer.

If that doesn’t fix the problem and the static noise still won’t go away, follow these steps:

  1. Press “Windows key + S” then type “Device Manager” and click on “Open” to open up the device manager.
  2. Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers and uninstall ALL items that are labeled as controllers.
    Device Manager on a Windows 10 Computer
    Device Manager on a Windows 10 Computer
  3. Close the device manager and restart your computer.
Here’s a video of the entire process.

Replace CPU Fan and/or Power Supply

CPU Fan (From: newegg.com)
CPU Fan (From: newegg.com)

Static noises can occur when your computer becomes too hot and requires more power to operate than usual.

That’s why replacing your old CPU fan to provide more effective cooling and/or replacing the power supply to provide your computer with more overall power can be a viable solution to getting rid of the buzzing or static noises from your headphones.

Replacing the CPU Fan
  1. Unplug the fan’s cable from the motherboard.
  2. Using a Phillips head screwdriver, unscrew the old fan from the computer case and unplug the cables. Feel free to reuse the old screws if the replacement fan doesn’t come with new ones.
  3. Hold the new fan in the proper mounting position with one hand. You’ll know it’s in the right spot when the screws line up with the holes in the case.
  4. Screw the fan in place with the other hand and plug in the cables.
  5. Turn on your computer to see if the static noise is gone.
Here’s a video of the entire process.
Replacing the Power Supply
Power Supply
Power Supply
  1. Unplug the power cables from the motherboard, hard drives, CD/DVD burners, and any other place on the motherboard.
  2. Using a Phillips head screwdriver, unscrew the old power supply from the computer case and lift it out from the case.
  3. Plug the new power supply to a wall outlet before installing it on your computer in order to test if the fan is properly working.
  4. Position the new power supply in the appropriate area and screw it in place while also plugging in the cables to the appropriate areas.
  5. Reconnect the power cord and plug your computer back in so that you can turn it on again.
  6. Turn on your computer to see if the static noise is gone.

Change the Current Audio Format

There’s also a chance the current audio output format is not optimal for the headphones you’re using. Simply change the audio format using these easy steps.

  1. Press “Windows key + S” then type “Control Panel” and click on “Open” to open up the control panel.
  2. Go to Hardware and Sound then Sound.
  3. Under the Playback tab, right-click on Speakers, then click on Properties.
  4. Navigate to the Advanced tab and under Default Format, change the audio format. Click on Apply then OK.
    Changing the Audio Format on a Windows 10 Computer
    Changing the Audio Format on a Windows 10 Computer
The static noise problem usually goes away when changing the audio format to 24 bits.

Disable All Sound Enhancements

Sound enhancements can also contribute to the static noise in your headphones. Disabling them will allow you to get rid of the crackling or buzzing sounds altogether.

  1. Press “Windows key + S” then type “Control Panel” and click on “Open” to open up the control panel.
  2. Go to Hardware and Sound then Sound.
  3. Under the Playback tab, right-click on Speakers, then click on Properties.
  4. Navigate to the Enhancements tab and under System Effects Configuration, tick the checkbox next to “Disable all sound effects”. Click on Apply then OK.
    Disabling All Sound Enhancements on a Windows 10 Computer
    Disabling All Sound Enhancements on a Windows 10 Computer
Here’s a video of the entire process.

Try Windows’ Audio Troubleshooter

Windows also comes with its own troubleshooter to try and solve specific problems. Simply launch the corresponding troubleshooter and it will address the problem on its own.

  1. Press “Windows key + S” then type “Settings” and click on “Open” to open up the computer settings.
  2. Go to Update and Security then head to the Troubleshoot tab which can be found at the left side of the screen.
  3. Under “Get up and running”, click on Playing Audio then Run the troubleshooter.
    Window's Audio Troubleshooter
    Window’s Audio Troubleshooter

Fixing Headphone Static Noise Issue on Your iPhone

Experiencing static noises using iPhones is very uncommon (with the exception of iPhone 8), with most users having no problems after being able to install the latest iOS patch. If you still experience this problem, here’s what you should do in order to get rid of the static noise on your iPhone.

Do a Soft Reset

Turning your iPhone on and off is a simple, yet effective solution to solving the problem. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Hold the Power Button of your iPhone for a few seconds until you see the “Slide to Power Off” screen.
  2. Drag the slider to turn off your iPhone.
  3. Wait for a minute or so, then hold the Power Button again for a few seconds until you see the Apple logo.
  4. Test to see if the static problem persists.

Check for Debris (for iPhones With Headphone Jack)

With extended use, your headphones or earphones can have a buildup of dirt and debris which can affect the overall sound that you hear. It’s always best to keep your devices clean in order to avoid this specific problem.

  1. Check your iPhone’s audio port for any dirt or debris.
  2. Inspect your headphone cable and audio jack for damage and breakage.
  3. Look at the meshes of each of your headphone speakers or earbuds for dirt or debris. Using a soft-bristled brush, carefully clear out each opening until none of the debris remains.
  4. Plug your headphones back to your iPhone. Make sure that it has a tight and snug fit by removing the iPhone case if you’re using one.

Turn the “Do Not Disturb” Feature Off

The Do Not Disturb feature (DND) is a really useful feature that people mostly use in order to mute calls, notifications, and sounds that you would usually receive while your iPhone is locked. It can be used to put a scheduled timeframe on when you can receive calls and notifications.

However, there are times when your iPhone may act differently with DND turned on. If you experience static noises while DND is on, then it may be best for you to turn the feature off. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Go to your iPhone’s Settings.
  2. Navigate to the Do Not Disturb menu.
  3. Press the toggle button to turn it off.
    Do Not Disturb Menu on an iPhone (From: support.apple.com).
    Do Not Disturb Menu on an iPhone (From: support.apple.com).

