Why Do Earphones Stop Working? (Reasons & How To Fix)

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Are your earphones no longer working and you feel there is still a way to revive them? Usually, earphones last for about 6 -8 months, but if yours stops functioning before then, it is usually as a result of wire connections coming loose from their circuit.

Also, you need to consider if your earphones are of high quality. Cheap earphones or earphones from unknown brands are usually fake and not repairable. Besides, some earphones might still come with brand names, yet they aren’t of good quality.

How To Test Earphones

 When next you are getting new pairs of earphones, there are some things to consider before settling for any earphone you see at the electronics store. The foremost thing to consider is how immersive the earphones sound. It has to feel like you’re in a recording studio, listening to someone speak in person, or at a concert. There mustn’t be distortions of any kind; instead, the sound quality should be rich and full. Read on to learn how to spot earphones that are of high quality.

1. Create A Playlist Of Songs You Are Familiar With

When making this playlist, make sure it consists of songs you are familiar with because it will make it easier for you to notice flaws in the earphones audio quality. You can also go online and search for music recommended for testing earphones, or non-music files used in getting accurate tests on an earphones performance.

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2. Pick Songs From Multiple Genres

To test the full range of the earphones, it’s much preferable to pick songs from different genres. Orchestra music is used for a wide range of pitches, but to make things easier for you, opt for rock music if you are trying to test for high pitches, and for low pitches opt for jazz music.

Rock music usually has guitars, drums and loud vocals, which are great for high pitches while Jazz gives out more steady bass line. Nevertheless, you can pick any music genre you want and not limit yourself to Rock music and Jazz.

3. Record Voices And Sounds

You can also add voice recordings to the number of songs you plan on using. These can be sounds of you talking, knocking on a door, clanking of metals, and so on. When playing these, they must sound immersive. Also, they must sound like someone is knocking or clanking metals together.

4. Try Out Low-Frequency Sounds

Connect the earphones and play songs with baritone vocals or bass guitars. They give low tones. Your goal is to ascertain that these tones are crisp, rich and deep. You can also try playing a song with varieties of pitches and try to determine how the low tones sound. Good earphones usually detect frequencies that are as low as 20 hertz (Hz).

5. Try Out High-Frequency Sounds

Now try to listen to high-frequency sounds. Good earphones must be able to pick up both low frequencies and high frequencies. You can try out several instruments you know that has a high frequency. You can also try out songs with high-pitched voices. If you want to, you can play music with varieties of speech and try to determine how the high tones sound.

Good earphones usually detect frequencies that are as high as 20 kHz.

6. Try It Out For Both High Frequency And Low Frequency

Unlike before where you tried to separately determine low frequencies and then focus on high frequencies, right now you need to do both at the same time, on just one song to see how well it transitions from high frequency to low frequency and vice versa. The earphone has to have flatness, meaning that low, medium, and high pitched sounds must all have the same quality. If there is no consistency, and higher tones sound better than lower tones, and vice versa, then this earphone isn’t of excellent quality.

However, this is a bit subjective. There are lots of earphones you might face with inconsistency between the low and high frequency. If after trying so many earphones and they all have this issue, then you can settle for one based on what you listen to. For instance, if you listen more to high pitched music, then settle for an earphone with excellent high frequency even if it lacks in low frequency.

7. Check The Volume For Dynamic Range

This helps you determine how the earphone function when on loud and soft audio. Increase the volume to the loudest and also decrease it to the lowest. The sound should come out well in both instances without making you feel uncomfortable. The dynamic range must be smooth for both high and low volume.

8. Check For Rattling Or Buzzing Sounds

To check this out, increase the volume to a comfortable level then listen for rattling or buzzing. If the music you are playing has heavy bass, there is a high chance of you experiencing these, because most earphones can’t relay bass sounds smoothly. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get earphones that gives clean bass.

If you are into low pitched music more than you are into high pitched music, you can still opt for the earphone if it rattles. The rattling is suppressed in low pitched music.

Can Earphones Be Repaired?

Earphones generally have a short lifespan. Within 6-8 months, most will have stopped working. It usually starts with only one ear working while the other is mute.

The earbud that stops working is caused by severed wires. It is hard to determine where the severance occurred. You can try twisting and bending the centre of the cord and then the bottom side too. If it doesn’t work then try the top side. Twist the cord and bend it in different directions. This will allow the severed wires to brush against one another. Do this slowly so once it starts sounding again you will be able to hold it in that position.

Now, plaster a piece of duct or electrical tape on the cord so it can keep the severed wire together. Make sure you are still holding the wire while you tape it. Once it’s taped, make sure you don’t move the cord a lot or put too much pressure on it, or else the wires might separate. You must always use it with care.

