Got your headphones’ cord twisted, curled, and deformed? These tips will help you get it straightened out quickly and keep it that way.
So you’ve been wearing your headphones a lot lately, but you noticed that the cord is in a weird curly shape, making it shorter than usual.
But as you try to straighten out the cord, it pulls itself back to the twisty mess you found it in. And, let’s be honest, having that curly mess in the cord is not the visual you’d like to see when wearing your headphones in public.
In this article, we’ll discuss how you can straighten out your headphones’ cord and keep it that way. Let’s dive right in.
How to Straighten Out Your Headphone Cord?
Unstraight headphone cords are usually caused by two things: twists and tangles.
Cord twists happen as a result of natural daily use. As you spin and rotate your headphones, the cord also rotates—which in turn builds tension. The cord will then collapse to relieve that tension, resulting in curls, bends, and other deformities.
On the other hand, your headphones cord may look deformed or curled when you just got them untangled or if they have been coiled too tightly.
Whichever’s the case, there are a few hacks you can try to straighten out your headphones’ cord. Let’s go through each of them!
- Run your fingers across the twisted cord
- Hang your headphones freely
- Set the headphones’ cord straight using a weight
- Lay the headphones’ cord on a flat surface
Run your fingers across the twisted cord
The most common way to quickly fix a twisted headphones’ cord is by using your fingers. This should be fairly easy – here’s how you can do it:
- Grab the cord between your thumb and index finger.
- Keeping a mildly firm grip, slowly and thoroughly pass the cord through your fingers, moving from the base of your headphones to the end where the jack is.
- Repeating this process 2-3 times should significantly untwist your headphone cord.
Hang your headphones freely
The next method you can try, is hanging your headphones freely to let the cable un-twist itself. Here’s how:
- Hold the plug end of your headphones’ cable. If you have big headphones, you can hold them by the headband instead to avoid straining the cable.
- Let the other end of the cable hang freely in the air.
- Wait for your headphones to start spinning, or use your hands to create momentum, which will un-twist the cable.
- Once the spinning slows down, gently run your fingers along the cable to help complete the un-twisting process.
Set the headphones’ cord straight using a weight
This method works best after you’ve initially un-twisted and straightened your headphones’ cord as much as possible, but still notice some curling or deformation.
In that case, you can use a slightly heavy object to get your headphones’ cord back to its original shape. Here’s how to do it:
- Hang your headphones from a higher point. It can be anything like a banister, coat hanger, doorknob, or towel rail.
- Attach a slightly heavy object near the plug using adhesive tape, a binder clip, or a piece of rope.
- Leave your headphones hanging with the weight for 24-48 hours to see results.
Depending on the thickness and sturdiness of your headphones’ cable, you can adjust the object you use to weigh it down.
Keep in mind that the keyword here is slightly weighted. You’re also working with gravity, so use just enough weight to avoid pulling down the cable with too much force.
Lay the headphones’ cord on a flat surface
If you don’t have a place to hang your headphones for the method above, you can still straighten out your headphones’ cord on a flat surface like a table or on the floor. Here’s how to do it:
- Lay your headphones on a flat surface, and keep the cord as straight as possible.
- Put a book or other slightly weighted objects on the plug end of the cord. This will keep the cord from curling and twisting. If you’re doing this to a pair of earbuds or IEMs, add another book to hold the earpieces in place.
- Wait for about 48 hours, and you should get a fully straightened-out cord.
Why Should You Keep Your Headphone Cord Straight?
Some people might have no issue living with twisted headphones’ cords. As long as they can plug the headphones’ jack into their phone and wear it comfortably, all is good.
However, there are valid safety and longevity reasons why you should prevent your cords from getting twisted too badly.
For one, when the twists build up too much or too often, they damage the cable’s outer jacket.
Eventually, all of the above damages will cause your headphones to have sound issues, require repair, or be rendered flat-out broken. In that case, you should probably consider getting a pair of tangle-free earbuds as replacements.
But if you decide to stick to conventional headphones (not tangle-free ones), we’ve compiled some tips to prevent your headphones’ cords from twisting.
How to Prevent Cords From Twisting and Curling
Twists that aren’t immediately taken care of can cause unwanted things to happen to your cord. So, to prevent them from building up and causing trouble, here are several things you can do:
Store your headphones properly
Having dedicated storage for your headphones when you’re not using them can go a long way in preserving their lifespan.
Being inside a case or bag means there’s not much room for your headphones to toss around. In addition, some of them also come with designated slots that keep your cords safe from twists.
When your headphones’ cord doesn’t have too much room to move, there’s less possibility of them getting twists and tangles.
On the other hand, if you use your headphones in a relatively static setup, like on your desktop PC or with a mixer set, consider having a dedicated place to store them.
Coil headphones the right way
Coiling your headphones’ cord properly before storing them also helps to prevent kinks. Most of us coil our cords around our hands, twisting the cord with every single turn, as demonstrated by the London School of Sound in the gif below.
This method is incorrect as each coil creates a twist in the cord, which becomes apparent when you unfold it.
Instead, try the ‘over-under’ method, which is commonly used by backstage production crews worldwide. Here’s how:
- Start with the end of the cord in one hand, then slide your other hand a little way down the cord and make the first coil.
- For the next coil, twist your hand so your palm is facing outwards. Grab the cord with your palm in that position. Then as you’re bringing the cord up to coil it, twist your palm back inwards.
- Continue alternating both steps until you completely wrap the cord.
The great thing about the over-under method is that every initial coil is countered by the loop you make with your twisted palm. As a result, there’s no tension building up in the cord, and when unwrapping it, no twists are present.
Be mindful of your headphones usage
The curling or twisting of headphones’ cords is often a result of natural everyday use. Throughout the day, we’re constantly adjusting the position or orientation of our headphones.
Perhaps we’ll set them down if we have to step away from our desks, then put them back on again. As we do this, we sometimes accidentally turn them in the process, leading to twists in the cable.
Turning them anywhere between 0-360° is enough to set off the twisting effect on the cords, especially if it happens all the time.
If you have a somewhat consistent situation when using your headphones (e.g., on a desk with your computer or at a studio), try building a habit of always storing them in the same position and facing the same way.
But if you’re using your headphones on the go, your best bet is to be extra cautious about how you’re handling and storing your headphones, with the tips mentioned in the previous sections.
As an extra measure, you can also install small tubes along your headphones’ cord to prevent them from getting twisted. You can also wrap some yarn along the cords to get the same result, but with a unique aesthetic as a plus point.
After reading this guide, you should know how to straighten your headphones’ cord and keep them safe from nasty twists buildups. The next time you put your headphones on, just remember that the slightest movements can lead to a twisted mess.
Once you build up the habit of keeping your headphones in the same orientation and letting the cord unfurl after each use, you can potentially have a longer-lasting pair. As a bonus, you’ll also get fewer headaches from untwisting headphones.
Do you know other tips for keeping the headphones’ cord twist-free? Let us know in the comments!