Close All Running Apps in the Background

Having multiple apps running in the background may be great if you want to multitask, but it can cause problems, especially if any of those apps’ processes gets corrupted or crashes.

That’s why it’s best to quit all apps that you aren’t using in standby mode to prevent this from happening. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Press the Home button for a few seconds and open the App Switcher.
  2. Preview your apps by swiping up on the app’s preview then flick it up the screen in order to quit the process.
    The App Switcher on the iPhone (From: support.apple.com).
    The App Switcher on the iPhone (From: support.apple.com).
 

Restore the iPhone

This option is usually reserved for the more complex software issues with your iPhone such as a faulty software update. There are 3 types of iPhone software restoration that you can do and here are instructions for each of them

Standard iOS Restore
  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer.
  2. Open iTunes and click on the device button (looks like a phone) which is near the top left portion of the iTunes window.
    The device button on the iTunes window (From: support.apple.com).
    The device button on the iTunes window (From: support.apple.com).
  3. Click on Summary, then Restore so you can start the process of restoring your iPhone to a previous state.
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions to fully restore the device.
Recovery Mode Restore

To do Recovery Mode Restore, you simply have to put your iPhone in recovery mode before proceeding with the same steps as the standard iOS restore. Here’s how to put your iPhone in recovery mode:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer.
  2. Open iTunes.
  3. Press and release the Volume Up and then the Volume Down button.
  4. Press and hold the side button until you see that your iPhone is in recovery mode.
An iPhone in Recovery Mode (From: https://www.youtube.com/user/www123motorcom).
An iPhone in Recovery Mode (From: https://www.youtube.com/user/www123motorcom).
DFU Mode Restore

The DFU mode restore is the most in-depth type of restore and is usually only performed by Apple technicians and professionals. Your iPhone can communicate with iTunes without having to load up its operating system when put in DFU mode.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer.
  2. Open iTunes.
  3. While your iPhone is connecting, operate your iPhone to put it into DFU mode.
  4. Press and release the Volume Up and then the Volume Down button.
  5. Press and hold the side button until you see the iTunes icon on your iPhone.
  6. Click on “Restore” on the pop-up window that appears on your computer.

Fixing Headphone Static Noise Issue on Your Android Device

If your Android device has been dropped or has gotten wet (if the phone isn’t water-resistant) recently and you noticed a static noise that just won’t go away, then it is most likely a hardware issue that needs to be addressed.

However, if none of those happened and you’ve properly taken care of your device, then proceed with the following fixes.

Install the Latest Software Updates

Software bugs are not uncommon and they can sometimes affect the overall performance of your Android device and cause static noises on your audio. It’s always best to install the latest software updates on your Android device in order to avoid such instances. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Go to your Android’s Settings.
  2. Navigate to About Phone.
  3. Click on System Update and your phone will update with the newest version software, if available.
System Update on an Android Phone
System Update on an Android Phone

Turn Wi-Fi Off and Switch to Mobile Data

If you experience the static noise problem when you’re streaming videos online, then the problem may be due to overloaded Wi-Fi. Simply switch over to mobile data if possible.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Click on WiFi and turn the slider off.
  3. Go to Mobile Data and turn the slider on.
Wifi and Mobile Data toggle sliders on Android
Wifi and Mobile Data toggle sliders on Android

Do a Factory Reset

When doing a factory reset, you’re basically wiping everything from your phone and starting fresh as if your phone was brand new. Be sure to backup all of your important photos, videos and files before proceeding with these instructions.
  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap on Backup & reset.
  3. Click on Erase all data (factory reset).
  4. Select All files on the phone.
Doing a Factory Reset on an Android Phone
Doing a Factory Reset on an Android Phone

How to Prevent Static Noise in Your Headphones

While software glitches and hardware issues with the audio source can often happen without warning, there are some preventative measures and best practices you can do in order to minimize the occurrence of static noise in your headphones.

1. Regular Cleaning

Regularly cleaning the headphone’s audio jack and your audio device’s auxiliary port can help prevent the buildup of dust and debris, which is actually one of the more common causes of static noises.

Simply take a cotton bud or Q-tip and slightly rip off the excess cotton until the wad is small enough to fit inside the auxiliary port of your audio device. Lightly soak the cotton bud with isopropyl alcohol (preferably use control/contact cleaner/lubricant if you have it) then clean the inside of the auxiliary port of the playback and audio jack of your headphones.

2. Always Check Wires

Headphone wires are susceptible to loosening or getting damaged over time with continued use, which can lead to static noise. Check sections of the wire for damage, especially on the connection with the 3.5mm audio jack of the headphones. Always grab the wire by the headphone jack and not the wire itself when inserting or removing it from the aux port.

3. Consider an Upgrade

If you’ve been using the same pair of headphones for several years now, then it may be possible that it is simply time for you to consider upgrading into a newer device.

Experiencing audio problems such as static noise is normal for headphones that have been in use for a long time. It is the natural degradation of the product, and if you don’t want to deal with such issues, then it might be best to just get a new pair of headphones.

Conclusion

With this guide, you can now quickly fix your problem and get rid of static noises on your headphones. Whether you’re using your headphones on your mobile phone or computer, you can rest easy knowing what the root causes of the static noises are and how you can address those specific problems.

Were you able to solve the problem and get rid of the static noise from your headphones? Do you need further help or assistance? Please feel free to let us know in the comments below! We’ll be glad to give you further insight on any problem that you may have.