This might be a bit stressful, and there is the possibility of you not finding the severed wires. In this case, getting a new pair of earphone is the solution, except if you don’t mind using one earbud.

If Both Earbuds Aren’t Working, Try This!

  1. If both earbuds stop working, then there is a loose wire. Check the earbuds to see where the fault is. Use a screwdriver with a flat base. If you can’t find such a screwdriver, you can use a knife too. Use it to separate the earbuds housing. Once it’s opened, you will see two copper wires running to separate terminals on the edges of the circuit board.
  2.  Check if the wires have come loose or broken from their terminal. If they have, you need to solder them back to their terminals. If you can’t find broken or loose wires, then check the jack of the earphone, which is the second likely place that could be the source of the broken wires.

Working On The Jack

Things you’ll need:

  • Flat base screwdriver or a knife
  • Soldering iron
  • Desoldering braid/wicks
  • Electronics solder
  1. The jack always comes with a plastic or rubber barrel. When removing the barrel, you might have to use a bit of force to pull it off. You will also have to remove the rubber coating that is used in protecting the wire. Once that is done, the wires are yours to work on. If you can’t remove the barrel, you will have to cut it off with a pair of scissors or a knife. Cut it a little above the wire. You can get a replacement jack at an electronics store.
  1. When the rubber coating has been removed, it’s time to clean the old solder in the jack. The end of the desoldering braid should be laid over the blob of solder where the wire has come loose from the terminal. The desoldering braid will be heated on the blob with your soldering iron until the old solder has come off. Repeat the process for other wires that are also loose from their terminals.
  1. Now it’s time to solder the broken wires on to the terminal. The wires are always coloured, so place each of the wire on its respective terminal. Where the wires and the terminals touch is known as the joint. However, if you can’t find the respective terminal for each wire, then the red wire should be on the smaller right-hand terminal, the green wire should be on the terminal to the left, and the copper wire will be on the large terminal at the centre.
  • If the wires aren’t on their appropriate terminals, your earphone won’t work. A length of .032 diameter electronics solder should be pressed into the joint. Use the soldering iron to melt the electronics solder onto the joint. This will keep the wire on the joint.

Note: if you’re fixing a replacement jack then there is no need to clean old solders. Just join the wires with the above directives and solder them.

  1. Test your earphone. If it doesn’t work, then it is either the solder didn’t hold the wires, or the wires are on the wrong terminals. Check it out again to determine where the fault lies.
  • By now they must be working, and you can start enjoying your earphone. However, if the reverse is the case, you should consider getting a new earphone.

If the earphone is still under warranty, then you can send it to the manufacturer in exchange for a new one.

How Can I Fix My Headphones?

 Most times, when headphones are faulty, the best solution is to take them to an electronics engineer. However, there are several things you can check out, and one of them might be the reason why your headphone isn’t working. Surprisingly, it might be something you can fix.

  1. Try your headphone on other devices to see if they will work. If it works, then it is an issue of compatibility with your device. However, if it doesn’t work, then you can get a new pair of headphones or visit a professional electronics engineer.
  2. If you are using a wired headphone, find another headphone and plug it into your device. If the headphone isn’t also working, then it might be an issue with the headphone port of your device. Try cleaning the headphone port with a cotton swab. You can add a bit of alcohol on the cotton swab. Insert it into the port and swirl around. Be careful when doing this, so you don’t damage the port, and make sure the alcohol isn’t much. If it is dirt that is blocking your headphone from connecting with your device, it will come out with the cotton swab.
  1. If you are using a Bluetooth headphone, check your device to ascertain if it hasn’t connected to another Bluetooth device instead of yours. If this is the case, then go to your Bluetooth option and cancel the connection with the other device. Now you can tap on your headphone and pair with it.
  2. If all these don’t work, then you should check out the audio settings of your device. It might be that the volume level is low, or your device has been muted. Also, check the equalizer to ascertain that nothing has been turned down.

After all these, and your headphone isn’t still working. Then it is time to visit an electronics engineer. Luckily, if you’re still under warranty, you can send it to the manufacturer and have it replaced with a new one.

Why Do Earphones Stop Working – Conclusion

Earphones are one of the easiest audio devices to repair. It is effortless to determine where the problem is, and you can check it out by yourself. Moreover, they are inexpensive. The only downside is their short lifespan. Nevertheless, you will enjoy them before their demise. Besides, they are cheap so you can get a new one even if you’re on a budget.

I hope I’ve been able to answer your question – Why Do Earphones Stop Working? If I haven’t then don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

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